Red Lentil Curry with Cauliflower and Coconut Chips

Red Lentil Curry with Cauliflower and Coconut Chips

I am dedicating this particular post to the beautiful souls who follow me on Instagram, several of whom clamored for this recipe when I shared a casual shot of it in my Instagram story a few weeks ago.

“What is it?” they asked collectively. “It looks really good! Where’s the recipe?”

In truth, it is a recipe so simple, and one I make so often and with such ease, that I hadn’t thought to share it until then.

And I am glad indeed for the nudge, because it is the kind of dish that I would happily eat, in one variation or another, every day of the week, every week of my life. I can only assume, if it is true for me, that it will be true for some of you.

So there you have it: my recipe for red lentil curry (or dhal) with roasted cauliflower and crunchy coconut chips.

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Vegetarian Batch-Cooking for Winter: 1 1/2-Hour Prep, 6 Easy Meals !

Vegetarian Batch-Cooking for Winter

In addition to planning my menus, I have been doing more and more batch cooking these past few months.

The idea of batch cooking is to block out time one day of the week to prep or cook a bunch of ingredients in advance, which you can draw from and combine for low-effort homemade meals the rest of the week.

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Swedish Chocolate Balls (Chokladbollar) No-Bake, Vegan

I discovered chokladbollar, or Swedish chocolate balls, during my blissful trip to Stockholm last month.

The city is peppered with cosy coffee shops that sell coffee, yes, but also pretty little sandwiches, and the kind of wholesome home-style sweets that go so well with a steaming cup of something.

And though each place had a selection all its own, I soon identified a few classics you could count on finding pretty much everywhere: kardemummabullar, the Swedish cardamom rolls (also available in a cinnamon version, and sometimes chocolate or blueberry!), and chokladbollar, ping-pong-sized chocolate balls coated in grated coconut.

What makes chokladbollar especially seductive, beyond the simple presence of, you know, chocolate and coconut, is that they’re made with ground oats. This gives them a lightly nubby texture, and infinitely pleasing nutiness.

Swedish Chocolate Balls (Chokladbollar)

It was love at first bite in a herregud* kind of way. I ate my fill while in Stockholm, and couldn’t get them out of my head once home in Paris. I researched the recipes available out there, created a comparison spreadsheet (yes, I am that kind of person), and found that most of them called for impressive amounts of sugar and butter.

And so, I set out to create a version of my own using coconut oil more moderately instead (nothing against butter, you can use that instead if not vegan), and just the right dose of sugar to round out the other flavors.

Hey, want to see a video?

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Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut Squash and Chestnuts

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts

I will own up to it right then and there: I am an inveterate collector of pasta. Guilty as charged.

In fine food shops and Italian markets, I love to study the different shapes and imagine which will lend themselves to smooth sauces or chunky ones. I love their names (rooster’s crests, radiators, little ears, thimbles), the traditional packaging, and the fact that, for just a few euros, I can treat myself to a package of something novel — not to mention the promise of an easy meal.

Before I had children, I had to rein in my purchases, as my kitchen cabinets overflowed faster that Maxence and I actually ate pasta. But with two young boys who would eat it at every meal if I let them — their dream breakfast is cold leftover pasta, a recessive trait for sure — I am free to buy whatever I please, knowing I will easily find a use for it.

And I recently fell hard for a package of lumaconi, those large snail-shaped pasta sold in big bulging packages that scream “Buy me, I’m special!”

Stuffed Lumaconi with Butternut and Chestnuts - Ingredients

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Black Sesame Sablés (Shortbread)

After last week’s events in Paris, it’s not so easy to break the silence here. Writing about news and politics isn’t what I do, and I suspect it’s not what brings you here either, yet I can’t not acknowledge what has happened.

In the wake of these senseless, horrifying acts, which only reinforce the great concerns I have about the world we’re building and the society I live in, I choose to see the silver lining: how French men and women came together in historic numbers in the immediate aftermath, and how much international support has poured in. I am too much of a realist to believe that this tremendous reaction will have any lasting effect on the underlying issues at play, but at least for these few days, (most of) the French get to walk and talk and cry as one, and we can never have too much of that.

These cookies have a rather arresting look, the distinctive, toasty flavor of black sesame, and the delightful texture I look for in all my sablés, delicate and shatter-prone.

Of course I found it impossible to write while all this was unfolding — it suddenly seemed absurd to care about the tiny things I normally care about — but as a friend kindly said to me, writing about food and culture and travel helps bring people of different horizons to understand and respect each other, and that is nothing to sneeze at.

In any case, I thought it fitting to start the year off on a note both dark and sweet with these black sesame sablés. It is a recipe I developed for ELLE à table, a French cooking magazine in which I write a bimonthly column, and sang the luscious, nutty glories of black sesame paste in the holiday issue. This seed butter, made from roasted and ground black sesame, is a dramatic, shiny black and I keep a jar of it in my fridge to slip into all sorts of sweet preparations, or simply spread it on my morning toast of sourdough.

These shortbread cookies have a rather arresting look, the distinctive, toasty flavor of black sesame with a hint of salt, and the delightful texture I look for in all my sablés, delicate and shatter-prone. I understand these qualities won’t do much toward world peace, but if you can share them and make someone’s day sweeter, it’s a step in the right direction.

PS: Black sesame panna cotta, Yves Camdeborde’s perfect sablés, and the galette des rois you have until the end of the month to make, perhaps with your own shortcut puff pastry.

Black Sesame Sablés

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