Super Quick Dahl Soup

dahl soup
This is another recipe that comes from my mom, and I thought she was a total genius for using sesame sticks as a soup topping. Apparently she got the idea from the vegetarian restaurant that she first tasted this soup at and it is brilliant! I found these everything sesame sticks the other day and knew they’d make this soup even tastier.

This soup is inspired by the delicious Indian lentil dish tarka dahl (or is it dhal? Googling it for clarification just made me more confused). The red lentils and turmeric in the curry powder give it such a beautiful yellow colour. And I made it very flavourful, but not spicy, just like the tarka dahl we used to get at Curry Original in Kingston.

dahl soup

I’d also like to take this opportunity to share the most amazing cooking tip I learned this week: did you know you can grate onions and it’s about a MILLION times easier than finely chopping them? It’s true! There are times that I want the soothing repetition of chopping onions as finely as I can, but tonight was not one of those times. I just wanted dinner as soon as I could get it. And bonus of grated onion: the small pieces cook much faster and are less noticeable in the final dish. Possibly the perfect way to sneak onions into a dish if you cook for onions haters?

dahl soup

I served it with these fake Red Lobster biscuits which are the perfect match for any soup. And just generally a good way to force Will to eat soup for dinner.

dahl soup
Super Quick Dahl Soup

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils (other colours will also work but won’t be as prettily coloured!)
  • 4 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (I used a medium spicy one)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • to garnish: sesame sticks

Heat the butter and oil on the stove over medium low heat. Peel and grate (or finely chop, if that’s more your style) the onion. Add it to the pan and mince the garlic while the onion cooks. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes until everything begins to soften.

Add the lentils, the seasoning and 4 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then turn the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft and begin to break down, about 20 minutes. When the lentils have softened you can blend with an immersion blender if you want a smoother consistency, but I left them as is.

Serve with lots and lots of sesame sticks on top (and more on the side).


Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte (sweetened with dates!)

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

Like any human person, I enjoy the occasional pumpkin spice latte to celebrate the return of fall. A good pumpkin spice latte is like a liquified version of Thanksgiving dessert. And as a former Starbucks barista, I’m always kind of amused by articles like this one. I agree it’s kind of gross and surprising how many chemicals go into one – but no one is actually surprised that they contain no real pumpkin, right? I mean, that bright orange colour just isn’t natural at all.

So I aimed to make my own, with actual pumpkin. And since my biggest pet peeve with Starbucks flavoured lattes is how much sugar is in them, I wanted to avoid that as well. I’ve been playing around with these medjool dates lately, and I know lots of people use them to replace sweetener in truffles, no-bake bars and smoothies. So why not in coffee?

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

A warning that this won’t be nearly as sweet as the PSL you’re used to. But if you want the flavour without the 50 grams of sugar that a grande PSL usually has, I think it’s perfect. I used some of the hints in this recipe, like adding the black pepper, which really does give it a nice spicy bite. But I also made mine with coffee instead of espresso. And OK, since it doesn’t contain espresso it’s not really a latte. More like a coffee misto (which is half coffee and half steamed milk). And I think it would be just as lovely with almond or soy milk, if you’re also looking to avoid dairy.

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

I added whipped cream to mine because I was feeling decadent. And I didn’t even add any sugar in that! A confession: as a barista, when I would make my own experimental drinks I used to prepare the whipped cream with a QUARTER of the syrup that the recipe calls for and it was plenty sweet! The whipped cream is just going to melt into the drink anyway, why does it need to be teeth-jarringly sweet?

Homemade pumpkin spice latte

(I served in it my engagement mug – sometime I will properly blog about my engagement story and how Will gave me this adorable mug to misdirect me from the actual surprise!)

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Makes one giant mug.

  • 3 tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling – you want to be able to flavour it yourself!)
  •  2-3 medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • whipped cream (optional)

After you pit and finely chop the dates, place them in a small saucepan with the canned pumpkin. Add the seasoning and cook over low heat for around five minutes – you want the pumpkin to heat up and the dates to break down slightly. Add the milk and heat slightly, then blend the mixture thoroughly with an immersion blender, ensuring that there are no date chunks left.

Fill your mug halfway with coffee, then top with the pumpkin milk mixture and stir well. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice for that proper coffee shop look. Enjoy!


Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

mac and cheese
Ooooh, what’s that? Do I feel a bit of a chill in the air? I swear I do. And you know what that means. It’s time to EAT ALL THE CARBS! And I like to add some cheese to my carbs, because my vegetarian diet is the kind that embraces all the cheese.

Just a quick post tonight, as I am still recovering from the awful back to school cold that still has me coughing (I’ve been sick since last Sunday! What is this nonsense?). Naturally my cooking has suffered as a result, but this is the kind of recipe I’ve made so many times, I could make it in my sleep.

mac and cheese
Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

  • one bunch of broccoli, separated into small florets (one pound? I dunno I just used the whole head I got at the grocery store)
  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni (I used small shells)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1.5 cups of 2% milk
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. I always start out by steaming the broccoli first, usually over the pasta pot. Cook just until the stems are tender, but don’t overcook them.

Measure the pasta by filling the casserole dish you want to use about halfway. Then cook the shells in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and set aside.

As the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and cook for a few seconds. Add the milk and cook over medium-low heat until thickened. Once the sauce has thickened, add 2 cups of the grated cheese, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.

Once the pasta, sauce and broccoli are all cooked, mix them in a casserole dish, and top with the remaining grated cheese. Put in the oven and broil until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

pamplemoussi's pips

pamplemoussi’s pips, volume vii

It’s Friiiiiday!

(DUPSTEP CAT aka the funniest 23 seconds of your life)

And I’ve (almost) survived the back to school week, so I’m pretty sure it just gets easier from here.

pips vol vii

So I mentioned to my mom that I keep pre-chopped carrots and celery in my freezer to add to soups and such, and she told me I needed to blog about it, so! Next time you are chopping carrots and celery for soup (or in my case, next time your parents give you some fresh veggies from their farm!), cut more than you need and throw the extras in a labeled freezer bag. Now you’re two thirds of the way to mirepoix next time you make soup!

pips vol vii pips vol vii

Toronto has been especially beautiful lately, except heyyyy who said the leaves could change colour already? I’m not ready for this.

pips vol vii

Toronto also has a lot of amazing chalkboard signs, and this one is my favourite. Oh Not Sure If Fry, one of the better memes out there!

Speaking of Futurama, the other night we watched I Know That Voice on Netflix and it was so interesting putting a face to various cartoon voices. Fry, the Professor and Zoidberg are all the same voice actor! The voice of Winnie the Pooh does not look anything like a cartoon bear!


Birthday Enchiladas

birthday enchiladas

A sign of true compatibility: I just realized that Will and I both ate enchiladas for our birthdays. Of course, for my birthday I demanded we go out for dinner, because as much as I enjoy cooking, I don’t usually want to do it on my birthday. So we went to Milagro and drank sangria and ate enchiladas and it was delicious. Whereas when I asked Will what he wanted to do for dinner on his birthday, he requested my cooking, which is a total compliment. I gave him a multitude of options, and he picked enchiladas. Bonded by our love of saucy and cheesy foods!

Continue reading “Birthday Enchiladas”