simple everyday red lentil soup & sticky date pudding

12th August 2009


As we mentioned in our last post, we have been sharing the dinner task with Ahal, Stacey’s brother-in-law. His efforts at feeding 14 continue to astound and amaze us.  Last night in the space of two hours after spending all day at Australia Zoo, he whipped up home-made cheese and herb flatbread; marinaded tofu kebabs;  crusty, roast hedgehog potatoes;  a cumin lentil and rice salad; and a green salad. Amazing…..this all is created by a man that has an impressive collection of 800 cookbooks or thereabouts and devours these as bedtime reading.  Debbie, his wife tells us she goes to bed hungry, dreaming of delectable desserts.

This post will highlight two dishes from our ‘turn’ – spicy red lentil soup and a sticky date pudding.  Both dishes were a hit, and we knew they must have been as Ahal insisted on having the recipes.  Other dishes served were a quinoa, grated apple, carrot and mung bean salad;  a green salad;  rosemary and sea salt potato wedges;  guacamole;  a grated raw beetroot, crumbled feta and mint salad;  parmesan toasts;  and a tomato and basil infused feta salad.


A wonderful soup that’s ready in 30 minutes, made with red lentil or moong dahl that is quick cooking and easy to digest. Tasty, warming and simple.

A wonderfully satisfying meal served with a spoon of brown rice or toasty bread. I love it served atop steamed kale leave or broccoli.

simple everyday dal soup

Serves 4


1 cup red lentils/yellow split moong dal

1 Tblsp ghee/oil

½ cup chopped tomatoes

2 Tblsp tomato paste

5 cups boiling water

1 Tblsp ghee/oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 Tblsp finely chopped ginger

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

8 curry leaves

1 medium grated carrot

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

2 Tbslp lemon juice

preparation :

Place the lentils in a bowl and rinse is several changes of water until it runs completely clear. Cover the lentils with water, set aside and allow to soak while preparing the rest of the soup.

Wash the tomatoes, and chop into small pieces. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat ghee/oil, add the chopped tomatoes and tomatoes paste, cover and simmer for 8 minutes so that the tomatoes soften and break up.

After the tomatoes have finished simmering, rinse the lentils again and add to the pan, with boiling water. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the dal has softened and broken down.

In a small pan, heat ghee, add the cumin seeds, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida. Fry for 1 minute. Stir this into the soup, add the grated carrot and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and remove from heat. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and chopped coriander.

Serve with a drizzle of ghee/oil and garnish with fresh coriander.

Post note: a nice addition is half a sweet potato grated

Goodness shared from Stacey


sticky date pudding with caramel sauce

This recipe originally came from my mother-in-law, though unsure where she discovered this treasure.  I used whole wheat flour and raw caster sugar to replace the refined ingredients.  However, it was very difficult to gauge the change in colour of the sauce as it was cooking, so next time I would stick with the white caster sugar for the caramel sauce.


260g fresh dates pitted, roughly chopped

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

450 mL water

90 g ( cup) unsalted butter

260 g raw caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

260g (1 ¾ cups) wholewheat SR flour

Caramel Sauce:

250g caster sugar

60 mL ¼ cup) water

250 mL (1 cup) cream, warmed


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Lightly grease a ceramic or glass ovenproof dish (20 – 22cm).

On medium heat in a saucepan, bring dates and 450 mL of water to boil.  Remove and add bicarbonate soda, mixing well to combine.  Let cool.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, adding eggs one at a time.  On low speed, add half of the flour mixture, combining well.  Very slowly, add remaining flour until just combined.

Spoon mixture into dish.  Bake 50 – 60 minutes or until springs back to touch.  Serve with ice cream and drowned in the caramel sauce or drizzled if prefer.

Caramel Sauce:

Place sugar and water in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Bring to boil, then boil without stirring, until the syrup becomes a light golden colour.  Remove from heat and very carefully add the warm cream, whisking till combined.  Return to heat and whisk until the caramel is smooth.

Strain through a fine sieve, then set aside until required.

Goodness shared from Donna

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