Auntie Elisabeth’s school of cookery

Well hello, it’s been a while.  (I think all my blog posts always start that way).

I’ve been busying making and doing and doing and making.  I even made a shop.  But you can read about that elsewhere.

Today I’m resurrecting Handmakemeover for a very important reason.  My niece wants me to teach her how to cook.  The interesting part is that she lives on the other side of the world from me.  For a long time I toyed with the idea of taking beautiful pictures of yummy food, then handwriting the recipe on the back and sending it to her as a postcard. Which is all well and good.  Except somehow I never managed to make it happen.  This evening, as I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, I came to a realisation.  My niece is a final year photography student.  I could blog the recipes, and make her take the photos!

So this, my dear Saxon, is for you.

Tasty lentil stew

Yes, lentils can be tasty.


1/2 cup lentils (I used brown ones)

2 bay leaves

1 T (big T means Tablespoon) miso paste


1 cup brown rice


1 T oil (grapeseed is good)

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 carrot, thinly sliced and then roughly chopped

2-3 bunches of spinach

1 can whole peeled tomatoes

1 t (little t means teaspoon) dried mixed herbs

1 T miso paste


Measure the lentils into a medium saucepan, cover with 2 cups of water, add the bay leaves and the first measure of miso.  Set the timer for 40 minutes.  Turn the element on full, bring it to the boil, and then turn down to a medium heat.  If it’s boiling over, it’s too hot.


Measure the brown rice into a large seive, rinse under the cold tap, and then put into another medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, and then turn the element right down to low.


Chop your onion.  Chop your garlic.  Chop your carrot.  Let’s even chop your spinach (rinse it first)!

About 10 minutes before the timer goes off, start heating a sautée pan (that’s the wide, flat pan you used at my house) or a large frying pan to a medium heat, and then add the oil.  Let it heat a little, then add the onion and sautée it.  A minute later, add the garlic. Cook until the onion is starting to look translucent. Then you can add the carrot, and a couple of minutes later, add the spinach.  Stir for a minute or two until the spinach is wilted (you’ll know when it has because it will go dark green and wilty). Add the can of tomatoes, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon.  Add about half a can of water to the mix.

About now your timer should be going off.  Turn the heat off under the rice and lentils.  Remove the bay leaves from the lentils, then add the lentils to the vegetables, along with the mixed herbs and the second measure of miso paste.  Leave the lid on the rice at this stage (you’re cooking it by what’s called the absorption method).

Let the veges and lentil mix cook down for another 10 minutes or so, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.  You want it to thicken up a bit, but not stick to the bottom!


Serve the stew over the rice. Voilà.

Photo Brief:

Saxon, this bit’s for you to do!

When I made this, it honestly looked like it had escaped from the pages of a 70’s vegetarian cook book.  See if you can style it to match this look.