Would you be a Dahl?

For some reason I have found this winter particularly long, maybe because it has been colder than past years, or because the first snowfall happened so early. Either way, I am ready for spring to arrive. Making soups for supper have been a regular occurrence, for they are easy, comforting, and freezable. My favourites have been Split Pea Soup and Dahl. What I like about dahl is that you can eat it on top of rice, with naan, or on its own. It makes an excellent lunch the next day, and takes very few ingredients. I like it really thick, but you can definitely add more water to make it more runny.

Ingredients
2 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 onion, chopped
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp tomato paste

I heated the oil in a large pot and sauteed the onion for a few minutes then added the garlic and ginger. I sauteed the mixture until the onion was translucent. In a small bowl I combined the spices and added them to the pot, then poured in the vegetable stock and lentils. I simmered the soup for 20 minutes, then added the tomato paste and let it simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the desired thickness.

What a dahl.

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Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Valentines day this year marked the beginning of my reading week, and a visit from Tom for the last weekend of Winterlude. Upon beginning a week of relaxing, eating, and reading, I decided to make cupcakes for my two valentines: my dad and my boyfriend. Not wanting to stick to classic vanilla or chocolate, I thought I would try something new.

Vegan Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Ingredients for the batter
2 cups flour
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 chai tea bags
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp flaxmeal, with 3 tbsp water

Ingredients for the frosting
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon

First I brought the almond milk to a low boil in a small pot, turned off the element, and steeped the tea bags for 10 minutes. While the tea bags were steeping I mixed together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Once the tea was done steeping I removed the tea bags and stirred in the apple cider vinegar, letting it sit for about 5 minutes. This makes an equivalent for buttermilk. I let the flaxmeal soak in 3 tbsp water for a few minutes, and meanwhile added the coconut oil and vanilla to the tea mixture. I added the flaxmeal to the wet ingredients then incorporated the wet into the dry mixture.

I evenly distributed the batter into 12 lined and greased muffin cups. Because it was Valentine’s Day I used my heart-shaped muffin cups, given to me by my best friend, Charlotte. The batter baked for 20 minutes at 350 degree Fahrenheit.

For the frosting, I whipped together all the ingredients until smooth and piped them in different designs on the completely cooled cupcakes.

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They tasted more like cinnamon bun cupcakes to me, and were delicious with coffee for breakfast one morning. Also, margarine keeps a soft texture and does not harden the way buttercream frosting does. Overall I was happy with the way they turned out, and I will definitely be making more vegan cupcakes in the future.