(december 2013 - november 2014)
Any business knows it’s vital to listen to what your customers say, especially if your customers share their dirt(y) tricks with you! Here are some tips, tricks and secrets we’ve collected from a few dirt(y) peeps – send us a mail if you’ve got one too. To begin, here’s one from our big dirt(y) chief…
“Don’t throw away the cooking water from your lentils – it’s tasty! It’s been scientifically proven that you can get 30% more flavour into your lentils by adding the ‘reduced’ cooking water back into them once they’re cooked. Okay not scientifically proven, but I have cooked a lot of lentils over the years!
Firstly, don’t cook your lentils with too much cold water; just 4 times the volume of the lentils (see our dirt(y) secrets). Once the lentils are cooked, drain but keep about a cup of the cooking water. Then get that back onto the flame and reduce till it’s thick and syrupy. Then pour over your lentils. The intensity of the flavour will change your perception of that mucky brown cooking water forever!”
“Want to know how to make five year olds eat legumes? Talk about how much they make you pop-off!”
“Wakame is the new spinach, so the possibilities are endless. But if you need a quick and easy dinner - cheese, onion and wakame omelette. 'The Troops' reckon I'm onto a winner with that one!"
“Turmeric and pepper (regarded as anti-dementia spices) can be added to the soak water for chickpeas. Discard the soak water and start with fresh cold water for cooking. But for an extra flavour kick (and to help your brain) add more turmeric and pepper to the cooking water.”
In all those recipes that call for canned chickpeas or lentils, all you savvy dirt(y) cookers know it's much cheaper to use our dried pulses. Here's a guide to convert the quantities:
100 g dried uncooked legumes is equivalent to 400g of ‘wet’ or cooked legumes
1 can of cooked legumes is equivalent to 120 g of dried legumes (or about ½ cup)
“Dried (uncooked) lentils are a nice snack to munch on at the office - just don't break your teeth on them!”
lentils in 10
Seriously! We did this little experiment with a pot of potato and leek soup and loved it! Try cooking a batch of our new french-style lentil – the royal baby blue – for just 10 minutes (they cook to a soft texture in 25, which is the recommended cooking time). But after only 10, chuck 'em into a bowl of thick and creamy vegie soup for a texture sensation!
Sprouting is easy and addictive… we’ve tried to sprout all kinds of crazy things, but for a guaranteed hit you might like to try sprouting some dirt(y) red nipper or red nugget lentils or dirt(y) kabuli chickpeas. Although we’ve used red nuggets as an example below, these instructions will work for just about any (un-hulled) legume.
Sprouts are packed full of goodness and flavour; are great for adding texture and a nutty flavour to salads or a stir fry. If you've got small people at home, it's a fun activity to try with them...and hey, they might even eat the sprouts!
Start by chucking about half a cup of dirt(y) chickpeas or lentils in a couple of cups of room temperature water in a bowl and leave for a day.
Following day, drain and rinse the pulses a few times. Pop in a sprouting bag and hang in your kitchen. Now here’s our shameless, self-promoting plug….you can buy a dirt(y) hemp sprouting bag - it’s “forever reusable”.
Okay so this next bit demands a bit of commitment, but it’s just a bit of a bag-washing once a day for 4 days. First up gently massage the sprout bag to “unclump” the sprouts (especially in the corners where they can get all bunched up and “unsprouty”). Then submerge the bag in plenty of cold water and leave for about half an hour. The water will go a little manky, but that’s okay. If the water looks really dirty just rinse the bag (lentils/chickpeas inside) under cold water while massaging the sprouts till the water runs clear.
Therapy over. Rehang the bag and do it all again for the next 3 days. Trust me, it’s worth this small amount of effort ‘cause when you peek into the bag and see your freshly sprouted pulses for the first time you’ll feel the same delight as getting a new puppy at Christmas.
Put your newly hatched sprouts into a clean sealed container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. (Or you can just throw the bag in the fridge.)
Reality check: you will need to clean the sprouting bag to kill off any nasties before starting each new batch. But it’s nothing more than boiling in water for a minute or two inside out, then hang outside to get all sunny and well aired.
Trust me sprouting is easy and addictive! I’ve tried to sprout all kinds of crazy things but for a guaranteed hit give these guys a go:
- dirt(y) baby red lentils
- dirt(y) baby blue lentils
- dirt(y) red nugget lentils
- dirt(y) kabuli chickpeas