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Reminder these are the types of meals that literal children are going into debt over. It's the most basic, cheap ass food with little nutrition you can get yet kids are charged exorbitant amounts for it.
Extremely sad. This Swedish girl was severely brain damaged ten years ago during a cheap breast enhancement surgery in Poland. She's now 41 years old, living with her 67 year old mother as her full time carer. The anesthesiologist and two of the nurses were sentenced to jail.
LPT: Roast yo’ broccoli. Broccoli is a cheap, ubiquitous vegetable that too often is steamed or boiled to death, sapping nutrients and flavor. Toss with olive oil and salt and roast at 400.
Edit: A lot of people are asking about cooking time. I didn’t include that because it’s very subjective. I like the florets browned and the stems crunchy. 15 minutes at 400 degrees is a good guess for that, but if you like softer veggies and less browning you might want to decrease the temp to 350-375 and go a little longer. The stems won’t have as much “bite” that way. That said, you’ll want to check in on it and see for yourself. I use color more than time to determine doneness.
Lentil soup is so popular in the Middle East, that it's eaten in every single country and nearly every house. It's cheap, delicious and simple to make, and I think it may become your favorite soup this winter, recipe inside
Lentil soup is a dish you can find in most countries around the world, you can get it from Scotland, to China, to Srilanka, but few places give it such high regard as the Middle East. In the Middle East it's extremely popular, and you can get it at restaurants and even takeaways all over the region. The history of the lentil in the region goes back quite literally to the dawn of civilization and I like to think we have mastered the making of lentil soups. To this day it's eaten regularly in households all over the region and I think you should cook it this winter. If you grew up disliking lentils like myself, you may find yourself converted by this recipe. As usual I have a full video recipe which you can follow and I've linked to all my past cooking posts in the comments.
What is Middle Eastern Lentil soup
Middle Eastern lentil soup is made by boiling split red (or yellow) lentils until softened and tender. They're usually cooked with a combination of different vegetables or meat and are spiced accordingly to the taste of each country. The dish is widely eaten throughout the Middle East and is commonly served during the Month of Ramadan, when many people like to break their fast with a bowl of warm soup, it has the benefit of being simple to cook and very filling which make it a perfect Ramadan meal. Lentil soup is also a favorite amongst Middle Eastern Christian communities many of whom fast and adhere to a vegan diet for many days throughout the year including the Coptic Christians of Egypt who fast a whopping 180-210 days. The dish itself heavily varies from country to country and even house to house, and is usually made with whatever vegetables are on hand. I find that the use of onions, carrots and tomatoes give it a delicious and well rounded flavor, though it's possible to also add celery or courgettes (zuchinni). In this recipe the soup is blended once cooked into a smooth and creamy texture, with the lentils helping to emulsify the soup until it resembles the texture of a cream based soup. In some countries the soup is not blended, and it can have eggs, beans or even pieces of meat added to it. The moroccan dish Harrira, takes the soup further, with the addition of chickpeas, meat, celery and spring onions as well as more spices that give it a beautiful brick red color and smokier flavor. Most Lentil soups have fried vermicelli added to them which gives a slight texture contrast just like in chicken noodle soup. In the levant it's also common to add fried bread croutons (like those used in a fattoush salad) to the soup to give it a nice layer of crunch. I'd recommend first making this recipe with the same ingredients and spices, then put your own twist on it. I think the addition of chipotle peppers and adobo would give it an amazing smokey flavor, or the addition of some fresh herbs and lemon would give it a nice sourness.
Lentils have been eaten in the Middle East for millenia and are thought to be one of the first foods cultivated by humans, indeed they're considered the oldest domesticated pulse crop. Architectural digs have found evidence of lentil consumption along the Euphrates river going back to 8000BC and they've been mentioned in the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Ancient Egyptians even left offerings of lentils in tombs to feed the mumified on their journey to the afterlife. The first mention of lentil stew as a dish exists in the book of Genesis 25:34 "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way.". Given their historical significance and popularity, it's no surprise that they continued to be popular into the modern day. In "Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens" a 10th century cookbook from Baghdad, a chapter called "Making Dishes of Yellow Lentils" describes a recipe that closely resembles this one, it says: "Wash and pick over hulled lentil and cook it until it falls apart and becomes mushy. Cook with it round onion, olive oil, and salt. Add some vinegar. You have the option of adding to it sugar and saffron. Alternatively, if you do not like to use saffron or onion, put bruised garlic cloves and a dusting of cumin in the pot after adding the vinegar". After the introduction of the Tomato to the Middle East, it has kind of become a necessary ingredient in lentil soup which really elevates the flavor of the dish. The introduction of blenders and food processors also eased the process of milling the cooked lentils into a smooth soup, which prior to that was mashed by hand.
The dish is definitely a wintery tasting dish and despite not containing the usual winter spices, the earthiness of the lentils really make it feel so. The main flavor here comes from the lentils, which give the soup an earthy and nutty flavor. The red lentils in particular don't overpower the flavors of the other components and like a mushroom I find they empower the other flavors in the dish. The garlic is also quite noticeable and it gives a nice pleasant garlicky flavour to the soup. Using both crushed and fried garlic gives you a strong depth of flavor. You also get a little bit of heat from both the cumin and chili powder which takes on a background flavor in the soup, and are tolerable even to someone who doesn't like spice. One of the main flavors here actually comes from the addition of vinegar which elevates the flavors of the whole dish, it adds just the right amount of tang and sourness to brighten the dish and rebalance the earthiness of the lentils and vegetables. The vegetables are blended into the lentils and although you can't distinctly taste each of them, they contribute sweetness and a fresh flavor to the soup, particularly the carrots add a bright flavor.
Makes 4-6 large servings
1.25L (1.25 qt) Vegetable stock, you can also use chicken, meat or even water. If you are using stock cubes rather than fresh stock, then please use high quality ones.
250g (1/2 lb) Split Red Lentils
150g (5 1/4 oz) Carrots (about 1 large or 2 medium)
1 Brown Onion
4-6 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Short Wheat Vermicelli
3 Tbsp White Vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Tsp Chili powder (cayenne or whatever you have on hand)
Peel and slice your carrots into large chunks about 1 cm or 1/2 an inch thick
Peel your onion, remove the root and top and slice into quarters
Wash your tomato and slice into quarters, we'll remove the skin later
Peel your garlic cloves, mince 2 of them and set aside, the rest should be lightly crushed
Add your chopped vegetables, the lentils and garlic (the crushed ones not minced) to a large stock pot
Add your stock or water to the pot as well as 1 teaspoon of cumin, turn the heat up to high and bring the pot to a boil
When the pot boils, retrieve the tomato quarters and remove their skin, then add them back to the pot
Turn the heat down to low and allow the soup to simmer for 45 minutes. When done simmering, the carrots should be cooked through and the lentils should be swollen and mushy
Using an immersion (stick) blender, blend the soup and all the vegetables pieces into a uniformly smooth mixture. Once blended it will have a creamy texture that resembles wall paint, remove the soup from the heat and set aside (check the notes for regular blender warning)
In a small pot add 1/2 a tbsp of olive oil on medium high heat and add the 2 minced garlic cloves to it
Fry for about 30 seconds then add the remaining cumin
Fry for another 15 seconds then add the vinegar
Mix and fry for 15 more seconds and add pour the mixture into the lentil soup
Add salt, pepper and Chili powder (optional) then mix the soup well. Taste your soup and check for seasoning, you may need to add another 1/2 tsp of salt if your stock is low in sodium, or add more Chili powder if you'd like it spicier
In a pot add the remaining olive oil and the vermicelli and fry on medium high heat until it turns a golden color. Stir constantly as it can burn easily
Add the fried vermicelli to the soup as well as 1 cup of water to thin the soup out. Bring the pot to a boil once more and allow the vermicelli to cook for 10 minutes
When the time is up, your soup is ready. The vermicelli will have absorbed some water from the soup, so add more water to thin it out until it's thinner than the paint like texture from before. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon without running, similar to the consistency of cooking cream.
Garnish with coriander, thin slices of Chili and nigella seeds
Notes and tips
You must use split red lentils for this, brown or green ones have a lot stronger taste and I think the dish won't taste right with them
You can serve this over rice and it will be a close approximation to Yellow Lentil Koshari or Kichidi
If you have a spice grinder, then toast whole cumin seeds and use them instead for an even more powerful flavor
A standard blender can be used in place of an immersion blender, however you need to be sure to either remove the steam vent from the lid, or leave the lid slightly ajar, as it can explode when you blend hot soups
Eggs are so versatile and make a cheap, protein packed, filling meal. Most weeks I make an omelet/pancake based meal. Countries around the world have their own versions so they're a different flavour each time. See post for several recipe ideas from around the world.
Sometimes the pancake/omelette is a one-pan meal, other times I do make side dishes to make the meal more filling and nutritious. If you don't like the texture or want more variety, most of these would also work as scrambled egg! I have a small breakfast on my diet, but enjoy breakfast food, especially bacon, so having a breakfast dinner means I can get the breakfast flavours in a big meal. I like to make a classic style omelette filled with bacon, mushroom and cheese. Sautee the mushrooms in a separate pan and grill the bacon. Mix two or three eggs in a pan with melted butter. Add your filling before folding over. Use low fat mature cheese for maximum flavour for minimal calories. To make it more nutritious you can serve with grilled tomatoes or beans (as in British Heinz baked beans!). If you want to bulk it out cheaply and you're not as worried about calories as I, then serve with toast or hash browns. Another British classic is toad-in-the-hole which is sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding which is essentially crepe mixture. You can use vegetarian sausages which tend to be lower calorie than most meaty sausages. for recipes see: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/search?q=toad+in+the+hole You can spice toad-in-the-hole up by using flavoured sausages, add in some sliced chilis, onion and peppers. Or just make it herby with some sage & onion stuffing mixture. From my Wagamama cookbook is okonomiyaki. Fry a couple of slices of chopped bacon with finely sliced cabbage in a little oil. Make pancake batter, per person: 2 large eggs, 150ml milk, 50g plain flour, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, whisked together. Once the cabbage is softened, add some extra oil, wait for it to heat up and then add the pancake mixture. While it's still soft, sprinkle over sliced spring onion (scallion) or reserve these to serve, I prefer to cook them slightly. Flip to make sure it cooks on both sides. You could also add prawns or use left over meat such as shredded chicken. I added some soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce to the pancake batter. The recipe says 50g of cabbage per person but you can bulk it out with more if you want. Another version I like which is a bit of a mish-mash of cuisines is to use chorizo. You don't need a lot as it's full of flavour, so a £2 chorizo will make up to 8 portions of food. Slice it fine and add to a dry pan on a low heat. Let the fat render off and turn the heat to medium to fry red onion and sweet peppers. Maybe add a little more oil and seasoning. Then add your eggs/pancake mixture. From Spain is the Spanish omelette. Simply eggs, onion and potato if you follow a traditional recipe. You can add bell pepper or mushroom and extra seasoning if you want to make it a one-pan meal with some extra vitamins. Or serve with a stuffed peppemushroom. Sometimes I use sweet potato instead of white! There's also frittata which is like a crustless quiche packed with veggies! This can be made in a pan or baked in the oven. I bake them in silicone cupcake cases for lunches or a picnic. In a bowl mix together egg and some cheese. I like to use goat's cheese and a bit of grated cheddar. You can add all sorts of grated or finely chopped veg: beetroot, spinach, onion, mushroom, courgette. And also season with complimentary herbs, parsley is nice with beetroot. Bake at about 180-200c for about 15 minutes. I usually throw these in while I'm cooking dinner one night and then they'll keep in the fridge a few days. If you prefer them warm you can then just nuke them in the microwave.
I haven’t really seen this tip anywhere else, so I thought I’d share my solution. I’ve been using a cheap chess set to run my games for a couple of months now, and I’ve found it is working really well. My players have told me a couple of times that they much prefer it to theatre of the mind, as they are actually able to visualise the battlefield, and I’ve seen a big improvement in their role playing during combat encounters as a result. In my mind it’s a happy medium between using full scale battle maps and theatre of the mind. Plus, I already had a chess set lying around so no cost. Hope someone else finds this as useful as I have.
6 year Progress with the exact same, cheap, entry-level Gear: Left image is the first time I ever captured the Moon. Right one is in 2020 when I merged 1012 Exposures of the Moon using a technique called "Stacking" [OC]
ILPT: Want to eat organic fruits and veggies on the cheap? Use self checkout and ring your organics up as regular produce.
I’ve been doing this for months. If your local grocery store has self check out, use this to your advantage. Pro tip: put your organic fruits and veggies in bags so the self checkout clerk can’t see the sticker. When it comes time to checkout, ring it up as the regular stuff (search by name or picture) and bag it immediately. You can also do this for more expensive varieties of tomatoes, apples, etc. If you get caught, just play dumb or that you’re in a rush and didn’t notice.
[Ruiz] Steve Smith Sr. Going IN on Jets DC Gregg Williams on NFL Network saying his teams are known to take unnecessary cheap shots, “If it smells like a pig, it looks like a pig & it’s oinking? Then guess what my friend, it’s a pig... Gregg Williams is about that BS.”
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