I did something the other day, that I've never before been able to do... I did a proper cartwheel! Whipdy-woo you say, but hear me out. I've always been the near six-foot girl who doesn't have the upper body strength to hold her rather large frame. Chin ups ain't ever happened, handstands in yoga? Well, lets just say it's something I've always tried my best to avoid. As a kid I always wanted to be able to do cartwheels like all my (smaller) friends, but every time I tried I kinda just looked like this. Rather than trying and trying until I mastered it, for 33 years of my life I just put it in the 'can't do it, so won't even try' basket. Until the other day that is.
My daughter has her fathers athletic in-proportion body shape, is naturally strong as hell and super flexi to boot. She attends acrobatics classes and could do cartwheels in her sleep, the lucky thing. We were out playing in the backyard the other day when she asked if we could have a running race. She ever-so-kindly offered to let me have a head start! Ha! I found it funny that she really thought I was crap at sprints, but then, I have always told her I can't to cartwheels so I guess she just assumed I also couldn't sprint. I told her I didn't need a head start and went on to whip her little butt more than once. Rather than be mad or get upset at losing, she looked up to me in a way I don't often see. She was so proud of her mum! Puffed up from the ego boost I thought how about I really pull out all the stops and impress my little Miss eight-year-old and attempted a cartwheel for the first time in about 25 years!
Much to both mine and Ada's surprise I did a proper cartwheel right on the first attempt! I think she was as shocked as I! So I did it again, and again. And even though the others were never as good as the first, they were still the best damn cartwheels I've ever done! And in the eyes of my little Miss, I had become one of the coolest people around. Sadly this view didn't last all that long, but I saw it in her eyes for a moment and that there is priceless.
Spiced lentils with chilli garlic cavolo nero
Proper Le Puy lentils are sometimes hard to come by in this part of the world and are really pricey if you do. However we are super lucky here in Australia (and New Zealand) to be able to buy the next best thing... puy-style or French-style lentils grown right here in Australia. I imagine Beluga lentils would also work here, or just use regular brown lentils if you don't mind them breaking up and going a little mushy. Cavolo nero, otherwise known as Black cabbage/Tuscan kale/Lacinato kale can be found at some vege stores and most farmers markets. However, regular curly/Scotts kale could easily be used in it's place. Silverbeet (chard) or spinach would also be great alternatives (just lessen the cooking time for spinach!).
Serves 3-4 or more as a side
1 cup (200g) puy-style lentils, soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed and drained
the juice of 1 medium lemon
a few good glugs of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan then ground finely
a good handful of coriander, leaves + soft stems, roughly chopped
sea salt + black pepper, to taste
1 bunch cavolo nero, hard stems removed, leaves left whole or roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (I used half/half yellow and black, use whatever)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 dried red chillies, split in half (or use fresh if you have them)
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
a good handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
Place soaked lentils in a medium saucepan, cover well with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-25 minutes until just tender (this time will vary depending on the freshness of the lentils, so check after 10-12 minutes). Remove from the heat and drain well. Stir through lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, coriander and season well.
Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and chilli and cook for 20 seconds or until the mustard seeds start to pop. Add garlic and stir a few times before adding in the cavolo nero leaves, ground coriander and garam masala. Give it all a good stir, then add a good splash or two of cold (filtered) water, pop on a lid and let it steam for about a minute. Add tomatoes, cover and cook for a further 30 seconds until they are softened slightly. Season generously with sea salt and black pepper.
Serve the cavolo nero over the spiced lentils, either as a main or as part of a larger meal. You might like to serve with extra lemon wedges to squeeze over too, if you're a lemon fiend like me!
Adapted from Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast by Anjum Anand.