So this week I tried to maintain the momentum that is meal planning and cooking at lunchtime while working at home.

I made good for Monday and Tuesday. Didn’t quite make it for Wednesday- ended up eating the cold and delicious leftovers from the Tuesday meal. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad…

Monday – All-In-One Nigella Spiced Whole Tomato Dhal

Tuesday – Super roasted pepper orzotto

Both dishes easy to construct between admin tasks, letters and meetings. Although with the dhal I was in a safeguarding training when it was ready to come out of the oven and ready to eat. So I tasked Ignacio with completing the last stages. He ended up mixing it with rice as he told me that it came out watery and he wanted to thicken it up.


400g cherry tomatoes on the vine

140g red lentils, rinsed

3 teaspoons nigella (black onion) seeds

500ml boiling water

1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (optional)

1 onion, finely sliced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 lemon, juice only

Flatbreads or basmati rice to serve


Preheat the oven to 200oC fan/200oC/gas 7. Tip the cherry tomatoes and their vines into a small lidded casserole dish or roasting tin, then add the lentils, nigella seeds, boiling water and salt (if using). Prod with a spoon to make sure the vines are submerged in the water.

Dress the sliced onion with the ground coriander and oil, then scatter this over the tomato and lentil mixture. Cover with a lid or tightly scrunch a double layer of foil over the tin – a really good seal is needed here to help the lentils cook – then transfer to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the vines, then give the dhal a good whisk. Add the lemon juice and salt to taste and serve with rice or flatbreads.

Reference: The Quick Roasting Tin, Rukmini Iyer, page 70

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