Kindness Incorporated: Why we should be more kind to ourselves

Kindness

Cultivating internal kindness is the way to release energy, creativity and resilience says Anna Pinkerton of Kindness Incorporated.

“If an entrepreneur knew that being kind to themselves was true responsibility for themselves, they’d be up for it.”

Pushing through

Successful businesses rely on entrepreneurs pushing themselves to extremes.  We work long hours, neglect our family, miss lunch.  We constantly jump outside our comfort zones.  We push on through fear and anxiety.  Because to be successful, we must ignore our weaknesses.  Or so we are told.

Not some wishy washy stuff

But this week we met experienced therapist and trauma expert Anna Pinkerton.  And she’s turned all that on its head.  Anna runs Kindness Incorporated.  Her mission is to help people be more kind to themselves.  This isn’t some wishy washy hippy stuff.  It’s seriously saving people from breakdowns and helping them recover from trauma, depression and anxiety.

We asked her how it works.

“We are trained by society and our culture to carry on regardless.  To ignore internal feedback.  We are hardwired to survive.  But if you consistently ignore what you want and need, your brain will give up and that will lead to a breakdown.”

We’re taught that being resilient is all about being “tough” and ignoring pain.  But Anna explains that if you don’t look after yourself, then you are less resilient.

At the centre of this is what Anna calls “being fully human”.  We’re not supposed to be happy all the time, she says.  Sometimes we feel anger or jealousy or fear.  Being fully human means accepting all of your feelings, including the negative ones.

“If you allow the feeling it will be transient, like all feelings are transient.  If you say you’re not allowed to feel that, then the feeling will still be there, but it will stick around and not go away.  The trick is to acknowledge that we feel bad, and to sooth ourselves.  Be kind to ourselves.”

How does this affect us as entrepreneurs?  There’s a culture in business that is constantly expecting more of ourselves than we’re giving.  Pressure to push ourselves out of our comfort zones.  And if we don’t do that?  We are told we are resistant to change.

Being resistant to change is safety behaviour says Anna.

“Everyone’s resistant to change, it’s what their neurology tells them to do.  If someone is not wanting to change, there’s a good reason for it.”

But so often we are told to ignore our own safety behaviour and get with the programme.  If someone is telling you embrace the change whether you like it or not, then they are ignoring your needs.

“You need to be able to voice your agony around the change.  Say you’ve got two children, you’re not particularly well, you’re already doing a 40 hour week and you can’t see how you can do this new thing.  Your business coach or leader needs to say, yes I get that, you have a choice, you don’t have to do this.”

“Having no choice means you are entrapped.  It’s scary, and you’re neurology is telling you it’s not even possible, you can’t do it, you’re not good enough.”

 

“What would happen if your coach instead asked What do you want for you?  What does success look and feel like for you?  Your safety behaviour has no need to kick in.  You’re not in danger.  It might be that you are up for something new, but it’s ok to say no too.”

Ignoring your internal voice is so cruel says Anna.  Ignoring our humanity is inhuman.  We need to cultivate a less brutal approach.  Treat ourselves and our needs with respect and kindness.

Cultivating Kindness

“Being kind to yourself takes courage.  It takes you through everything you are and everything you’re not.  It takes you through everything you’ve been through.  It’s taking full responsibility for yourself. It’s not pretending to be something you aren’t.  By being kind to yourself you are taking full responsibility for your physical and mental health.”

Breakdown

We all know people who have reached burnout.  The biggest risk for entrepreneurs says Anna is ignoring signs of stress.

“There’s incremental steps to breakdown.  People will say damn, why can’t I just keep going, what’s the matter with me that I can’t do this 70 hour week.  The cruelty becomes normalised.  The early warning signs are nothing to do with mental health usually.  They are to do with dehumanising yourself, not allowing yourself to have a full range of feelings.  Not allowing yourself to feel vulnerable or have needs or wants of your own.  Other signs include skipping lunch because it takes up time, and thinking that’s ok.  It’s not ok, it’s ignoring your basic human needs.  If you carry on doing that, your body and mind will take you down.  People are expecting the first signs to be psychological responses – feeling you can’t go on, crying etc – but it starts earlier, with dehumanising yourself.”

Anna’s top tips for business leaders and coaches

1 Take care of YOURSELF.  Don’t speak about something you’re not prepared to do yourself.

2  Permit people to be fully human

3  Encourage people to be open to their full range of feelings.  You can’t get feelings wrong.

4  Help people understand the energy lost in being cruel to yourself, compared with the energy released in being kind.

5  Alert people to the power of kindness.  Brutality takes energy because you are fighting.  Being kind to yourself releases you from the fight.

Five Really Good Reasons To Send Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards

Will you send cards this Christmas?

Thinking of ditching the Christmas cards this year and sending emails instead? Do you know how many emails are sent every day?  205 billion, that’s how many.  Office workers receive an average of 121 emails every day.   Even our personal inboxes are full of Social Media notifications and sales emails from companies we don’t really care about.  Most of them go unopened.  Those that are opened are usual unremarkable.   We delete them with a click of a mouse and forget about them.

Christmas Cards

The first commercially produced Christmas Card 1843

Email Greetings

You want to send your Christmas wishes by email?  Sure, it saves money, and yes there’s a valid environmental concern too.  And it saves time too.  And isn’t that just the point?  We want to think that our friends think about us.  Maybe only occasionally.  Maybe only as much as bothering to write our name and address.  But certainly more than being part of an email mailing list.

Christmas Cards

There’s lots of reasons why people don’t send cards – maybe they’re skint, or ill, or they have lots going on, or they’re out of the country at the crucial time.  But don’t be that friend that didn’t send cards because you couldn’t be arsed!

Five Reasons to Send Christmas Cards

  1. The Personal Touch. Everyone wants to cared about.  Sending a card says you thought about your friend.  You thought about them enough to find your address book.  And spend money on a stamp.  That’s enough to warm the cockles of someone’s heart.
  2. Everyone likes to receive cards. Look how many cards I’ve got on my mantelpiece.  I must be REALLY loved.  If you send, you will receive.
  3. Cards = Happiness. Knowing you are cared about increases your happiness.  Spread happiness.  Especially for people who are isolated, or who don’t use social media.
  4. Don’t lose touch. It would be so easy to never ever speak to a cousin or a great aunt or your old mate from school.  Stay in touch with a Christmas card and a personal note.
  5. You can’t delete cards. Yeah you can throw them away.  Or even better, recycle them for next year’s gift labels.  But they are hanging around for a couple of weeks.  Reminding you that people care and like you.  Email cards don’t do that.

Christmas Cards

Bonfire Night, Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

We know you Brits know EVERYTHING there is to know about Bonfire night, (or do you?) but what about the rest of you?  We weren’t even sure we knew ourselves.  So we thought we’d check it out.

Guy Fawkes

It all started on the 5th November 1605.   Guy Fawkes and —- others were ready and waiting for the biggest explosion ever.   The plan was to blow up the house of Lords, and with it King James I.

Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspiritors

Sectarianism

Why?  In the 17th Century politics was seething with religious sectarianism.  Every since Henry IIX had parted with the Catholic Church, Catholicism had been under fire.   Catholic rebels were plotting though.  The were determined to replace the protestant King with a Catholic head of state.  And so there sat Guy Fawkes, guarding the gunpowder and waiting for the signal to ignite.  But the government had got wind, and Fawkes was caught and arrested.  Of the whole gang he was the only one who didn’t escape.

The Observance

King James has survived the attempt on his life.  And celebrate, fires were lit and celebrations held all over London.  Soon after, the Observance of 5th November Act was passed, enforcing by law, an annual public day of thanksgiving.

In the following years, the celebrations spread throughout England. In 1607 Carlisle, Norwich and Nottingham all had big celebrations with music and military salutes.  In that same year, Canterbury exploded 106 pounds of gunpowder as part of the celebrations.

The the 5th November became the most important State Celebration day in England.  But it was also infused with anti-Catholic sentiment.  Preachers used the occasion to rail against Papism and the dangers of Catholicism.  Effigies, not just of Guy Fawkes but of the Pope were burnt on the bonfires.

Violence

The anti-Catholic element of Bonfire night waxed and waned throughout the 18th Century.  During the 19th Century, the government became concerned that the violence against Catholicism was getting out of hand.  In 1859 the government decided to repeat the Observance Act to try and diffuse the violence.  Gradually, the 5th November became less and less sectarian (in England at least). And by the turn of the 20th Century, the day had become a social event with little political meaning.

Pagan Roots?

Some historians have suggested that the 5th November was a Protestant commandeering of ancient Pagan celebrations and rituals connected with Autumn.  A lot of the traditions. they say, are borrowed from the older tradition of Samhain and Halloween.  But others have pointed out the day is specifically about the Gunpowder plot and the attempt to blow up the King and the House of Lords.

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night in the 21st Century

We may have largely lost sight of the origins of Bonfire Night, but it’s still an important tradition.  Health and Safety rules have changed the way we celebrate.  But we still turn out each year, to oo and ahh at the fireworks, eat bonfire toffee and stand around fires.   What will you be doing tonight?

Day of the Dead: Whats that all about then?

Day of the Dead

Opening scene of James Bond, Spectre, it’s a Day of the Dead parade.  A spectacular scene, in itself, make all the more memorable for it’s costumes.  Of course we know it was all staged for the film.  But here’s a thing, Mexico City has never had a real life Day of the Dead festival.  Until now.  The film created a huge interest and eventually the government said YES to a parade.

Day of the Dead

There are parades in other cities though.  In Pátzcuaro, the streets are filled with dancers and paraders, dressed in skeleton costumes.  There are candle-lit parades and light displays, and lots of other events.

What’s it all about though?

The Day of the Dead festival has a long history.  It dates back some 3000 years to an Aztec tradition.  It was a summer festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl.  Don’t ask to pronounce that, we’d only embarrass ourselves.

Meanwhile in Europe, pagan traditions of honoring the dead, merged with Christian festivals celebrating saints (All Saints, or All Hallows day).  The result was Halloween (literally: the eve of All Hallows).  The whole lot got stirred up into a slightly confusing matter (some sectors of the Christian church have never been comfortable with the celebration of Halloween).  And then delivered to Central America during the 16th century.  Gradually, as Central American traditions morphed with pagan traditions from other parts of the world.  The festival moved from the summer to the 1st November in line with All Hallows.  And it came to be a celebration honoring dead souls.

Celebrating the dead

So what happens on the day?  Well, graves are swept and decorated with flowers.  Alters are built in houses, and decorated with photos of the deceased.  There are picnics (sometimes by the graves of the dead relatives).  And sometimes even campouts by the graves.  Food is left out for the souls of the dead.  Prayers are said.  And of course, like all festivals worth the name, there’s special food.

Day of the Dead

The Food, tell us about the food

If there’s nothing else, there’s always bread, water and salt.  They’re needed for feeding the dead souls.  (Who take the soul of the food, leaving the earthly bits behind for the living).

But of course, there’s traditional party food too.  Day of the Dead bread is pretty essential.  It’s a sweet, bread that is sometimes decorated with shapes like bones.  Or shaped into animal or human or skull shapes.  Then there’s the sugar skulls, and figurines.

It all sounds like a blast. It’s already such a popular festival, it’s spreading to the southern parts of the USA, along with it’s Mexican community.  Wonder how long it will be before it takes off in the rest of the world?

The Science of Ghosts Wooowhat do you believe?

Ghosts

It’s nearly Halloween.  We know you are as excited as us about being haunted!  But hang on a min, what about those pesky scientists who say “NO” ?   Some of them seem hell-bent on taking away our ghosts.

Throughout history ghosts are a feature across all cultures.  How can we explain all the sightings and hauntings if they’re not real?  So many people cannot be wrong can they?

Scientists and rationalists have been debunking ghosts for a long time.  Here’s some of their explanations.  Which do think is the most plausible?  The science or the paranormal?

photo-1465416532510-98090cdedec7

Cold Spots

Cold spots are when you when you walk through a building and suddenly you feel cold.  Then you move on and it returns to normal.  That’s a ghost.  Ghosts draw energy from their surrounds, so the environment suddenly feels cold.  Or else it’s a draught.  You decide!

Mold

Yes, mold, would you believe it.  There are molds that can affect us physically and, it turns out, mentally too.  There’s some research that suggests some molds can cause dementia type symptoms and irrationality.  The research is a very long way from proving anything, but there’s some evidence that these kinds of molds exist in “haunted” buildings.

photo-1472555753081-650dbef985c5

Orbs

Orbs are the spirits of dead people.  You knew that right?  They’re the ones that have gone but not quite crossed over yet.  They show as glowing circles of light.  They can only be seen in photographs.  Ahh, you say…. And yes, even fervent believers have a hard time believing those.  Get your camera sorted!

Magnetic fields

There’s magnetic fields everywhere.  If an unusual magnetic field occurs, it may well affect the brain.  It might feel like a ‘presence’.  Tests have been done where people were exposed to unusual magnetic fields and asked if they felt anything. Some scientists have found unusual magnetic fields present in ‘haunted’ places.  But other scientists have argued that it all comes down to the power of suggestion.  If someone says you might feel a presence, you’re more likely to feel a presence.  Which end are you most attracted to?  See what I did there?

 The Power of Suggestion

A 2014 study by phychologists at Goldsmiths University in London conducted tests on participants which showed that the power of suggestion is very strong.  They paired participants up to watch videos of paranormal events, but one of the pair was always a plant.  The plants were working with the researchers.  When reporting back, if the plant reported that they saw paranormal occurrences, so would the real participant.  If the plant said no, then so did the real participant.

Ouija Board and Table Tilting – Even true believers know that there’s always been con-men involved in the Spiritualist movement.  But surely not all Ouija board and Table Tilting is fraudulent ?  At the height of Spiritualist popularity, in the mid 19th Century, physicist Michael Faraday said not.  What he showed was that something far more interesting than fraud.  He did a series of tests and experiments.  What he found was the Ideomotor phenomenon.  That’s when the body reacts to ideas without us being conscious of it.  It happens in response to pain, but it can also happen in response to ideas.  So if the participants really believed that table would tilt in a certain way, they may have subconsciously tilted it.

Ghosts

Do you believe in ghosts?

So there you have it.  Ghosts are mold, magnetic fields, draughts, or our overactive imaginations.  Or are they?  What do you think?  Woooooooooooo…

Halloween: It’s Just a silly American Import, Or Is it?

Halloween sure is a big thing in the USA.  Costumes, Trick or Treating, parties, the lot. Here in the UK, we’re a bit prone to dismissing it as new-fangled American stuff.  But stop right there fellow Brits, because …..

The origins of Halloween

There’s lots of evidence to suggest that Halloween has it’s origins in Celtic and Pagan traditions.  The end of summer – Samhain – festival was seen as a time of year when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld was thinner.  That meant that spirits could easily pass through into our world.  It was a time when souls of the dead could visit their families.

Then came Christianity.   The festival of All Hallows is a time for honouring pious souls and saints.  Did they impose a Christian meaning on this Celtic Pagan tradition, or did the two just mingle?  We don’t know.  Anyway, the result is the Halloween we have today.  Which of course varies from one part of the world to another.

Halloween

Medieval Britain

At All Hallows it was customary for children to go door to door collecting Soul Cakes in exchange for praying for the dead.  Soul Cakes were bread usually marked with a cross, a bit like Day of the Dead bread.  Will that be Soul Cakes for the kids round your neighbourhood this year then?

Trick or Treat

One tradition from the Middle Ages is the belief that not all the visiting souls were benign.  Some were looking to wreak vengeance on their enemies.  People wore masks to that they wouldn’t be recognised by these vengeful souls.  So there’s the origins of Trick or Treat and Halloween costumes.

Halloween

Jack-O-Lanterns

Lanterns were made to frighten away souls from homes of the innocent.  And on the subject of lanterns:  Here in the UK, before it was easy to get pumpkins, we made lanterns from turnips.  Now that was hard work.  While our US friends had easy access to pumpkins.  Thank goodness for pumpkins!

Break out the Binbags

So, time to start making your Halloween costumes.  Get out there with your binbag witches dresses, and your pumpkin lanterns (or turnips, go on, we challenge you!).  Pray for some souls!  Or just stay in and eat the kids’ chocolates.

The Bawdy Bard: Shakespeare in its Original Pronunciation

Shakespeare

Bawdy Innuendo

Never really got that whole Shakespeare ‘bawdy innuendo’ thing?  Your English teachers might have banged on about it a bit.  But chances are, they didn’t get it either.  Or at least, not all of it.  Turns out we’ve been pronouncing Shakespearean English all wrong.

There’s lots of evidence that suggest Shakespearean accents were totally different from today’s.  Never mind your RADA-trained elocuted pronunciation.  Shakespeare is supposed to be spoken with a cross between West Country, Yorkshire and Irish accents. Oo arh by gum.

Shakespeare

As You Like It

So what does that mean for the bawdy bard?  Well for a start ‘hour’ was pronounced the same as ‘whore’.  Which opens up a whole line of rude puns.

‘Tis but an hour ago since it was nine,
And after one hour more ’twill be eleven;
And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe,
And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot;
And thereby hangs a tale.’

As You Like It Act 2 Scene 7

How do we know what the original pronunciation was?  The clue is in Shakespeare’s rhyming.  It just doesn’t make sense unless you pronounce it right.

Over to the Experts

Here’s a couple of linguists explaining it all in a more learned fashion than we can muster.  Skip to 8.00 mins if you want to get straight to the smutty bit.

Boobies in the House: Breastfeeeding Good For Democracy

breastfeeding

Breastfeeding in Parliament

Last week the Parliament of Iceland had a first.  They were addressed by an MP from the podium who was breastfeeding her baby at the same time!  Unnur Bra Konradsdottir, MP declined the offer of a colleague to hold the baby, and just took her up to the podium with her.  Iceland is very relaxed about public breastfeeding, but this was a new one.  Everyone seemed to take it in their stride.

The UK House of Commons

Can you imagine if that was the UK Parliament though?  Here in the UK, we have all sorts of laws protecting the right to breastfeed in public.  But they don’t stretch to the House of Commons.  Infact, breastfeeding is expressly forbidden in the House of Commons.  Back in July an extensive report was published on the matter.  It recommended that breastfeeding should definitely be allowed.  The late Jo Cox MP spoke on the matter, suggesting it would be good for the baby, and good for democracy.  It would allow women MPs with babies to fully participate in the business of the House of Commons.

Objections

Sammy Wilson, DUP MP for East Antrim disagreed.  He felt that breastfeeding in the House of Commons would be exhibitionist.  “If you have somewhere else to go (to feed) whiy do you have to come into the House of Commons…?” he said.  His party later contradicted him, saying they thought breastfeeding was good for babies and that MPs who had infants should be able to feed them.

Whatever the consensus is though, the John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House has not endorsed the recommendations.  Breastfeeding is still not allowed.  It’s not the first time a recommendation has been ignored by the UK House of Commons.  A similar report in 2002 was ignored and the ban on breastfeeding upheld by the then Speaker Michael Martin.

The Most Natural Thing in the World

But back in Iceland, it’s all just a matter of nature.  Konradsdottir said it would anyway have been more disruptive not to carry on feeding her daughter.   The 6 week old infant has been attending committee meetings and parliament almost since she was born.  Konradsdottir said that breast feeding is “the most natural thing in the world”.  And we agree with her.  We’d love to see the UK House of Commons endorse that report.  Good for the baby, good for democracy! 

Chocolate Week: Ten Things You Might Not Know About Chocolate

Chocolate

Chocolate Week

It’s been chocolate week and we’ve been perusing all things choc.  Most people love chocolate and we all know how it helps our happy-hormones.  We know we shouldn’t over indulge.  For the sake of our waistbands and cholesterol levels.  And yet, we’re always being told how it’s Good For You.  What is a person to do?

Chocolate

The magical substance of cocoa has the world in it’s power.  And it has done for a very very long time.  But just how much do you know about it?  Expecially for Chocolate Week, we present our top ten chocolate facts.

Facts

  • Chocolate is made from a cocoa fruit which is about the size of a small melon and grows on trees.

cocoa_beans

  • Each fruit contains about 40 seeds – enough to make 8 bars of milk or 4 bars of dark chocolate.
  • Cocoa trees grow in tropical parts of the world. It is mostly produced in West Africa and South America.  Cote d’Ivoire grows 35% of the world’s supply of cocoa.
  • The Mayans of central America were the first people to grow cocoa trees and drink chocolate. 250 – 900 AD.
  • The word chocolate comes from the Aztec word xocoatl.  The Aztecs were unable to grow cocoa trees though, because their climate wasn’t right.  They had to trade it from the Mayans.
  • The Latin – or scientific – name for the cocoa tree is Theobroma Cacao, meaning food of the gods.  Which is about right.
  • 90% of cocoa trees are grown on small family farms. About 6 million farmers earn their living from grown and selling cocoa beans.
  • Cocoa is a difficult crop. Trees need to be constantly tended and protected.  Cocoa farmers earn very little from this very lucrative industry.
  • Chocolate
  • Fair trade chocolate is made from cocoa grown on family farms, the same as all cocoa. But the farmers are paid a premium amount rather than the minimum.  That means they can invest in the farms and have security for their families and communities.
  • Milky Ways are named after a flavour of milkshake, which has (milk)shaken my entire chocolate belief system as I always thought it was astronomical, just like a Mars Bar.  Which makes question how Mars Bars got their name.  See, world shaken.

Chocolate Brownies

Oh and earlier in the week we promised you a choc recipe.  We had to do some serious testing.  It has been really hard work.  We have come to the conclusion that this is the best brownie recipe ever.  Didn’t seem fair to claim it as our own, so click on the image for the BBC Good Food recipe.  The instructions look a bit long winded, but it’s honestly as easy as anything.  They get better if you store them for a few days.  Which is the hardest bit of the recipe.

Chocolate

BBC Good Food Best-ever Brownies

 

 

 

 

It’s Curry Week and Chocolate Week, what a week!

Curry Week

Curry Week

Oh My God it’s Curry Week AND it’s Chocolate Week!  All in the same week!  Now that’s a good week.  To celebrate, we’re sharing our curry and chocolate recipes.  The curry one is cheap as chips.  Or more accurately, cheap as chapatis.  Which should leave you enough cash to not only eat out at your favourite Indian restaurant, but also to make our chocolate recipe.

Chapattis

Chapattis are the staple diet for millions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.  If you’ve never made them before, or even if you have, have a go this week and send us pics of the results.

OK, before we get started.  1) Chapattis need chapatti flour.  If you can’t get special chapatti flour, use wholemeal flour, but sift out the bran.  This is important.  With the bran, they won’t roll properly, they will be hard and crispy and just wrong.  Get sifting. 2) Chapatti dough needs to rest for a few hours, so plan ahead. 3) Chapattis are absolutely necessary for Curry Week, so don’t delay, get started today!

Ingredients.

Makes enough for 2 hungry people or 4 not so hungry people

  • 2 cups of chapatti flour
  • Cold water
  • You will also need a tawa (chapatti pan) or a heavy bottomed frying pan

Method

  • Mix the flour with enough water to make a soft but not wet dough
  • Knead by hand for 10 minutes, or in a mixer/food processor for 3 minutes.
  • Place in a greased plastic bag, or lidded container and put in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • To cook, pull off a golfball sized piece of dough, and shape into a ball.  Flatten on your work surface.  Roll out into a round, nice and thin, but no bigger than your pan.
  • Heat your pan (no oil or grease at all please) and when it’s hot, slap on your chapatti.
  • Start preparing the next chapatti, while keeping an eye on the one in the pan.  When it starts to bubble up, flip it over to cook the other side.  It should take a minute or less, so be watchful.
  • When it’s done on both sides (don’t let it brown) wrap in a clean tea towel and keep warm.
  • Cook the next one.  Keep on going till you’ve used up all the dough.  Serve while hot.

Dhal

Tasty and nutritious, dhal is easy to make once you know how.  And once you’ve got the right things in your storecupboard, it’s really cheap too.  Of course, you can splash out and add other stuff, but this is the basic recipe.  We’ve used split red lentils because they’re easy to get hold of and cook in no time.  You should be able to get all the spices in the supermarket, but they are much much cheaper in Asian supermarkets.  If you can’t get Asafetida, don’t worry, just leave it out.  Right then, Curry Week, here we come!

Feeds 2 hungry people or 4 not so hungry people.  With maybe some left over.  Which you can freeze.

Ingredients

For the dhal

  • 100g lentils
  • ½ tin tomatoes, preferably blended, but not necessary.
  • 2cm of root ginger peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • 30g soft brown sugar (or whatever you’ve got)
  • Small handful of fresh coriander

For the tarka (spiced oil)

  • 25 ml veg oil
  • 1 dried chilli snapped in half
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • Pinch asafoetida

Method

  • Put the lentils in a pan and cover with boiling water.  Bring to the boil and then simmer til they are soft.  Keep an eye on them.  If it’s looking dry, add more water, but don’t drown it.
  • When the lentils are soft, add the tomatoes, and simmer til everything’s becoming a bit mushy
  • Add the salt, ginger, turmeric, sugar, chili powder and coriander and mix well.
  • For the tarka: In a small pan, heat the oil and add the chilli, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and asafoetida.  Carefully head till the seeds start to pop.
  • Pour the oil over the hot dhal.  Stand back as it’s likely to splutter.
  • Stir well and serve with the chapattis.

There you go, food for next to nothing.  Though of course, if you want to add in more glamorous dishes to the meal, go for it.  Chicken Madras? Mushroom Korma?  Whatever takes your fancy – it’s Curry Week, after all!   We’ll give you our chocolate recipe later in the week, just to make your week perfect!

 

 

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