The book arrived on the courier several weeks ago. I read it cover to cover on that first day reading late into the night, I couldn’t get enough. The book has since sat, often in use, on our kitchen island and is making itself very much at home there. That book is the much-anticipated first cookbook by Emma Galloway – My Darling Lemon Thyme – Recipes from my real food kitchen [Published April 1st 2014 – Harper Collins].
The stand-out title of the book comes from Emma’s super-popular and internationally renowned food blog. Emma, a kiwi girl from Raglan now living in Perth, created My Darling Lemon Thyme in 2010 after discovering she and her two children [2 & 4 years at the time] suffered from food intolerance, in particular to gluten and dairy. The blog became a place to chronicle the recipes she was cooking for her family and quickly gathered a healthy following of others with similar allergies who loved her recipes. Being a chef by trade and having often worked as a pastry chef, Emma’s know-how in the kitchen means her recipes work, I can be testament to that! All the recipes in My Darling Lemon Thyme are gluten-free and vegetarian, with many of them also dairy-free and vegan. She also includes an ETC. section at the end of the book including how to make yogurt, labneh, sweet & savoury gluten-free pastry, water kefir… among other useful kitchen essentials.
Even if you don’t have food intolerance or allergies My Darling Lemon Thyme is full-to-the-brim with recipes for everyone. Emma’s husband is Vietnamese so there are plenty of Asian-inspired recipes that just happen to be naturally gluten-free. Many of the recipes include a story about the recipe and tips about the ingredients. If you read Emma’s blog – which I can highly recommend following even if you are not a foodie blog follower – you will be familiar with her down-to-earth and relaxed character. You feel like you are sitting in her kitchen having a chat with a good friend as you read her words. And her stunning food photography is simple and unadorned, letting the food speak to you through the pages. Emma has really got her groove on with the photos in the book and at times I find myself wanting to dive right in.
The recipes I have tried, and loved them all, include – Chewy Cranberry, Millet & Pistachio Bars / Gluten-free Pizza Base / Dark Chocolate, Buckwheat + Pear Loaf [made into muffins] / Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites / & shared below Lentil Spaghetti [Bolognese] … and recipes I have bookmarked to make – Lentil Tapanade w/Chickpea Crackers / Lemon Honey & Thyme Curd Shortcakes / Harissa Pumpkin + Feta Tart / Hokey Pokey Ice Cream [using coconut milk] / and sometime very soon – pictured above – that Chai ‘Cheesecake’ w/ Earl Grey Fig Sauce… I could keep going but I hope that gives you a sense of the brilliance behind the book.
Find out more about My Darling Lemon Thyme Cookbook and check Emma’s blog HERE.
*And just for the record, Emma is not my sister (I have been asked this quite a few times now – haha), but we have worked out that we are distant cousins. Although you can be forgiven for thinking that considering we had similar upbringings where whole food was the norm and recycling is what we did to protect the environment.
And now to the recipe… let me tell you it wasn’t an easy decision choosing a recipe to share here today. You can probably see in the photos above all my bookmarks hanging out in the book! Eventually I decided on a dinner recipe, although we are omnivores around here I like to cook at least half of our dinners as vegetable-based. So I was eagerly awaiting Emma’s book for some vegetarian dinner inspiration. The recipe that follows I have already made twice and I can see it becoming one of our regular dinners. *Note: In the book it is called Lentil Spaghetti while I served it with grilled polenta for the photos so instead I have called it Lentil Bolognese.
Recipe from My Darling Lemon Thyme Cookbook by Emma Galloway. The original recipe is called Lentil Spaghetti. Reproduced [and slightly adapted] with permission.
1/4 cup puy-style lentils, rinsed
1 Tbsp finely chopped thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp capers, roughly chopped
12 kalamata olives, pitted & roughly chopped
2 cups pasta sauce [Emma includes a recipe for tomato + basil sauce in her book - I used my Slow-roasted Tomato Sauce]
pinch of dried chilli flakes, optional
250g packet gluten-free spaghetti OR grilled polenta pieces
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
basil or flat leaf parsley, roughly torn, to serve
- Place lentils, thyme and oregano in a saucepan, cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain of excess water. Put capers, olives, sauce, drained lentils and chilli flakes in a saucepan and simmer for 5-8 minutes until warmed through.
- Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook spaghetti for 8-10 minutes until al-dente. Drain and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil. Serve with sauce and a scattering of herbs.
To make Grilled Polenta: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add 1/4 tsp salt then slowly pour in 1/2 cup polenta while whisking constantly. The whisking part is important to avoid lumps as the polenta thickens fast when it makes contact with the boiling water. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat and simmer, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes. The polenta is ready when it thickens to the point that it pulls away from the sides of the pan when stirred. Remove from the heat and stir through a knob of butter [or coconut oil] and handful of grated Parmesan cheese [omit for dairy-free]. Pour the polenta into a greased dish to a thickness of 1cm and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to cool and set. Cut into squares or wedges and grill in a hot skillet lightly brushed with olive oil until golden.