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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.


Going through a vegetarian grunge stage in the 1990's, I always ended up with yellow stains on my clothes. They were from cooking with turmeric.

Now I wear chef whites and an apron, but the turmeric still goes everywhere.

A recipe for Red Lentil Dahl at Jacican

Recipe - Dahl


375 grams red lentils

1 kg carrots

1 bunch celery

1 leek

1 large tin of tomatoes

3 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

2 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

2TB clarified butter

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cm piece ginger, minced

The ingredients for Dahl at Jacican 


Make vegetable stock with carrots, celery, leek, and tomatoes. I always peel the carrots and dispose of the tops and bottoms. I don't use the leaves and base of the celery either. If you don't do this the skin, tops and bottoms of the carrot and the leaves of the celery may make your stock taste bitter. Clean the leek and chop everything roughly. Put in large pot, cover with water, and bring to the boil. I used 3 liters of water to cover this many vegetables. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, longer if you want a stronger stock. If you like, you can add a couple cumin and coriander seeds, a stick of cinnamon and a couple of cloves of garlic to make a richer stock.

Making stock to be used with dahl  Adding spices to the stock

Strain the stock and save for later. I ended up with 1.5 liters of stock.
Straining the stock

Heat a small fry pan and cook off the coriander and cumin seeds, until they start to release their aromas. Ground to a powder. I used a mortar and pestle.

Fry off the cumin and coriander Grind the spices in a mortar and pestle  The spices after they've been ground

Heat the claried butter in a large saucepan. Add ginger and cook off for 2 minutes.

Clarifying the butter  Frying off the ginger

Add the garlic, cook until translucent. Add the turmeric and cook off for a further 2 minutes.

Frying off the garlic  Frying off the spices 

Then add the cumin and coriander. You should not need to cook the cumin and coriander off if you have just freshly ground it. Add the bay leaf and cinnamon stick to the pan.

Add the cumin powder  Adding bay leaf and cinnamon stick 

Follow this with the lentils. Mix together to combine.

Adding lentils  Mixing together

Add the 1.5 liters of stock. Don't worry if you don't have that much stock, just add water until you reach 1.5 liters. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add stock to the lentils  The stock in the lentils

Remove Bay leaf and cinnamon stick.


Dahl served as part of the Curry in an Unhurry dinner


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