Curried Lentil Turnovers

I spotted a similar recipe to this on Vegetarian Times. Theirs looked too sweet to me, so I decided to roll my own.


  • 1 cup green lentils, washed and picked over
  • 1 yellow onion minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin seed
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 batch of rough puff pastry or store-bought puff pastry dough
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tbsp of water
  • black sesame seeds


Place the lentils in a pot and cover with water. There should be at least an inch of water above the lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add the carrot and green beans to the pot, cover, and cook until the lentils and veg. are tender, another ten minutes or so.

Heat a bit of oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until it is translucent, 5 minutes or so. Add the cumin seed, garlic and ginger, cook for another 2-3 minutes, then add the rest of the spices and soy sauce. Cook until fragrant. Add the lentils and cook, uncovered, until almost all of the liquid has cooked off. You’ll want this curry to be fairly dry, or the turnovers won’t be crisp. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400. Divide your pastry in half. Keep one half in the fridge while rolling out the other. Roll the pastry thin, and trim it to an 8″ x 12″ rectangle.

Trimmed puff pastry

Divide this into six 4″ squares (using a ruler or framing square makes this much easier). Save the trimmed pieces to roll out again later.

Ready for filling

Place the pastry squares on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet. Place 2-3 tbsp of filling on each square, brush the edges with egg wash, then fold and crimp the edges. I used a fork dipped in flour, but you can simply pinch them shut. Brush the tops with the egg wash, and sprinkle with black sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes.

ready for folding.

While the first batch is baking, continue with the second half of the pastry dough. Roll, trim, fill, wash, and crimp. You should have enough trimmed dough left over to make one more batch, giving you a total of eighteen turnovers.

They are good hot or at room temperature. If you are so inclined, you can also freeze the turnovers before cooking. Put the frozen turnovers directly into a hot oven, and add ten minutes to the cooking time.


Rough Puff Pastry

I can’t believe I don’t have this recipe up on the blog. This is my go-to crust for almost everything, from Cornish Pasties to fruit pies, to grilled tarts. It is super-flaky, yet strong enough to be used in hand pies.

I also find it quicker and easier than either true puff pastry or traditional pie crust. It is forgiving, so it makes a good beginner crust, if you’re just starting making pies.


  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 tbsp unsalted butter (or 8 tbsp butter and 8 tbsp leaf lard, if you can find it)
  • 1 cup cold water


Measure the flour into a large bowl, stir in the salt Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the flour, tossing it so the butter gets well coated. Add the water all at once and stir until a lumpy, shaggy dough forms.

dust a work surface with flour and flour a rolling pin. Turn the dough out onto the surface. Gently start rolling it until you have roughly a 9″ by 12″ rectangle. The first time you do this it will be lumpy and pieces will fall off. Don’t worry. Letter fold the dough: Fold it in thirds, overlapping the ends in the middle, as if you were folding a letter to put in an envelope.

Turn the dough seam side down and repeat the process, adding additional flour if necessary (don’t add too much). After 5 or so letter folds, you should have a supple dough with large, flat, thin smears of butter visible. Letter fold it one last time, then wrap it securely in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. The rest will both relax the gluten and firm up the butter.


If you are making a fruit pie or something else sweet, toss a tablespoon of sugar in with the flour and salt.

For savory pies (or, for that matter, apple pie), reduce the butter by 4 tbsp and toss in 1/4 cup of grated Gruyere or cheddar cheese.

The dough freezes well, too. Put it in a freezer bag and toss it in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge before starting your pie the next day.

Brushing the dough with a bit of beaten egg before cooking will give it a nice shine. It will also let you stick something to the top: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or somesuch.


Nettle Bread with Maple

I have a lot of stinging nettle in the yard. It used to vex me, giving me a rash when I was picking rhubarb, or irritating my ankles when I mowed the lawn. Then I found out you could eat it. It is one of the first harvestable greens in May, so now I look forward to picking it.

Colander of nettle
Fresh nettle. It’ll sting until it is steamed.

The bread I bake is gluten free, mildly sweet, with both honey and dark maple syrup. It is somewhat crumbly; if that annoys you, swap in some whole wheat flour for the spelt.


  • 8 oz butter
  • 1/3 cup dark maple syrup (“Grade A Dark Amber, ‘full rich taste'”)
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1-1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 room-temperature eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups stinging nettle leaves, washed.


Preheat the oven to 325

Place a steamer basket over a pot of water, bring to a boil. Add the nettle leaves and steam until wilted, 5-10 minutes, depending on the age of the leaves. Let them cool, then squeeze over the sink to remove as much water as possible (steaming kills the sting, so you won’t need gloves). Put the drained nettle on a cutting board and finely mince.

Melt the butter, syrup, and honey on the stove over medium heat until it bubbles. Stir to combine and let it cool for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the spelt flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the honey mixture and stir well.

Whip the eggs until frothy and lemon-yellow in color, either by hand or in a mixer with the whisk attachment. Add to the batter, along with the minced nettle. Stir everything gently until it is all combined. (This will be a loose, runny batter.)

A bowl of batter, showing the proper, runny consistency
A really loose batter.

Pour into an oiled loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Finished loaf, cooling.

I usually leave the loaf in the pan. If you want to remove it, wait until it is warm, then run a knife around the edges and carefully remove it with a spatula.


Black Currant Jam

A few years ago, I put in two black currant bushes. This is the first year where I’ve had enough currants to worry about canning them. Currants themselves are tasty enough that they don’t need much doctoring. Sugar and a bit of lemon juice are all.


  • 2 cups of black currants, stemmed and washed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1-1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice


washed currants

Wash and stem the currants (honestly, this is the longest part of the process). Add them to a nonreactive pot with the water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for ten minutes until the currants are softened.

Add the sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until it reaches the jelling point. If you’re using a candy/jelly thermometer, that is 220 F/104 C. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can use the cold saucer test.

Have two washed and sterilized jars ready. Pour the jam in, leaving 1/4″ head space at the top of the jars. If you aren’t water processing, they can be lidded, cooled to room temp, then put in the fridge, where it will be good for a few months.

If you are water processing, have a pot of boiling water ready, use two part lids on the jars, insert into the water bath and boil for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool until the lids ping. Store in a cool, dark place until you’re ready to use it.