Today I'm sharing a really easy recipe for a delicious plant based lunch: naan bread with a lentil and dried tomatoes spread. The days are long, in Italy -as you know- we go out only to do the shopping and for other important reasons, so there is plenty of time to prepare dishes that require little work, but a long leavening time.
I don't know in which country you are based and if your daily life has already been affected by this global pandemic, but just in case you are in similar conditions, I want to share some tips on how not to go crazy. It could be easy for me to tell you to seize the occasion to read and do the things you never have the time to do, but the truth is that these sort of activities require concentration and that the one we are experiencing is not 'an occasion', but a sacrifice, that our minds are clogged, too filled with unanswered questions and worries about the days that await. So, my first tip is to try to do things that tire you physically.
I won't deny that for me it is being difficult not to be in nature or, anyway, outdoors. Not only I would run everyday, in the afternoons I would also go for long walks and when the weather was good enough, I hopped onto a vaporetto and headed straight to the Lido beach. Physical activity provides endorphins and boosts mood and immune system. Sitting on the couch all day does not provide the same gratification, so I try to keep myself busy. Fortunately I have an exercise bike, which until a short while ago functioned mostly as a hanger for clothes... Now, all jumpers and t-shirts have been removed and I actually use it to pedal, while listening to my favourite music on the iPod. I placed it next to one of the bedroom windows, so I can look at the sky outside and dream away. Also, for the first time in my life, I have turned to housework and learned that nothing is more tiring the cleaning the windows or dusting the kitchen (I leave other rooms to my husband...😂😂😂)!!!
If you have a mat, practice some yoga and meditation, it may sound strange but it really helps. I know the situation is crazy and it seems as if we have been suddenly deprived of our freedom, but being grateful for what we have highlights the positives in our life. We are required to 'save the nation' wearing pyjamas, which is definitely better than fighting a war! We have a roof on our head, food to feast on everyday and plenty of objects/tools to entertain us, from wifi to books, canvas for painting, cameras for shooting, paper for writing and so on. I'm lucky because Vittorio is at home with me, so I never feel lonely. For those of you who are less fortunate, talk to a friend everyday, join virtual gatherings and try to pamper yourself as much as possible.
Those of you who have a garden, enjoy it and take good care of it. I live in a 45 square meters rooftop, no terrace or whatsoever, but I started a 'green wall' with fresh herbs, so I have something to take care of everyday. If you have pets... well, I'm sure they are delighted to have company the whole day! Take them for walks in large streets, preferably with lots of green.
I don't have kids... thus I am definitely not the best person to give advice here. I imagine that it can be tiring, I mean... kids are always full of beans, but I am also sure you feel calmer knowing they are safe and sound with you rather than at school (so far children have not been affected, but unfortunately they could become dangerous for their grandparents). I see my neighbours that in turns use the small campo outside to play tennis, ping pong or other old-fashioned games like hopscotch. Get them to draw, write and if they are still small enough, involve them in the things you do like cooking and (yes, why not?!) cleaning. Mum and dad MUST help each other and take turns (this is true also for what concerns housework guys!).
At this point, I too will suggest you to read a good book and watch movies/tv series. Some days your mind will be elsewhere, but try to read at least an article a day (on whatever topic you enjoy), after a while it will come natural. After all the brain is a muscle...so we just need to train it!
If you can, avoid indulging in junk food and try to eat as healthy as possible, to reinforce your immune system and also because sooner or later this nightmare will end and you will want to look smashing hot because you will go out and socialise every single day! Also, consider that while we are suffering, Mother Earth is finally getting a break from all the violence we have perpetuated on her for centuries. While going to the supermarket the other day, I took a picture of a canal to show my husband how clear the water was. I had never seen it like that, it was amazing, almost like the Caribbeans!!! No ships, no wave motion, no tourist poo discharged into the canals... and this in less than two weeks. My hope is that we will remember this and when things will finally get back to normal, change direction and make better choices, always considering others and the environment, and not only based on our pockets (sooner or later I will also write a post on how to do Venice properly, respecting the city, the lagoon and its inhabitants. I already know I will say things some of you won't want to hear, like avoiding Airbnb in case you are staying less than 4 nights and avoiding buying cheap and horrendous souvenirs, but after all this is my personal blog and it is impossible for me not to share my opinions...sorry...)!
Keep informed on the situation, but don't overdo it. Reading the news morning and evening will be enough, no need to get depressed watching the CNN or whatever news channel all day, it will only make you more confused and depressed (trust me).
This is more or less it, of course the list could go on, but for now I hope it's enough. So I'll say goodbye and will be waiting for your feedback on the recipe below! We accompanied the naan bread and lentil spread with a bowl of rocket salad, red onions, capers, olives, lemon juice and oil... and it was lovely!
Have a good day!
NAAN BREAD WITH A LENTIL AND DRIED TOMATOES SPREAD
For 4 Naan breads
250 gr 00 flour
50 ml water (room temperature)
1 gr fresh brewers yeast
125 gr yogurt
1 tea spoon salt
1. In a bowl add the flour and make a hole. Add the yogurt, the brewers yeast, a pinch of salt and the water. Work the dough with your hands until it's well amalgamated.
2. Move the dough onto a previously floured flat surface and knead until it's nice and smooth. Form a ball, put back in the bowl and cover. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours.
3. When the time has passed, break the dough into 4 smaller balls, cover with a kitchen bowl and let sit for another hour.
4. When ready, flatten each portion with your hands giving either a rectangular or circular shape.
5. Heat a pan, add some oil and cook each naan separately for about 1 minute on each side. When you are cooking the first side, use the tips of your fingers to press the dough. Turn the naan and cook for another minute.
6. Repeat for the remaining naans.
For the spread:
230 gr drained green lentils
3 sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 clove fresh garlic
2 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
1. Drain the lentils and rinse well under fresh water to remove extra sodium.
2. Put the lentils in a bowl, add the roughly sliced dried tomatoes, a third of finely chopped garlic (remember to remove the green sprout), add the oil and mix with a hand blender until nice and smooth.
3. Put in a small bowl, add a few drops of oil on the top and serve.