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Entries in lentils (13)


roasted roots with pancetta and lentils 

another week, another packed lunch. this is a great combination – really flavoursome and filling which meant i was less tempted to snack as the afternoons (dragged) on (it’s been a tough week!).

it was pulled together to use up some roasted beetroot that i had in the fridge (i peel mine before roasting and then sprinkled the chunks of beetroot with chopped rosemary, some fresh oregano plus salt and pepper before drizzling with olive oil). there wasn’t enough to make a big enough batch for the week so we roasted some parsnips to bulk things out, but any roasted vegetable would be good in this – aubergines, peppers, squash etc. i want to play around with the ingredients as i think it’ll be easy to create quite different results depending what vegetables are used but using this recipe as a template.

the pancetta adds a bit of saltiness and the fresh herbs and lemon juice play their usual role of lifting the flavours and freshening everything up. 

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white lentils with tomatoes and cream


i’m completely rubbish whenever asks me “what’s your favourite…” – i’m fickle and changeable so favourites come and go. however, lentils always catch my interest and dhal (or dal. or daal. or dahl.) is very much-loved. it was the answer to delicious magazine’s question about my favourite dish and is something i’ve not made nearly often enough in recent months.

dal makhani is a dish i love to find on a restaurant menu – it’s made with black urad lentils and is rich, earthy and indulgent. however, when i stocked up on urad dhal i chose the dehusked version - a white urid dal, according to the label. finding recipes for this has been tricky so i decided to adapt one that was meant for the unhusked bean (they aren’t really lentils) and is reminiscent of dal makhani.

the recipe i used is from the cinnamon club cookbook and it is the first time i’ve used this book. the resulting dish, albeit an adaptation, is rich, subtle and sophisticated. utterly delicious and a reason to track down some black urad dhal and make my own makhani.

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spicy lamb cutlets with lentil & rice pilaf


recently i was asked what a pilaf is – “a dish in which a grain, such as rice or cracked wheat, is browned in oil, and then cooked in a seasoned broth” according to wikipedia. i tend to make my pilafs with rice and love having them as an accompaniment to a roast (roasted tomato and fennel pilaf was a recent choice to accompany some slow-roasted lamb) or as a meal in the own right (my mackerel and spinach pilaf is a much loved favourite).

they are incredibly versatile, using up whatever you happen to have in and good served hot or just at room temperature (which makes them an ideal packed lunch option). 

adding protein to the pilaf is something i usually do with fish or meat but in this bill granger recipe he suggests lentils  which works really well. in fact the dish as a whole was great – the lamb cutlets are marinated with a mix of spices and the accompanying tomato sauce is spiked with ginger, chilli and garlic. perfect, with some flat breads, as a cosy supper when you need something comforting but still want to be reminded of summer’s light days and fresh flavours.

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lentil soup

this lentil soup is an old favourite – comfort food from the days when i was a poor student, a vegetarian (over 10 years ago) and the days when i was still learning to love lentils and beans.

it is a recipe from rose elliott’s bean book, a cookery book which i remember my mum using when i was a child and which i still turn to.

this lentil soup is very traditional and comforting with the gentle flavours of onion, carrot and red lentils. it is lifted, however, by a squeeze of lemon juice and, if you’re feeling a bit more decadent than i was on an austere january day, it is lovely with yoghurt swirled through or, as rose elliott suggests, curried croutons.

if you want to lift the flavours further, stir a teaspoon of thai curry paste in with the onions and add some chopped coriander when you serve it.

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roast squash with lentils and toasted goat's cheese


i know autumn has arrived when squashes and pumpkins appear in the shops and markets. i love trying different types and took full advantage of a recent offer for a mixed selection in my vegetable box.

the gem squash will be boiled and mashed with lots of butter, salt and pepper. i roasted the onion squash for a chorizo, bean and squash salad (similar to this) and the acorn squash was used in a wonderfully simple and very delicious meal of roast squash with lentils and goat’s cheese.

 the acorn squash has a thin skin which means you don’t need to peel it before roasting and eating (this is true for onion and butternut squash as well) and the sweetness contrasts wonderfully with earthy puy lentils and rich tangy goats cheese. i served this with a green salad on the side.

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