Entries in lentils (17)


roasted aubergine and lentil salad with pomegranate and mint

this salad was the perfect thing to eat on a warm summer’s evening.

i griddled aubergine slices which had been brushed with olive oil and seasoned; while they were cooking i fried a sliced red onion and some garlic in a little olive oil and when this softened i added a couple of handfuls of green lentils (puy would also have been nice), added a little red wine. when the wine had simmered away i added vegetable stock and a bay leaf,  cooking the lentils until soft and adding extra stock as necessary (add it slowly as you want it all to absorbed by the lentils).

the cooked lentils were mixed with a little pomegranate molasses and a drizzle of olive oil, so they absorbed the flavours. the cooled lentils were layered with the aubergine and some cherry tomatoes which i had roasted earlier in the week. a scattering of torn mozzarella (feta, goat's curd or grilled halloumi would also be good) and fresh mint were the finishing touches to this wonderful summer salad. we ate this with roasted spatchcocked poussin, which i’d rubbed with olive oil, sweet smoked paprika and lemon juice,and cooked for 40 minutes on a bed of spring onions.

leftovers were still delicious two days later.


a different kind of beetroot and lentil salad

one of the new cookery books that i bought recently is anna hansen’s the modern pantry. i’m a big fan of anna’s restaurant, the modern pantry, in london and enjoy her imaginative approach to melding flavours from different cuisines to create intense and impactful dishes.

this approach reflects a range of things, including that she grew up in new zealand, was inspired by her danish grandma, embarked on a food career in london (as well as nz and australia) plus her long term links with peter gordon, who is known for having a creative and imaginative approach to cooking; mixing and matching flavours from around the world.

i think this dish reflects the book and her approach to cooking incredibly well – beetroot and lentils is fairly predictable. add to that mirin, miso and soy and the dish tilts towards japan, but then pomegranate molasses are added which sends it spinning off in an entirely new direction. fresh mint and orange zest add two more strong flavours which seem to come out of the blue, but just add more layers of deliciousness.

i originally made this to accompany a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb. leftovers were eaten on their own or as part of a salad, once with hunks of melty gorgonzola and once with sliced of fried halloumi. all worked incredibly well.

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lentil soup

january is traditionally a month of austerity, a time when we try to make amends for our overindulgence with food, booze and spending.  lentil soup is a great store cupboard dish which counters all of the above indulgences but in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s a dish of deprivation.

i was convinced i hadn’t blogged this recipe but given i’ve been cooking for almost twenty years, perhaps it is unsurprising that i have.

it’s a rose elliott recipe which can be kept cheap and simple – onion, carrot, red lentils, stock and a bit of milk – or oomphed up with cream, yoghurt or croutons. the main thing for me, whichever version i make, is the squeeze of lemon juice which makes it nice and tangy.


white asparagus with tomato and rocket lentils

the weather has turned and i’m in spring/summery cooking mode. vegetables and light fresh flavours are shining through, helped by current obsession with natoora, via whom i’m merrily sourcing early tomatoes, asparagus, strawberries from the continent.

i know this doesn’t fit with my usual focus on local and seasonal choices but i feel as though i’ve been in the biggest food rut for weeks and getting some new season vegetables, alongside artisan products such nduja which you have to source for its local (calabrian) area, has really helped so i’m cutting myself a bit of slack.

this white asparagus from france was a gift from natoora – i have to confess, it’s not something i’d normally buy. i remember, years ago, reading gordon ramsay talking about white asparagus as a favourite of his, which prompted me to buy some and, to be honest, it was like every bad spear of tinned asparagus that i’d ever had.

however, these were different. i think cooking them very lightly so they retained some crunch really helped – they only had 4 minutes in the pan of simmering water. the flavour really shone through as well.

the lentils were amazing and helped everything along – in a little oil i fried some pancetta (ignore this if you want a veggie dish), garlic and sliced red onion until the onion had softened and the pancetta cooked through. 150g of lentils and 900ml of stock were added and simmered until the lentils were cooked and had absorbed the stock. add a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, twice the amount of chopped rocket, some oak-smoked tomatoes (plus a tablespoon or so of their oaky smoky oil and some chopped cherry tomatoes plus a squeeze of lemon juice. taste to see if anything needs adjusting – i added black pepper and a bit more lemon juice – and you’re ready to serve this, split between two plates, topped with the asparagus. i finished everything off with a little browned butter which i’d added a final squeeze of lemon juice to.

the flavours really well together and this is a combination i’d also like to try with green asparagus. i’m also looking forward to having the leftover lentils as a packed lunch.


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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