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i originally made this to accompany a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb.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.