Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Swish-fever and warm lentil salad

I am looking forward to Thursday's clothes swap so much that I have developed swish-fever. Such is my heightened state of sensitivity to potential swapping activity that tonight I drove home in a frenzy and had Madame la Moue and Mrs H on red alert, all because I thought I saw a swish happening through an open door as I drove past.

Needless to say, sensible readers, it was an hallucination, behind which lay... a hemp clothing sale. Ah, the bitter sting of swishing thwarted. Not that I have anything against hemp, you understand. It's just that it tends to lack that element of, you know, sizzle. And so I was forced to stand down my two swishketeers, to heavy hearts all round. But now how much more piquant will be the delights of Thursday?

And now, to cheer you after that tale of heartbreaking pathos, a recipe for the warm lentil salad and chargrilled peppers that accompanied last week's leek and potato patties...

...both of these are delicious cold, so I usually keep them in the fridge to have as an impromptu lunch or as part of a mezze later in the week.

Read the recipe after the jump.

Warm lentil salad:

5oz small, brown lentils, such as le Puy (here I used Pardina, which are slightly more succulent)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Olive oil
1-2 tsp stock or bouillon powder (I use Marigold)
Approx 3 tbsp red wine vinegar

Cover the lentils with water and boil until they are soft to the bite, but haven't lost their shape. Fry the garlic until pale golden, add the chilli and fry lightly. Stir the drained lentils into the garlic and chilli. Sprinkle over the bouillon powder, pour in some of the vinegar and stir and heat until absorbed. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary. Stir in the parsley and serve.

You could omit the parsley and chilli if you like. You could also add onion, a squeeze of lemon, or anything else that takes your fancy really.

Chargrilled peppers:

Any type of bell or pointed peppers
Olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic

Slice the peppers into flat strips and place on foil under a very hot grill. Grill until the skins are amost entirely blackened. Wrap in the foil to allow the steam to loosen the skins. Meanwhile, crush the garlic to a paste with salt in a pestle and mortar, add the vinegar and mix together. unwrap the peppers, peel the skins off and place in a bowl. Pour the garlic and vinegar mixture over them and allow to absorb. Pour over a glug of olive oil, stir and serve.

You could use sherry vinegar if you like and also add capers or chopped flat leaf parsley.

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