Hassleback al Forno

In Britain we have a tradition of having a roast dinner on a Sunday. This consists of roast vegetables, meat, some gravy and potatoes in some form. Many families still do this but it does tend to use up every pot in the house which has put me off making it just for the two of us. These roasted vegetables with puy lentils cooked in red wine do a nice job of recreating that Sunday lunch feeling without all the extra washing up. Once again this recipe was in Jamie Oliver’s ‘Veg’.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • 4 carrots
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15g thyme
  • olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 100ml red wine
  • 2 400g tins green lentils
  • 100g spinach
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt

Method

1.) Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Peel the parsnips, squash, onion, carrots and potatoes.

2.) Slice around all the veg but don’t go through the middle at 1/2 cm intervals.

3.) Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to a large bowl with 6 tbsp oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Strip off and add the thyme leaves.

4.) Add the veg to the bowl and coat with all the ingredients.

5.) Pour everything into a roasting tin and roast for one hour.

6.) Once the veg are done, take them out the tin and set aside. Put the tray over the hob and pour in the wine and let it reduce. Then add the tins of lentils with the liquid and the spinach. Stir until the sauce is thick and the spinach has wilted then season.

7.) Serve some lentils with some roasted veg and a dollop of yoghurt.

Lentil Bolognese

For me, a classic Italian pasta with Ragu is a big comfort meal. Lentils provide all of the protein in the meal you lack from the minced beef/pork and have just a little bit of chew to mix up the texture. This recipe was from ‘Bosh – Healthy Vegan’. I take Italian lessons each week and I’ve learnt that when we ask for a panini it doesn’t make sense as panini is the plural form of sandwich – if you have Italian servers you want to impress, ask for a panino. Learning Italian, it was very difficult going on holiday recently to Spain. The basic phrases you need in both languages are very similar, so I was constantly muddling up the two! Bilbao was beautiful though and I fully recommend a trip and a taste of all their delicious pinxtos (bar snacks).

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tin lentils (400g)
  • 10g fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 50g walnuts
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 50ml red wine
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp marmite
  • 100ml water
  • 320g pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • 20g hard cheese
  • 10g parsley

Method

1.) Peel and finely dice the garlic and the onions. Strip the leaves from the thyme. Bash the walnuts in a pestle and mortar.

2.) Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook on a low heat until soft.

3.) Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

4.) Add the tomato puree, tin of tomatoes, walnuts, lentils, red wine, chilli, oregano, thyme, marmite and water. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes to thicken.

5.) Whilst this is cooking, grate the cheese, Chop up the parsley and cook the pasta. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. Serve the pasta with some sauce, sprinkle over the cheese and parsley.

Indian Porridge (Uppma)

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe on the blog because I really like it. I made it for the first time just before I started writing the blog and enjoyed it just as much second time around. It’s nearly one year since I started blogging, I can’t believe it as not much has happened. I’ve just had my Spotify wrapped and I’m still just stanning on Paramore, David Bowie and The Beatles despite being in the top 5% of listeners in the UK. I had some refresher driving lessons this year after not driving for several years. The instructor managed to insult me twice in the last lesson by making a derogatory comment about cats and then remembering my career wrong as being within HR. No insult to those out there that work in HR but I don’t think he would have plucked out that one out of thin air if I were a guy. I’m a chartered certified accountant thank you very much. Other things that have happened in the year, I’ve been studying French, I am now able to read JK Rowling’s ‘The Christmas Pig’ in French but Harry Potter is still a bit beyond me without the help of a dictionary. I made my reading challenge for the year (30 books), some of them were definitely on work time. I’ve also managed to crochet my first half decent amigurumi so now my office Secret Santa will be getting a mini desk cactus (well the theme is shop local and you don’t get more local than homemade).

Now away from my exciting year and back to the recipe. In the book ‘Simple Spice Vegetarian’ this is a breakfast dish. It might be a bit out there for Westerners to have curried porridge for breakfast. Personally I did enjoy the savoury breakfasts in Japan of miso soup with fish but I will eat anything at any time of day. I ate this porridge as a delicious dinner. It was a great comforting meal to enjoy after recovering from a killer cold. You can really mix it up with whatever veg you want to add.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 10 – 12 tbsp oats
  • oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 150g red lentils
  • 1/2 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 – 8 curry leaves
  • 5 cm ginger
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 200g cubes squash/sweet potato
  • salt
  • 700ml stock

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C

2.) Line a baking tray and spread out the cubes of squash

3.) Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until soft

4.) In the meantime, peel the onion and finely chop. Peel and grate the ginger. Peel and cube the carrot.

5.) In a casserole dish, heat to a low temperature, add the oats and toast gently until they start to be fragrant.

6.) Tip them out into a mixing bowl.

7.) Heat some oil and add the mustard seeds. Heat until they start to pop.

8.) Add the lentils and cumin seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.

9.) Add the curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds.

10.) Add the onion and carrot and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. In the meantime, make up the stock.

11.) Add the oats to the dish and then add the stock. Cook on a low heat for about 15 – 20 minutes until it reaches a nice thick porridge consistency. Season with salt.

Tarka Dahl

I’d been missing Indian food and this is a great mid-week meal that you can make in a slow-cooker. You throw a few ingredients into the slow cooker and leave to do it’s thing then at the end you just need to make a tarka to stir through and bring to life (a tarka is a few spices sautéed in oil), garnish with coriander and yoghurt and serve with a paratha (or chapati or some naan). I found this recipe in a slow-cooker recipe book by hamlyn. Spice it up with chilli if you feel like it!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g red lentils (dry)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2cm ginger
  • 200g passata
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper
  • 150g plain yoghurt
  • 10g coriander leaves
  • naan/parathas to serve
  • 1 tbsp oil (not olive oil if possible)
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves

Method

1.) Weigh out the red lentils, peel and chop up the onion finely, make up the 600ml veg stock, peel and grate the ginger

2.) Add the lentils, onion, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp cumin, ginger, passata and stock to the slow cooker and stir through with some salt and pepper

3.) Set to high for 2.5 hours

4.) When nearly done, chop up the coriander leaves.

5.) Heat up the oil in a pan and toast the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, garlic and turmeric until fragrant.

6.) Stir the spices into the lentils.

7.) Serve up the lentils and top with the yoghurt, coriander and serve with a side of bread.