Saturday 7 July 2012

Middle Eastern-style lentils

Sometimes life gets a little hectic. There are so many things to do, projects to finish, people to see... It's a time when priorities are changing but I haven't quite decided how yet. All you can do is follow your instincts at this point. And be easy on yourself. I have a tendency, like my mother, to beat myself up over things left undone, treating life like one massive to-do list. This is something I am trying to move away from, because I know it leaves you feeling permanently dissatisfied, and actually the bits of life that really matter, the ones that you'll remember when you're old, are the ones in between the to-do lists. So this is my excuse for not blogging much recently. This weekend my good friend from Poland, Magda, is here, taking a breather from her massive to-do list. It's necessary to get away sometimes, to view your life from the outside and reassess what's really important to you. I will be doing this in a couple of weeks myself when I go to Sardinia with my boy LT. I can't wait. But right now, I am trying to look after myself and preserve my (seriously flagging) energy. This lentil dish from my favourite cookery book is the sort of simple, peasant food that gives you the nutrition and energy to keep going when you really can't be bothered anymore

375g lentils 
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lemon
As usual, I made amendments. The recipe called for brown lentils, I used green. I used more butter and lemon juice than was called for. Once the dish was ready, I also cracked some eggs in there and allowed them to poach nestled between the lentils, a method which I borrowed from a Portugese recipe. You fry the onion and garlic in half the butter until soft. Add the lentils and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, before adding cold water and bringing to the boil. Remove the scum from the top, season and  add the cumin. Cover and cook on a low heat for about half an hour. Add the lemon juice at the end. I served this with bulghur wheat and the eggs for lunch. Eating this kind of food makes me feel connected to humanity in a way - people the world over have been eating like this for thousands of years. Tomorrow, we're planning a Polish-style dinner with these lentils, reheated, with pork and leek sausages and garlicky mash

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