Friday, 20 January 2012

Mix 'n' Match!

Saporiti Verdure e Lenticchie Miste con Couscous
Tasty Mixed Vegetables and Lentils with Couscous 

I realized this morning that I had some leftovers (again) of assorted beans and lentils- not quite enough of each to make a full meal or a decent side... but just enough to bother me! There were mung beans as well as green and yellow lentils. So I decided to mix them together and leave them to soak until I got back home from work in the evening- I thought for sure I would have had an idea of what to do with them by then!

And then suddenly, my workday was done and I was back home and in the kitchen.... starving! And worse still- I still didn't have any idea of what I was going to do with the lentils! This left me only one reasonable option and it is what I usually do in such a situation- I just START cooking and let my imagination and hunger work out something for me... and so far I have never had to go hungry!

I put the lentils onto a slow simmer, with a bay leaf and prepared the other ingredients: a fine dice of bacon, onion, celery and carrot, the remaining half of a king oyster mushroom and some crushed garlic. These went, as is usually the case when I am cooking, into a dry non-stick pan and began to brown gently.

Whilst they were taking care of themselves I prepared some couscous with finely chopped parsley, salt, pepper, a little mint and a little lemon juice. I simply mixed the ingredients together, poured enough boiling water over to cover nicely and let it fluff-up whist I got back to the lentils... and everything started coming together nicely!

It was time to start pulling things together and the next ingredients were some finely diced red pepper and the fine green beans, which I added to the lentils for the last  3-4 minutes of cooking time. I then transferred the lentils to the vegetables in the frying pan and added some fresh thyme, finely chopped parsley and mint, some cayenne pepper, ground cumin, a little balsamic vinegar and a drizzle of honey... and suddenly everything was bursting with flavor! I have found in the past, that adding the herbs and spices earlier diminishes the nice fresh flavor and for me at least- this is the way to go when it comes to lentils!

And there you have it! With a simple garnish of thinly sliced pepper and a light trickle of sesame oil, Friday's supper was rescued! And it was so delicious that it may well be repeated sometime!

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