Thursday, 5 May 2011

Lentil Bake with Walnut Crumble

"As is the mother, so is her daughter".  Ezekiel Chapter 14, v 44.

When I was heavily pregnant with my first child, my Mother stayed with me Monday to Friday as my husband was working in Bordeaux.  Baby (a daughter) came late and so she was a regular commuter between north London and her west country home for quite a few weeks.  There is nothing quite like a mother's love.

One evening she showed me a store cupboard standby that apparently she has been serving for years.  Strangely, but I have no prior recollection of it.  She says it came from a Slimming World recipe from the early 1980's.  Both my parent's are slim and the family joke is that this is because my father has been unknowingly on the Weight-Watchers core programme for thirty years. 

You chop and onion and some garlic and saute them in water (!), yes really, it works perfectly well, although I do tend to use olive oil.  Then add some diced carrots and some of the following; diced courgettes, red pepper, celery.  After about 5 minutes, add some tinned tomato's, some vegetable stock and perhaps a sprig of rosemary.   Simmer for 20 minutes.  Then add a tin of lentils and simmer for 5 mins.  In effect you have a lentil sauce that you can do one of the following things with;

- pour over spaghetti and cover with grated cheese
- layer with lasagna sheets adding a white or cheese sauce or just a layer of natural yogurt and grated cheese on top, pop in the oven for 20 mins.
- layer with sliced boiled potatoes with a layer of natural yogurt and grated cheddar cheese on top before bunging in the oven to brown the top.
- blend it up into a soup
- Serve it with rice and vegetables

-My favourite; top with a savoury crumble.  Rub some soft butter into some wholemeal flour, add a handful of oats, maybe some breadcrumbs, some grated cheese and ground nuts - walnuts work particularly well with this), sprinkle on the top and bake in the oven.
-or finally, freeze it.

Sometimes I also substitute the lentils for chickpeas and add a squeeze of lemon juice - makes nice soup or a stew to have with wilted spinach and couscous.

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