I meant to keep up with at least one blog post per week but I just didn’t find time to do it last week, it was one busy week for me: My daughter Lilly turned six this Monday, therefore lots of baking and party organising to do. I thought I was pretty organised: a month ago, I (or rather Lilly and I) have already decided on which birthday cake I would bake for her kindergarten’s birthday celebration. I made this cake from Jamie Oliver’s website and I read repeatedly how to make this cake during the last month (!) (I was somehow quite nervous about something might go wrong on the day!) I baked the cake base the night before her birthday and next day got up extra early to finish off the cake with layer of cream and fresh orange in the middle, and the chocolate frosting. Unfortunately, the chocolate frosting didn’t turn out right (I have no idea why!), and while panicking I attempted to make another batch, but it didn’t work neither. The clock was ticking and we had to leave home to the kindergarten, so I just quickly sprinkled some icing sugar on top and hoped to get away with it. And it turned out unexpectedly, a rather beautiful little cake (see my instagram photo here). Apparently, it was delicious too (I didn’t have any of the cake because it was not gluten free. I am thinking of making a gf version soon!). So I was happy and relieved by the end of the day.
Ok, let’s go back to today’s recipe, after all this stress, I decided to make something simple and healthy plus I can make a big batch for the rest of the week! So this lentil stew is just the perfect one! This is one of the easiest and most versatile dishes one can make. There are many different ways to serve them so really you won’t get tired of it! I have first got inspired by one of my favorite food writers, Rachel Roddy @Rachel Eats, she wrote an article (with recipe) for the Guardian UK about lentils, it was so well written that I was totally enchanted by it, so from then on, I see lentil with different eyes and have been cooking and experimenting with it often ever since!
Note: I use fennel bulb in this recipe in place of the usual celery (I didn’t have any celery at home), it was surprisingly delicious as well! I add in kale here but I imagine fresh spinach will be delicious too. A soft boiled egg is definitely a well worthy addition to the dish but feel free to omit it if you prefer a vegan version. As for other suggestions for the left over lentils, I combined them with fluffy basmati rice as a side dish for some smoked salmon steak the other evening, and then pairing them with some boiled wiener sausages as a simple lunch the day after. Use your imagination, be creative!
(served 5-6) I use British cup
- Olive oil
- 1 cup green lentil (soak for at least 4 hours or over night), rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped (or 1 rib celery)
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 800ml good quality vegetable (or chicken) stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Large handful of kale, chopped (or fresh spinach)
- Soft boiled egg (1 egg per person)
- Handful of chopped parsley for garnish
Heat a splash of olive oil in a medium sauce pan, add onion, carrot, fennel and sautéed until the vegetables start to soften (about 3-5 minutes). Add bay leaves, lentil and cook for a minute. Then carefully pour in the stock. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat and let them simmer (covered) for about 15-20 minutes. Try a couple of lentils after 15 minutes to see if they are cooked, they should be al dente but not mushy. If they are still hard, cook for anther couple of minutes. Add the kale in the last 5 minutes of cooking, season to taste.
While the lentils are cooking, soft boil the eggs and when done, run them under the tap, then shelled and set aside.
When the lentil is cooked, divide them in warm serving plates and top with the halved soft boiled eggs, garnish with parsley and more freshly grounded black pepper before serving.