Sunday dinner tonight will be interesting. I’ve not cooked with lentils before so don’t know how it’ll go. It’s weird not having a roast meat cooking in the oven. We find out as we start cooking that the lentils should have been soaking in water for half an hour. Great start. We’re already going to be half an hour later than we anticipated.
We also realise that we’re going to run out of potatoes if we make a shepherds pie, so decide to turn it into a hotpot with sliced potatoes on top instead. Great choice as its so yummy. And even better the next day for lunch after it’s rested overnight in the fridge. Why do things nearly always taste better as leftovers? We didn’t even miss not having mince, and will probably do this dish again. I never knew lentils were this tasty?
The baked apples were another winner, and so easy and cheap to make. We added a little bit of cinnamon which is a great spice to have in your store cupboard.
Scrambled eggs on toast or porridge
cheese and tomato on toast
Veggie shepards pie/hotpot with broccoli and peas
Brownies and orange
Shepherds Pie Hotpot
We turned this into a Hotpot as we had started running out of potatoes and this uses less
Serves 4 with leftovers
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
100g pack chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
250g pack dried green lentils
50ml red wine (optional)
800ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
For the topping
3 medium potatoes
Dash of oil
50g cheddar, grated
Pinch of salt and pepper
Firstly soak the lentils for 30 minutes to soften them.
To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan, then gently fry the onions, carrots and garlic for 15 minutes until soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then cook for 4 minutes more. Stir in the herbs, then add the drained lentils. Pour over the wine and stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage or the lentils will go hard.
Simmer for 40-50 minutes until the lentils are very soft. Now season to taste, take off the heat, then stir in the tomato purée.
While the lentils are cooking, slice the potatoes 5mm thick and tip into a pan then pour boiling water on them and simmer for a couple of minutes until tender. Drain well.
To assemble the pie, put the lentil sauce in a deep casserole dish and cover with layers of the potatoes then a little oil, salt and pepper and repeat. Heat oven to 190°C or Gas Mark 5, then bake for 30 minutes until the topping is golden.
Serve with peas and broccoli.
6 eating apples
Handful of sultanas
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Matchbox-size piece of butter
2 teaspoons extra sugar
Turn the oven on to 200°C or Gas Mark 6. Sit each apple on the work top and push the apple corer into the centre of each one.
Mix the sultanas, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Stand up the apples, side by side, in a baking dish. Using your fingers, push a little bit of the sultana mixture into each apple, using up all the mixture between them.
Add a blob of butter to the top of each and sprinkle over the sugar and cook for 20 mins or until the apples are cooked through.