Clever reader, I have a quick question for you today! What do the following dishes have in common?
Apple sauce sandwich
Boiled whole apples
Beetroot relish sandwich
Boiled red lentils in water
If you guessed that they were on the menu at Chez Elliott a few weeks ago you'd be right! I had left Mr NQN to his own culinary instincts while I was away and the poor sausage had to cook for himself and the above featured on his menu (a saving grace, he didn't invite anyone over to share it with him). Although he has easy access to takeaway and friends that offered to feed him not to mention cash for him to buy food, he decided to cook for himself. Which I thought was quite admirable...until I found out what was on the menu.
"So you just ate boiled red lentils?" I confirmed with him. "Did you add any salt?" I checked.
"Nope, but they weren't too bad at all" he said proudly.
I made him an alternative to his boiled red lentil dish once I got home. This was a soup that an Egyptian friend Mariam had spoken about at length. She waxed rhapsodic about its soothing and comforting properties and added that it was an easy soup to make - not as easy as boiling red lentils but with a chopper or processor it was not that much more difficult. It was a thick lentil soup rich in aromatic spices that was just made for dipping some charred, crusty, fresh bread into. He preferred this to his boiled red lentils but stood firm that if push came to shove, he might make his boiled red lentil dish again.
I shook my head. And yes, I did worry slightly about the tastebuds of the man that tests my food....
So tell me Dear Reader, what is the strangest or most makeshift sandwich or dish you have ever eaten or served?
Egyptian Lentil Soup
1 litre vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils, rinsed until water becomes clear
2 large onions, chopped
2 large potatoes, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon oil
3 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoons salt
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
Step 1 - Place the vegetable stock, red lentils, onions, potato, tomato, garlic, carrots and celery in a large cast iron pot with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring making sure that the lentils don't stick to the bottom.
Step 2 - Five minutes before serving, heat the oil and fry the cumin, turmeric and salt in a small saucepan, until they become fragrant. Add to the soup and season with more salt and pepper if needed and add lemon juice. Blend using an immersion blender to get a thick soup. Serve with toasted crusty bread.