Half Scottish, Half Japanese. Tempura Mars bar?

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I began writing this blog in October 2010 as a new father documenting food in his family. Before I knew it, I was in the final of MasterChef 2012. Now cooking is no longer just a hobby.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Sunday recipe: sausages and lentils

Sausages and lentils

On Saturday mornings, I like to go to the street market on North End Road. For one British pound, you can get a large stainless steel bowl of fruit or vegetables. In one bowl, I collected 15 red tomatoes on the vine, 8 avocados in another and 2 large shiny aubergines in a third. £3. It is cheap because everything is seasonal and ripe. Quid pro quo, you have to go shopping without any particular recipes in mind, be a little flexible and inventive and make sure you eat or cook everything within a couple of days. Weekends are perfect for market shopping because there is time to cook and invite friends round.

I decided to make three dips: salsa bruschetta, baba ganoush and guacamole. I dunked the tomatoes into a saucepan of boiling water for a minute so I could peel and deseed them for the salsa. I discarded the skins and chopped the flesh for the salsa, but I had some left over, as well as all the seeds and tomato juice. I didn't like to waste them so I put them in the fridge, not yet knowing what I was going to do with them, and got on with making my dips.

On Sunday, Jemma went to the supermarket for things that you can't get at North End Road market, like nappies and baby wipes. She came back with two packets of sausages which were on special offer. I now had sausaged, some lentils in the store cupboard and the leftover tomatoes. so I decided to make a recipe I initially found in Delia's Frugal Food. It has become a favourite meal because it is a tasty comfort food, cheap and quick to prepare.

Delia's recipe serves 4 and takes about an hour to make, but I think you can make it inside 30 minutes and add more lentils so that it makes 6-8 servings. The extra servings can be frozen and reheated in the microwave later in the week.

Serves: up to 8 (depending how many sausages in a pack)
Time: 20-30 minutes
Cost: About £1 per serving


2 packets of sausages
1 packet (500g) of green or puy lentils (I used half and half)
1 litre of cold water
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tin of chopped or plum tomatoes (I used my left overs)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of herbes de Provence (or mixed herbs)

1. In a frying pan, brown the sausages in a little oil over a medium heat.

1. Brown the sausages in a non-stick frying pan

2. Rinse the green or puy lentils in a sieve and put them into a large saucepan with the water. Bring to the boil then turn down to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Add to the sausages.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the sausages.

4. Add the tomatoes, sugar and herbs to the lentils. You should notice their sweet fragrance as they warm up.
4. I used half green lentils and half puy lentils.

5. By now, the sausages should have browned and the onions softened. Cut the sausages into half and tip them into the saucepan with the lentils.
6. Deglaze the frying pan with a glass of water or wine. This will help collect all of the caramelised flavours and also starts the washing up process! Add this to the saucepan.
7. Turn the heat down to low and cook for at least another 10 minutes.
8. Taste and season, but there should be enough salt from the sausages and the lentils are naturally peppery.

As I am slightly obsessed with using up left overs, I also threw in some roughly chopped red peppers for a speck of colour and extra sweetness. I think it is best served with some crusty white bread and butter, preferably cold and unsalted.

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