This is a post about change.
As I get older there are things I do nowadays that I never envisaged would be a part of my life. Like going to bed early so I can listen to Radio 4 and read a book or doing the washing up before I go to bed.
There are things that I eat now that 5 years ago, I would have told you I would never eat. Tomatoes, quinoa, porridge and lentils.
Over the past year and a half, lentils have become a staple in my diet. Before that I wouldn’t have known what to do with them. No that’s not true, I knew the theory of how to use them in cooking but because I never did, I couldn’t see them ever being a part of my cooking life, like say pasta was.
Over the last year though, I’ve mostly stopped eating pasta (just blame Jem!) and there are currently 3 different types of lentils in my kitchen.
It started slowly with lentil soup, it was easy to make, cheap (I wasn’t working at the time) and filling. Then Matt told me that his favourite lunch was green lentils with roasted veg and I thought, that sounds good. Before I really understood what was happening I’d bought and used a whole packet of lentils and bought another.
Then I started to cook a couple of cups at the beginning of each week, so there was always a supply of ready to use lentils and I was eating them practically every day. In salads, as a side dish, in soup, in scrambled eggs. You name it, I was probably adding lentils to it, just to see.
Then last July, in the Guardian, Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall talked about sprouting lentils and another lunch time salad was born.
I did a bit of research (ok, I googled it) and according to the internet, sprouting lentils makes them a complete protein. It also completely changes their texture (as opposed to cooked lentils) and feels more like a salad. I have seen recipes for soup and bread and things that use sprouted lentils instead of cooked ones but I have just stuck to having them as a salad and adding them to a stir-fries.
Sprouting them couldn’t be easier.
Soak them in cold water for 12 hours. Then give them a rinse in a colander or sieve and set that over a bowl. Basically, they shouldn’t sit in the water. Cover them with a tea towel (they need air so no clingfilm). All you need to do then rinse them morning and night until they have a decent size ‘tail’ on them. For me that’s 2 days (start on Monday night with the soaking and they’re ready to eat on Wednesday). They keep in a bowl in the fridge for about 5 days.
Sprouted lentil salad.
This is isn’t really a recipe this is just my favourite way of eating these lentils, I have been trying to make sure that I eat two to four servings of oily fish a week. Tinned mackerel is another thing I never thought I’d like but I do now. (I’m finding that it helps my dodgy arthritic feet and PMT, omega-3 is marvellous stuff!)
1 tin mackerel in olive oil
1 cup sprouted lentils
Any veg you fancy, I like a handful of roasted tomatoes, half a pepper, cucumber and/or mushrooms
Chop the veg, drain the fish.
Throw everything in a bowl. Add dressing and parsley (for me that’s half lemon juice, half olive oil and salt and pepper). Eat