Today, snowed in and with time on my hands, I ‘created’ a recipe! Well, I improvised. And it was quite good; I’d like to share it!
I was meant to be making (my own version of) a Lentil Moussaka, a recipe taken from one of my favourite recipe books, ‘The Creative Vegetarian Cookbook’. Unfortunately for me, my aubergine was a strange lurid green colour (why do they always go off!?) So, already halfway through preparing the rest of my ingredients, this is what I made instead. A humble, Jamie-Oliver-wouldn’t-be-very-impressed alternative! But easier, and tasty!
red lentils; lots of olive oil; crushed clove of garlic; red onion; pepper; courgette; potatoes; tinned tomatoes; mixed herbs (Schwartz ‘Italian Garlic’ is great in anything! A bit of a cheat, but my garden herbs aren’t weathering the winter so well!)
Sauce: butter; flour; cheddar cheese; milk; mixed herbs
(This recipe was for one. I don’t do quantities or weights I’m afraid – I just gauge it! This is why I buy M&S food for dinner parties!)
How to make it:
Cook the lentils: they take about forty minutes to cook thoroughly. At the same time boil the potatoes. While they’re simmering away, heat some olive oil in a pan. Chop the onion, pepper and courgette. Add them to the oil with the crushed garlic and some Italian Garlic. Nice and garlic-y! 🙂
A little later, add the tinned tomatoes to the pan of vegetables. Heat for a little longer (until the tomatoes and their sauce become reduced). Maybe add a bit more Italian Garlic! Slice the boiled potatoes, and fry for a few minutes in olive oil and herbs. When the lentils are well cooked and soft (but not dissolved! As often happens) add them to the main ingredients. Cook for a little longer.
Take a pre-heated oven dish, fill with the ‘Moussaka’, layer the sliced potatoes over the top and place in the oven – maybe at about 175° C. Then, make a quick cheese sauce! Melt some butter in a small pan, add flour then milk until it is nice and smooth. Grate some cheese to thicken it and stir until it bubbles. I added a little more Italian Garlic at this point (we really are immune to garlic now). Pour it over the ‘Moussaka’ and return to the oven. Let the cheese sauce melt and crispen a little – and there it is! I really enjoyed it, it tasted really nice.