Sunday, October 05, 2008

Lentil & Walnut Salad

I picked up Nigella Express during the summer. Part of me didn't want to. It felt a little like she was responding to Delia's How to Cheat success, and maybe (just maybe) this book might ruin some of what I love about Nigella. But, I flipped through a friend's copy, and if you can ignore the calls for canned caramelised onions the book has some lovely, quick ideas.

Working, combined with an hour's commute (tube and a bus) mean that dinners have become much less involved than before. I absolutely rejoiced when, a few weekends ago, we had friends for dinner and I made a big Sunday dinner of meatloaf (don't knock it- it is fabulous), twice baked potatoes, minted mushy peas, spicy broccoli and cheesecake. I love cooking. I love food. I refuse to eat poorly just because I don't have enough time.

It's not even about eating poorly. I want to eat deliciously. All the time. I want to enjoy my rice crispies and cold milk in the morning as much as I love warm oatmeal and blueberries with maple syrup. I want to make macaroni and cheese the way my grandma did, and not reach for Kraft Dinner. It takes more time and effort but the result- oh the result!

I would rather spend an hour in the kitchen than an hour in front of the television. Food is worth it to me.

Having said that, I welcome any ideas that are quick and delicious. Because sometimes deliciousness on a weeknight turns into wine, cheese and crackers or wine and pizza from the Globe.

This afternoon's lunch was inspired by a recipe from Express. But I did not use canned lentils. That just sounds gross.

100g (I weighed them, see earlier post) green lentils, rinsed and cooked in plain boiling water til tender (about twenty minutes or so), then drained
50g walnut, toasted and broken up
one onion, diced and caramelised
walnut oil
red wine vinegar
one luscious clove of roasted garlic
salt and pepper

Dress the lentils while still warm. Let cool to warmish, add the nuts and onions. Taste, it might need a bit more salt.

Serve with slices of bread and gentle grassy young goat's cheese. Sharing a glass of white burgundy would not be wrong. Not in the least.

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