Taking a break from dealing with my supernatural ability to create *&%$#@ havoc wherever I live, I made a light supper last night for a friend. It was so easy and so delicious I’m going to put it out there. Try it yourself and tell me what you think.
Chop up some butternut and sweet potato into smallish chunks, roll them around in a bit of olive oil, plonk them onto a baking tray with some freshly chopped garlic and roast at about 150 for an hour (maybe a bit longer, need to be just cooked but not soggy). Let them cool.
Boil some brown and black lentils in salted water for about 30 mins. Medium heat. Keep checking because length of time depends on how many you chucked into the saucepan (I forgot about mine until the smell of burning wafted through from the kitchen, so there was no need to drain the water off because there wasn’t any left. Crispy lentils, anyone?)
Wash and tear up some butter lettuce – this is the first layer in your dish. Slice a Spanish onion and layer over the lettuce, then the roasty veg and burnt lentils. A little bit of salt and pepper, another splurge of olive oil and a nice lug of balsamic vinegar and you’re done.
My friend also got some cold roast chicken with the butternut surprise. I like roast chicken but only certain parts, and yesterday Pick ‘n Pay only had thighs and legs so, not for me. A bottle of white wine was all else that was needed. Okay, two bottles. A simple meal to suit all tastes (barring the chicken). And there are leftovers for lunch today!
A lovely friend is in Cape Town for six months on contract so I invited her to be my first real guinea pig – as in, to have dinner with me at my own house. Rob was also invited, but obviously has eaten here many times – the difference is, he was always the one doing the cooking!
So, as I chatted to Melinda during the week about how to find my house and the best route, etc, I remembered to ask if there was anything she didn’t eat. She reminded me that she is a vegan. Oh sweet cheeses – I’d forgotten that! What she didn’t realise is that it was brave enough of me to have offered to cook for her in the first place, let alone having to cater for someone who doesn’t even eat eggs. She also doesn’t eat mushrooms or tomatoes (whole) but that’s not the vegan side of her, those are just her personal dislikes.
I was desperate. I turned to the interwebs and googled my fingers sore, until – ta da – Jamie bloody Oliver! What a genius he is. With a few minor alterations, I served lentil tabbouleh and stuffed butternut, with french bread on the side. I couldn’t find puy lentils so used black ones (they were perfect) and substituted finely chopped spinach leaves from my own garden for the tomatoes. I also couldn’t find chestnuts for the butternut stuffing (chestnuts, seriously, wtf?) so used slivered almonds instead. A couple of bottles of Nederburg Baronne and, really, it was a lovely meal and a lovely evening.
I think I’m almost ready for a full table of people now (i.e. six) so I’ll be giving some thought to that this week….heaven knows there are enough friends I owe a return invitation to, in all my years of non-cooking :)
*Only South African readers will get this reference, sorry.