Friday, 8 November 2013

LOL! Love Our Lentils :-)

Mince played a large role in my Scottish childhood: mince mixed with tomato puree; mince topped with a heap of curry powder; or, best of all, boiled mince all on its lonesome. Now, admittedly boiled mince emits a right rank reek but as a child I was mesmerized by watching as it cooled and all the fat in it congealed into white flaky lumps that mimicked the curves and dents of the grey brown viscera sat on the plate before me.

However, my relationship with mince (in all its glory and variations) did not last forever. With the onset of early adulthood I suddenly vowed never to eat mince again. To the shame and shock of family and neighbours I began experimenting with weird and exotic substances – the strangest being the lentil.

My first attempt at eating lentils was not a success – I thought they were a kind of nut and tried eating them raw… However, I quickly figured out my mistake and soon enough I was able to throw together a Dahl or a soup or indeed any kind and manner of cheap meal for every and all occasions.

So it was with a spark of delight and a soup├žon of nostalgia that I read the latest article from Stonesoup: Healthy Meals Made Easy, the cookery blog I subscribed to. The article was called 6 Reasons to love lentils, written by Jules Clancy whose aim is to make us all healthy food eaters.  Most of the recipes in her blog contain only 5 ingredients and can be made in minutes. As well as recipes there are pictures, videos and information and chat.  

And the reasons Jules gives for loving lentils are:  
1. Lentils are delicious!
For me food has to taste good above all else. I just love the earthy flavour of lentils. The trick to remember is that they need seasoning to bring out their flavour. If you’re trying to convert a lentil-skeptic, start with red lentils because they have the mildest flavour.

2. Lentils are cheap
So cheap in fact that when I took the challenge to feed myself for $2 a day, lentils were my first choice.
3. Lentils are nutritious
They’re a great source of veggie protein, fiber and also folate, vitamin B1 and even iron.
 4. Lentils don’t need soaking
Unlike beans and chickpeas, lentils don’t need soaking so you don’t need to be super organised to enjoy them.
 5. Lentils are easy to cook
All you need to do is tip them into a pot of boiling water and let them simmer until they aren’t crunchy any more. Then drain and season and they’re good to go.
          The only trick is to remember that they turn to mush when overcooked so it’s important to start testing early and keep an eagle eye on them. Red and brown lentils tend to have a small window between crunchy and mush. Puy (French-style green lentils) and Persian red lentils are more forgiving.

6. Lentils are quick
Most lentils cook in about 15 – 20 minutes. Red lentils require the least. Puy lentils (aka French-style green lentils), Persian red lentils and Beluga black lentils all take less than 20 minutes. Larger brown lentils can take up to 30 minutes but this is still much quicker than beans or chickpeas which can take hours!

Subscribe to Stonesoup: Healthy Meals Made Easy now for even more wonderful advice and recipes! Happy cooking!

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