I had a few bits and bobs left in the fridge and needed to make full use of them as student loans have still to pay me, I’m hoping by the time you read this it will all be sorted. But it is better to use up your ingredients and have a cooking session and then freeze. Even if you only have a fridge, if you have some meat or fish that would be better cooked that day, cook it, even if your not going to use it, you’ve just extended the life of it by another three days, which is why you see things like rissoles and poached salmon and fish pies on lunch time menus, they are using up the stuff and adding shelf life to it at the same time.
So I had a bit of veg in various guises along with some beetroot from the garden and it set me on a path. I was thinking of how brightly coloured they would look together and contemplated a beetroot and carrot salad and then spotted the brightly coloured red lentils,
which I have never seen quite such vibrantly coloured lentils before. They reminded me of a Chinese dish of jewelled rice pudding, long since eaten and completely forgotten how I made it – I must look it up, I remember it was very sweet and very pretty.
So I peeled and chopped up the veg, fried the onions and garlic until they were rich and full flavoured, added the mushrooms and fried until they became mahogany and glistened with their juices. Then I added the diced carrot and beetroot and fried those to reduce their natural moisture and release their sugars, like a mini roasting in the pan.
Added the sweetcorn, lentils, tin of tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, oregano, french mustard, tomato puree and balsamic vinegar and then let it bubble for forty minutes, or until the lentils are cooked. I then decanted some because there was too much in the pan, peeled some potatoes sliced thinly to top the dish with and placed in the oven for an hour, then took off the lid of the pan for fifteen minutes to allow the potatoes to colour.