Sunday, 26 June 2011

The distance you have come: Harissa lentil salad

My second lentil based post in a week. Clearly they're like buses.

I really love the music of Scott Alan, his music allows one to be contemplative and is often what I listen to when I'm feeling low. Late last year when I was verging on homeless and things weren't great, friends Louise and Karen suggested listening to The distance you have come and it really seemed to sum up what I was thinking.

Anyway, this week I've left my job of nearly five years working for a local authority, for an opportunity to develop my skills and take some new chances working in the Learning Disability sector. It's a big jump, scary and exciting all at once and I hope it's going to afford me the opportunities for happiness at work, which in turn will mean for more settled, less emotional blogging. Fingers crossed and all that.

So this was my last week of work - as always Sunday night found me up later than planned, multitasking in my pyjamas: breaking in new shoes I wanted to wear on Monday, making lentil salad, talking to Mark on the phone - all of which I did with aplomb and finnesse, surrounded by a lot of wet washing (what IS up with the weather lately?). The lentil salad was another I'd offered to test for Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and I'm pleased to say it was without the drama of the spicy tomato lentils.

It was surprisingly low faff, and easy I popped half a cup of lentils into the stock in my big pan and let that reduce down for just under half an hour, then added chopped cucumber, finely shredded greens, red and green peppers, and some mushrooms (I like my lunches to be as good for me as possible - it justifies afternoon cake). I stirred this in until the greens had wilted, and added the amazingly scented harissa powder, lemon zest and juice and a tablespoon of olive oil. Suddenly what had seemed fairly plain and ordinary was lifted into something extraordinary, fragrant and lightly spiced, with the zing of the lemon behind the harissa. I'm really looking forward to trying it for lunch tomorrow, but I have to say, tasted from the pan in my pyjamas and heels I give it a thumbs up.

The recipe is here, and I think really flexible - as you can see I upped the veggies considerably, and you could easily change them for ones you like -I just used what was lurking in the fridge.

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