Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Cooking with Lentils

In amongst the chaos of the last week, which I mentioned in my previous post, I have done some cooking. I've done less blogging, partly because most of my time has been taken up by the new boy, and partly because of the continuous shuttling between houses!

Last week when I was at home, mum was planning what to make for her departmental party, which was being held here. She decided on a mozarella, tomato and avocado salad, and a couscous and roasted veg salad to use up some left overs.

I also made her a lentil and squash salad, that we found in the Good Food magazine

Unfortunately, they haven't posted the recipe online, but I shall summarize it here for you:

Peel butternut squash and chop into wedges. They think this hsould take about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours
-I cheated and peeled it once it was partly roasted, because once the squash was quite soft, it was easier to get the skin off. I also considered chopping it once it was softer, but actually my squash wasn't too bad.
-In the recipe they used 2 squash, which they reckoned were 800g or 1lb 12oz each. Our squash were about twice that size!

Also roast a couple of red onions that have been thinly sliced. You may want to add these part way through the squash cooking as they take less time.

Cook 200g green or puy lentils (or 400g if you have giant squash like I did!) according to the packet instructions and drain.

Mix squash, red onions and lentils together, and add salt.

Combine equal quantities of harissa, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, and dress when you are ready to serve.

The magazine suggests serving at room temperature or hot. It also suggests that you combine the salad with lamb's lettuce.

It would equally be good with added cheese, probably goat's cheese (always good with squash) or parmesan, and in that case, using balsamic vinegar to dress.

It was a very good salad - I didn't get to eat it at the party, but I was very pleased to have left overs when I got back from Oxford a couple of days later. So I'm submitting it to My Legume Love Affair: MLLA-13 conceived by Susan of the "Well-Seasoned Cook" and currently being hosted by Sunshinemom of "Tongue Ticklers". My Legume Love Affair is a great event! If you haven't already discovered it, I highly recommend it!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

A Celebratory Dinner

Apologies for the lack of posts for the last week. At least I can't blame work this time! I've been back and forth between my parent's house in London and my student house in Oxford about five times in the past week! It's the end of term, so I have to come home, but I've been delaying it because of the new boyfriend. Things are going pretty well at the moment, and it's been nice to be able to spend some time together in Oxford without the pressure of essays.

So I wanted to write a post about my middle sister's graduation dinner. She graduated from Magdalene College Cambridge last week, with a 2:1 in Law. We are of course very proud of her! We all (my parents, little sister, grandparents, and my middle sister's boyfriend) went up to Cambridge for the day. We started with official photos in her college, then, after lunch, we watched all the students from her college process to the building that they graduate in, and then went back to college for a champagne tea after the graduation.

Here is a photo of the procession:

We stayed for the afternoon, and then went back home, where we were serving dinner for 10 - two of my sister's friends came too. So here is our menu:

We started with champagne, and what we refer to as 'bits'. As usual in our house, we had crisps, raw carrot sticks, a sour cream and chive dip, and olives. We also served smoked salmon and sour cream on black bread, and some cheese and walnut biscuits that mum had made.

The starter was homemade gazpacho, a cold tomato soup, that we served with chopped cucumbers and peppers, and croutons. It's one of my favourite dishes.

The main course was sea bass with chive creme fraiche, baby potatoes, and artichokes. Mum found it in Gordon Ramsay's 'A Chef for All Seasons', but it's also here. Mum was a bit worried about it, because we didn't want to prepare the artichokes or sea bass in advance, but it wasn't too complicated, and tasted really good. We just served some green beans with it, as it didn't need anything else.

We did a trio of desserts: a little piece of cheesecake, After Eight ice cream in chcolate cups, and a short bread with summer berries and creme fraiche.

We then finished up with port and cheese. We drank my port from college, which I mentioned here.

All in all a lovely dinner!