I continue to be delighted with the vegetables from my local food co-op; not only are they incredibly cheap, but I am enjoying the challenge of coming up with ideas to use up vegetables I would never normally buy. I think I have only ever bought turnips twice in the last 10 years and have now cooked them twice in as many weeks. I currently have a glut of cabbage; both this and last weeks’ were untouched in the fridge last night.
I am writing a series of easy, economical and healthy recipes of what to do with the contents of the co-op “boxes” for the Food Co-ops and Buying Groups project run by Sustain – also part of the Making Local Food Work programme funded by the Big Lottery. Here is my first, a simple tomato spiced lentil stew with cabbage stirred in at the end. I only used 3 spices to flavour it, and only the fresh ingredients from the co-op and to save on washing up it only needs one pan. I think that it will become a favourite; we had it with spicy potato wedges last night and used the leftovers as a pasta sauce for lunch today. It would also go well with rice or on toast.
Spicy Tomato Lentils with Cabbage (Serves 4)
Glug cooking oil – I used olive but any light oil would do
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper – to taste (This has a huge kick – more than you would expect!)
2 Onions – chopped
Salt and pepper
200g / 8oz green or puy lentils
1 tin tomatoes
1/2 pint vegetable stock
1/4 green cabbage
Pour a good glug of oil into the pan, add the spices and cook on a medium heat for a minute. Add the onions and fry until they are translucent. Add the lentils, tinned tomatoes ( if they are not already chopped run a knife through them in the open can a few times) and stock and give it all a good stir, put the lid on and simmer over a low heat for about 30 mins or until the lentils are soft. Give it a stir every 5 minutes or so and add some more water if it is drying out.
Meanwhile shread the cabbage, place in a sieve and wilt by pouring a kettle of boiling water over. When the lentils are done (they should be soft but still have some bite) stir in the cabbage and cook for a further 3 or 4 minutes. Serve immediately.