Saturday, May 26, 2012

Master of my make believe / Ruler of my reality


I'm really into veggies at the moment. If you wanted to get all pun-ny and funny, you could say I'm "digging" them (not literally unfortunately - my poor, failed veggie garden fell flat on its arse).
Eating vegetables makes me feel good. And strong. And healthy.
Chomping on meat makes me feel sluggish.
So, with inspiration found in the form of the darling beautiful man that is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (purveyor of au naturale produce, all round charmer and vegetable crusader), I've been having a bit of fun experimenting with new ways to cook with veggies.
... I just realised I openly admitted that's my idea of fun.
Oh god.

Lentil Bolognese with Zucchini Ribbons
Serves 4 with leftover sauce

2 cups dried puy lentils
1 brown onion
3 vine ripened tomatoes - roasted in the oven until soft
2 celery stalks
1 carrot
1/4 of a fennel
5 cloves of garlic
2 cans whole tomatoes
Dried oregano and thyme  -about 1 tsp each
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Fresh basil
Feta cheese
5 medium zucchinis
1 lemon

Cook lentils according to packet instructions. Set aside.
Finely dice the onion, fennel, celery and carrot. Place in a saucepan with a few glugs of olive oil and some salt. Fry off on a medium heat until soft and translucent. Chop up the garlic and add to the pan, along with the dried oregano, thyme and fennel seeds. Fry off for a few more minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes and stir through, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the flavours to combine to create the beginnings of a rich sauce.
Add the tinned tomatoes and cooked lentils. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchinis into long thin strips lengthways. Once you've peeled all the zucchinis, place in a big saucepan, drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil and salt and turn stovetop on to a medium-high heat. Saute off the zucchinis until just soft and a bit charred. Add a few squeezes of lemon juice at the end.
Just before serving the bolognese, roughly chop up a handful of basil and stir through the sauce. Serve a large spoonful of the lentils over a nice heap of the zucchini and top with some feta cheese.

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