I haven’t written anything ‘foodie’ for a while, in fact I haven’t written much at all on this blog for a while as with good weather recently I found myself out and about with a camera and making time to put the results on grumpytykepix. But knocking together a meal with what was in the fridge last night, I thought it might be worth a post.

Steamed mixed vegetables in a tomato and lentil base, with plain rice

Steamed mixed vegetables in a tomato and lentil base, with plain rice

I’ve always enjoyed creating a meal with whatever happens to be around, using up all the bits and pieces left over from other recipes. I particularly like doing it for a vegetarian dish as without a bit of thought these can so often be rather boring. I got used to eating vegetarian (or more correctly vegan) on Wednesdays and Fridays when living in Romania, as usually on these days Romanian followers of the Orthodox Christian faith keep fast and so do not eat animal products. I don’t keep it now for any religious reason but I’ve found it advantageous to interrupt the meat a couple of days a week.

So, I found a handful each of green beans, sugar snap peas and ‘mange tout’, together with the remains of a cauliflower, a long red sweet pepper and half a can of chopped tomatoes in the fridge. There’s always an onion and garlic around, lentils, rice and pasta in the cupboard, and the usual herbs and condiments.

So, I boiled up a couple of handfuls of red lentils for protein – 10 mins fast, 20 mins simmer then strained. The finely chopped onion was sweated in olive oil then the tomatoes added and cooked for about 15 minutes with a low salt Kallo vegetable stock cube, freshly ground pepper and some parsley, oregano and a bay leaf. A splash of boiling water was added to keep it moist while cooking. Five minutes from the end the red pepper, cut into 1inch long strips, and two cloves of chopped garlic, were added to the tomato base. Meanwhile, all the other vegetables, cut into small (1 inch) pieces, were steamed for about 12 minutes, the tomato mixture taken off the heat then the lentils and the steamed vegetables carefully stirred in.

Pasta or rice was a last minute decision, either would be fine but I opted for rice – just plain boiled long grain with a little salt in the water. A crisp, chilled mixed salad and crusty wholemeal bread went with it perfectly.

My wife’s conclusion? “Delicious”, and it was. Very fresh tasting with the flavour of each of the individual vegetables coming through.