Here’s a gratuitous blossom shot just to get yet another post about rhubarb off to a good start. Imi and I walk under this glorious tree on the way down to school every morning and I thought I’d catch it in its pink powder-puffy prime before the rain and gale force winds set in.
I hope you’ll forgive me for returning to my pet subject but I cooked a very simple, tasty supper last night that I think you may love too. Rhubarb and lentils seem a pretty bizarre combination but you really should give this a go. The recipe comes from a good friend of mine, Celia Brooks Brown, who’s an uber-talented vegetarian food writer, cook and gardener. It’s from her book New Urban Farmer.
Pete and I did make a large dent in the lentils, but had I cooked up some rice there would have just about been enough to feed four. I was too busy collecting up the marauding snails in the garden (a head torch is mighty useful) to get around to the basmati, so we had warm flat bread instead. Served with a blob of yoghurt this makes a great, healthy and very economical supper. I reheated the leftovers and sprinkled them with some freshly sprouted lentils and radishes for my “photo shoot” today, which did spruce up the look of the lentils and added some pleasant, fresh crunch too.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
salt, black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed chilli flakes
1 handful coriander (cilantro), stalks and any roots, chopped (reserve leaves for garnish)
350 g (12 oz) rhubarb, cut into chunks
150 g (5 oz) Puy lentils
600 ml (1 pint) vegetable or chicken stock
1 – 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
To serve: steamed basmati rice or flat bread, yoghurt, coriander leaves and maybe some freshly sprouted lentils or beans.
Heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat and then add the onion, celery and carrots with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir from time to time and, once softening nicely, add the garlic. Stir in the spices and the coriander stalks (and roots if you have some) and cook until sizzling and spicy, 2-3 minutes.
Add the rhubarb and lentils and turn up the heat. Pour in the stock, give it all a stir , bring up to the boil and then turn down and simmer gently until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in 1 tbsp sugar. Balance the seasoning (you may want more sugar). Continue to simmer gently until the lentils are soft and the rhubarb has collapsed, about 10-20 minutes.
Serve up in warm bowls with the rice and/or flatbread, yoghurt, plenty of coriander and perhaps some sprouted bits too.