How do they do it? You know, those chic City chicks in their Jimmy Choos and Prada tote bags, slung over one arm as if this accessory arrangement poses just as slight an inconvenience as high heels on the London Underground; how do they do it? I once had one of my heels stuck in the doorway of an underground train just as the doors were closing, only to have a gentleman on the platform grab hold of my leg and help free me from the potential pain and embarrassment of having my leg stuck between the doors; chivalry isn’t altogether lost..
This morning, I arrived at my office, in flat shoes, a large handbag (housing everything from a food book to a packed lunch), a gym kit and an umbrella. I looked less City-chic and more commuter bag-lady. I know my friend Rekhi is squinting at the screen in cringing agony at this latter statement but it’s true. And I still don’t get it. How do these women pull off the ‘just walked off the cover of a glossy magazine’ look? If ever I find out, I’ll promise to share. For now though, all I have to share with you are recipes and wonderful food finds. Like this one, using vitelotte (aka purple potatoes). Frankly, I don’t care if my hair isn’t fly-away free when my suppers look like this:
Purple Potato and Lentil Salad
(adapted from the ‘lentil almond stir fry recipe’ of 101cookbooks)
1 cup fresh mint
1/2 red chilli pepper, de-seeded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon juice
extra virgin olive oil
6-10 vitelotte (or small new potatoes), peeled and halved
2 cups brown lentils
12 brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
3 dates, pitted and chopped
To make the mint sauce dressing: in a blender, combine the mint leaves, chilli, olive oil, salt, honey, and lemon juice. Pulse to combine, so as to leave the mint still in chunks.
Cook the lentils in some salted water. Whilst the lentils are cooking, make the potatoes: add olive oil and salt to a pan/ cover with lid, and cook the potatoes. On a medium heat this takes up to 15 minutes. Stir frequently, once soft, turn up the heat to brown off the potatoes, giving them a slightly crisp edge. Remove the potatoes and add to the pan of cooked lentils. Next cook the brussels sprouts using the same pan, adding another splash of olive oil. Place the sprouts in the pan (single-layer), sprinkle with a pinch of salt, cover, and cook for a few minutes; until just tender, then uncover the pan and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized.
Add the lentils and potatoes back to the pan and mix together. Dish up with some yoghurt on the side, and the mint sauce drizzled over the top. Scatter the chopped dates over the salad. Best served warm.
If you are lucky enough to stumble upon purple potatoes, buy them. Just so that you can make this salad. It’s so pretty. And tastes nutty and sweet. I think pomegranate would be an awesome addition too, if you can make the effort to peel them (I never can).