We’re back from decorating the tree at the boyfriend’s parents’ place in South-West London. His dad is a fan of the ‘throw everything remotely decorative on the tree’ approach and it’s been, in the six years I’ve Christmassed with them all, a tradition of sorts to tease the poor Italian man – he of excellent cooking and loafers and immaculate grooming – for his bad taste. This year we have avoided the red heart-shaped lights, the fraying gold and maroon rope and the plastic candles so all in all I think it’s considered a win.
Predictably I am already LOATHING the thought of January. And February for that matter. Sadly for me they will consist of winter and dieting, the latter for very good reasons (busted knee, big party happening in April) but it fucking well sucks and there won’t even be any Christmas cheer around in the form of lights and constant drunken public displays of happiness to lighten things.
I’m counting down to New Year but only in terms of ‘days left of eating’. I’m doing my best to truly fatten up before the slaughter of January. All the more to delight myself with quick results. Doesn’t it go ‘the fatter you are the easier it is to lose weight’, at least at the beginning?
Right, onto the recipe, which I am typing out to the sound of In the Night Garden, currently being enjoyed by NewHuman and the boyfriend, in Italian. Well culture.
A fairly non-diet supper was consumed the other evening, albeit a relatively refined one for me. I kind of morphed my own ideas with a Nigella recipe (oh poor Nigella, whose private decision-making on all aspects of life has become public, imagine the horror if it was you) and added cavolo nero. Delicious.
6 sausages of your choosing, I chose nice pork ones. I think I do probably mean pork ones, in general.
Puy lentils, I used a mugful of dry ones
1 clove garlic
Some onion chutney, if you can
Chicken or vegetable stock – about 500ml – basically two parts stock to one part lentils
1 large glass red wine
I served mine with cavolo nero, as mentioned.
Prepare your cavolo nero thusly – basically take out the stalks.
Wash, chop into strips.
Into a pan put the chopped onion with a little splodge of oil and soften for a few minutes. Try not to let it brown.
Stir through lentils you’ve rinsed under some cold water, coating them with the oil and onion, then add the stock. Bring it up to a gentle simmer and stick a lid on, let it cook until done. Took about 40 mins for me – do NOT salt the lentils innit. Their skin will go tough and, anyway, you shouldn’t need extra salt with the stock being there and all.
Whilst the lentils get their cook on prep the rest of the stuff. See above.
You can totally cook the lentils ahead of time and then just warm through whenever you’re ready to sort the sausages. You’ll also totally have way too many lentils and, like the boyfriend, choose to take the leftovers to work for lunch. I believe he accompanied his with cottage pie. Eclectic choice.
In a big frypan just lightly brown the sausages in some oil, then add some mashed/crushed garlic and the red wine.
Let simmer till the sausages are done. The sausages will look pretty rank for ages, then all of a sudden will start to take on the colour of the wine and things will begin to appear much more palatable. Good.
When they’re cooked remove the sausages and stick in some foil, add the cavolo nero to the red wine juicy stuff and cook over a medium heat for five mins or so – basically until it goes tender. The cavolo nero will pick up all the juice so the pan will be fairly dry when done.
Speaking of dry pans, we left home at about 1115am this morning, the kettle on to boil. Got home at 530pm and the kettle was still on to boil. Oops.
Wimbledon Common was nice. Muddy, but nice.
Right, below is the finished meal. Plop some cavolo nero on the plate, then having stirred a good tablespoon of chutney and a nice squeeze of lemon through the warm lentils, add a nice pile of those on top, then some sausages, then some parsley. Crack some pepper over the top.