On my way home from work for lunch today, my tummy rumbled slightly - reminding me that this precious time is for eating and not just trying to fit as many blogging tasks into the space of an hour and a half. What could I have I wondered, envisioning my fridge and all the yummy ingredients inside. Except, there wasn't a whole load of yummy ingredients waiting for me upon my arrival home because we are, quite frankly, at the very end of the month. I don't know about you but this is when my cupboards are at their barest. I opened one cupboard to find half a bag of dried lentils and a veggie stock cube. Okay, I thought...let's have a rummage through the other cupboards. I managed to extract 2 cloves of garlic and two tins of chopped tomatoes from the dimly lit, cobwebbed back corner of a cupboard I rarely use.
I placed the ingredients next to each other. Right we're going to need some kind of fresh veg here. When I say fresh I mean broccoli and some rather distressed looking green beans along with three carrots that had most certainly seen better days.
Although the odds were against me when it came to how well this dish was to turn out I soldiered on. I drizzled some olive oil in a sauce pan and added the chopped garlic, once cooked I added the two tins of chopped tomatoes and two cups of dried lentils. I mixed together, checked on how I was doing for time and quickly added the chopped carrots and beans, followed by crumbling the veggie stock cube in my hand. I added about three cups of water, some salt and a sprinkle of sweet paprika and spicy paprika.
I don't do soggy broccoli. I just can't, there is nothing blander than boiled broccoli, so I pre-heated the oven to 220'c, chopped the broccoli up and drizzled it in olive oil that was left from a jar of sun dried tomatoes - the tomatoes having been devoured long ago. The oil is full of herbs and spices and tastes really yummy. (And anyway at this point I had little to lose.) I hastily shoved the tray in the oven and moved on to tidying the kitchen up, popping a photo on Instagram and hanging out the washing I'd forgotten I'd put in the machine before running out of the door for work this morning.
I made a cup of tea, (I'd say I popped the kettle on but unfortunately it's... gone to a better place. Why did you break kettle, why oh whyyyy?!) and got a little impatient, adding a drop more water here and there as lentils are thirsty little dudes.
After about twenty minutes I deemed the concoction simmering in the big steel saucepan on my hob edible and spooned it into a bowl. I added the roasted broccoli with some salt and pepper. I made another cup of tea and sat down to eat my lunch as quickly as possible, and do you know what? It was marvelous. I never use the word marvelous but this really was marvelous. The cup of tea only added to the warming, homely taste of this very simple lentil stew.
Sometimes not having much in the fridge is a really good thing, it brings out our creative side and forces us to really think about what we can make with the few ingredients we have, and sometimes, just sometimes, it is oh so very worth it and you come up with a brand new recipe you'll use time and time again.
What's in your fridge and what can you make with it? Let me know in the comments below!