Three is the magic number, yes it is, it’s the magic number. This is also Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s mantra for his latest book: “Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate”. For my twentieth week of new recipes (although it’s my 22nd new recipe) I decided to use a new book, rather than cook something fancy from one of the books I’d already used; so I reached for Hugh!
The recipe uses lentils, vegetable stock, cooked potatoes, garlic, curry powder, spinach and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, and as usual it provided a number of firsts for me.
The first first, I had never cooked more than 25g of lentils before in one go. My second first, I had never wilted anything – other than a bunch of flowers in my life. It’s all go here.
I got the lentils on and they soon broke down into what the book calls a “dhal”. I didn’t know what one was before cooking this – but I’ve got my eye on a few others already! I fried the potatoes, added the garlic and curry powder and then added these to the lentils.
Then before serving, I wilted the spinach in batches and added it to the rest and stirred it round with some lemon juice (the second time I made it I used lime and I think I preferred lemon)
Served on some wholemeal pittas (as usual I completely forgot to buy in any salad) it was delicious. I never though I’d like a plate full of lentils, but I wolfed it down.
There is a sting in the tail though… it’s a really smelly dish to cook. Casa-del-Crump is only a little apartment, and the whole place smelled of fried potatoes. I had to scrub everything down, febreze the soft furnishings and wash the towels to get rid of the smell.
Obviously it needs the crispiness of the fried potatoes, otherwise it would be like eating a strange leafy porridge, and suffer from “risotto syndrome”, which would be a shame. Maybe I could sauté the potatoes instead, or use a different oil? Until I’ve worked out a solution I’m not cooking it again, even though I really want to!
Hugh’s Three Good Things on a Plate by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Bloomsbury 2012, ISBN 9781408828588)