One of the nicest things about having holidays with your children is that you can do the little things together that you normally don’t have time for. Such as cooking. If you bring out a variety of vegetables and herbs to be chopped or sliced, you can almost guarantee that the little ones want to have some part of it. In part because it involves using a sharpish knife which is a no-go zone the rest of the time but also because it can imbue a child with a sense of pride for helping out with a meal.
This lentil salad was lovingly prepared by my daughter and her friend and the pleasure they got out of chopping coriander into tiny pieces was a joy to see. Side by side, chopping board and sharp knife at the ready, they sliced, chopped and tailed everything we put in front of them. I can’t say that they also ate the lentil salad once finished but perhaps the concept of a salad made of lentils will one day be of interest, coupled with the hands on experience of using fresh ingredients in its natural state. It is all about being exposed to the right things at an early age and subconsciously, as by osmosis, they may want to emulate one day what they absorbed all those years ago. At least that is my theory.
In any case, the adults thoroughly enjoyed the fruits of their labor and hopefully you will too.
Summer Lentil Salad – serves 8 (small portions or 6 large)
1/2 pack of puy lentils, thoroughly washed
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
Large glug of good olive or rapeseed oil
Large bunch of fresh coriander, chopped finely
4-5 ripe tomatoes, chopped
Olives (we only had the green ones and that was very yummy)
2 salad onions, chopped
3 limes, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Pour oil into pan and add the garlic whilst heating gently. You don’t want burned garlic. Season with salt/pepper/oregano. Once softened add the washed lentils and stir into the oily garlic mixture for a couple of minutes followed by hot water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 25 – 30 minutes. Check regularly to see if you need to add more water to the pan, the lentils swells quick. Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and let cool for about an hour, alternatively you can cool and then keep cooked lentils in fridge for another occasion. Once cooled, chop the coriander, tomatoes, onions, olives, juice the limes and mix all into the lentils, stir and season some more if you like. At this stage you can also add other herbs, such as parsley, if you want to. It’s all good. Serve and enjoy! x