Day 22 – Mac gets greedy and forgets to do his maths.

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February 24, 2009 by missmegany

We will NOT be making this meal again without significant alterations. It turned into a beige soupy gruel-like thing. It tasted alright, but there was not real stand-out flavour to it.

Possible improvements/additions are marked in parentheses (and bold italics), however we did NOT try these, so I can’t guarantee that they would improve the dish.
(As for texture, I would be inclined to add chopped nuts at least to the top, if not throughout the dish OR to leave chunks of swede instead of grating it. Or both. I don’t know this is a weird dish. OR just be okay with it being soupy and serve it over rice as a dhal-type dish.)

Swede and lentil bake
Serves 4+ – It’s 38p per serving with veg oil. 46p with olive oil and stock.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients
350g red lentils (£1.26)
850ml water
2 bayleaves (1p?)
Seasoning (Mac assumed this meant stock, and added 2tsp stock – 4p)
225g swede (RIVERFORD)
60ml olive oil (4 Tbsp – 12p if veg oil)
1 medium finely chopped onion (10p if 250g)
2 sticks of finely chopped celery (skip)Nutmeg (2p?)
30ml chopped parsley (garden)
60ml browned crumbs (homemade – 2p?)
(Possible also:
EITHER: 1 tsp sugar
OR: 1 tsp mustard seed and 1 tsp coriander seed
AND: 1 tsp paprika)

Instructions
1. Place the lentils in a pan with the water, bayleaves, and seasoning (stock).
Cover and bring to the boil, and simmer for three quarters of an hour, (although if you have it at a higher temperature, you only need about half that time)
(One option to add flavour would be to start cooking onions when you first put on the lentils. Caramelise slowly adding a little bit of balsamic vinegar and/or a pinch or two of sugar to speed up the process)

Beat cooked lentils to a thick consistency. (Skip this. The red lentils will have already turned to mush by this point, so there is no need to lose even more texture. Instead, reduce down a bit more to have less liquid??)
Grate the swede (maybe squeeze out the liquid from these before adding) and add them to the lentils for the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Remove the pan from the heat.2. Preheat oven to 200C (400F, gas 6) and oil a deep dish.
(If you haven’t caramelised the onions, another option is to heat the oil and add 1tsp coriander and 1tsp mustard seed. Heat until crackling.)
Mix in the onion and celery (and 1 tsp paprika), cook until soft.
3. Add this mixture to the lentils with the nutmeg and the parsley. Put mixture in the oiled dish and smooth top. Press crumbs onto the surface and put dish in the oven for 30 minutes.

So far today we have spent:
Breakfast12p on toast, then Mac used about 4p on marmite & butter and I used jam and peanut butter which was probably 13p. (So Mac: 16p, Megan: 25p)
During work – Plus I have had two cups of tea, so that’s 8p. Mac also had two cups of tea for 6p.
Lunch as leftovers was 41p. Plus we both had a cookie 5p
Riverford: 75p

I had 46p left for dinner. Mac didn’t get my e-mail, so he used olive oil and dinner ended up being exactly 46p. That meant I didn’t get any bread. Mac, on the other hand had a big slice of bread and put lots of butter on it…. Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t looked at a final tally of his costs, and ended up going over last night by 7p.

We managed to get dessert, though in the form of some Fair Trade ginger stem cookies that I got while meeting the Secretary of State of Overseas Development (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_of_State_for_International_Development) with the Fair Trade Group. I got bullied into presenting him with a lovely Vandanamu bag by Francoise (who is actually a wonderful person, but I was more than a little hesitant to have my photo taken—there were four or five cameras there!!)

I also managed to get a cup of tea (poured as SOON as the secretary of state walked in the room—Sod/Murphy strikes again) and a flapjack AND an orange juice out of it. Excellent!

PLUS, at my WinACC meeting, I got two ginger nuts and a glass of locally-made apple juice. Finally! Fruit!

TOTAL: Mac went over with his £2.07 Megan: £2.00

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Less and Less and More is all about enjoying more, all whilst worrying about less. Whether enjoying better health because you eat less junk, having more time for friends and family because you spend less time on acquiring, or lots of other big and little things that we want more of, I look at examples of people doing more.

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