There’s a great salad near the beginning of Jerusalem that uses green and yellow beans with capers, red peppers, and loads of garlic. This is basically that with a stripped-down dressing and loads of lentils.
Why? Because I wanted something more substantial to go with the lamb and lemon stew, and because lentils are bloody marvellous. Especially puy lentils – the earthy taste and mottled colour is just the best.
I spent February vegetarian. There – I said it. I’m not ashamed, either, although I’m not exactly proud of the fact that I called it “Veguary”.
Given my near-sexual ecstasy at the prospect of rillettes and cassoulet, “why?” is a perfectly valid question.
It was largely an experiment, to be honest. But I do feel a bit iffy about the macroeconomics and ecology around the contemporary Western diet, and eating less meat (along with one or two other dietary shifts) seems like a decent enough first step. Mostly though, it was to make cooking more interesting.
I’ll write more about Veguary in future, I’m sure. But armed with the River Cottage Veg everyday book and a fair quantity of enthusiasm, I set about it, and I survived, and I learned a lot.
One of the main things I learned was how to make things I genuinely enjoy eating that take less than half an hour to cook. The less healthy lesson I picked up was that many of these dishes are basically just pasta with some kind of vegetable, and a metric fuck-tonne of goats’ cheese dumped over the whole thing.