I do like to have a nemesis. My previous nemeses have included bone-idle colleagues, any number of the annoying flatmates I mentioned in my last post and the entire global postal service: I just find it generally useful to have one focus for all my negative feelings. My new nemesis is not a person but a thing. This thing, in fact: my induction cooker.
It’s not the first time I’ve had to make do with one of these, but it’s the first time I’ve had one so completely incomprehensible. I mean, there’s no simple ‘Cook’ function, everything has to fulfill one of these odd little descriptions: chafing dish, fry, steam, soup, reheat or boil, and there are limited means for adjusting the temperature within each function. And my first effort on the ‘Fry’ function did this to the pan and almost started a fire. Not ideal.
This soup was the first thing I cooked, and though it worked out in the end, I was quite tempted just to throw in the towel and give up cooking for the year. But that’s the good thing about having a nemesis, it’s a marvellous motivation. Usually I’d just be whining and feeling sorry for myself. But I never let my nemeses defeat me, and so it will be with this demon. Against all odds, the soup turned out really delicious (and supremely healthy, though that was to be expected), though because the cooking process had been so stressful I would have devoured absolutely anything after all that effort.
Puy Lentil & Spinach Soup
Serves 4, from River Cottage Veg Everyday
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, cored, deseeded and diced
150g Puy lentils, rinsed
1.3 litres vegetable stock
handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
100g baby spinach
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and thyme and fry gently for 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for another minute.
3. Tip in the lentils, stir well to mix with the veg.
4. Pour in the stock, add some seasoning and bring to the boil.
5. Simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
6. Add the parsley and spinach and cook through for another 3-5 minutes.
7. Serve! (If you chill it and reheat it at later dates then you might want to add a bit of hot water/stock as you reheat it.)