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Guess who’s back with a brand new rap?

I imagine, given that you’re reading this, you’ve guessed. N.B. I don’t mean ‘rap’ as in ‘rap’. Or even ‘hoisin duck wrap’. I mean ‘rap’ as in blog post (I’m paraphrasing here).

I haven’t posted on this blog for two years. ‘Why?’, I hear nobody cry. Well, since you didn’t ask, I’ve just been a bit too bloody lazy (ahem), but you’ll be both glad and fascinated to hear that since February 2015 very little has changed.

That said, having been stuck on the same contract for 25 frickin years, certain parts of my life have been offered a free upgrade. I finally managed to bag both a job and a relationship, only about five years behind most of my friends, but both of which I’m actually alright at.

But really? Nobody really wants to hear about all that shit. (If you do, I suggest going to google.com and typing in ‘‘GO HYGGE YOURSELF’). So enough smugness. Life is, essentially, the same. Take my domestic sluttery, for example. When I lived in a first-floor flat, my slovenliness was confined by four walls (how very neat!). Now I have a garden (Oh dear god do I have a garden) and, simply by doing nothing, I have created a sprawling snarl of a monster jungle that I see every morning from my window! I like to call this ‘back-seat productivity’. By sitting and thinking about doing some gardening, I have created family homes for both the skulk of foxes that plays Gladiators outside my window every night and the schoal (troop?* see below) of Sea Monkeys that have spawned inside a forlorn barbecue, left out in anticipation of just one…more…sunny…day… which never came – just another disappointment of 2016.  (Only jokin! Controversial, but 2016 was ok. Not brilliant, what with Alan Rickman and Bowie and Prince and Trump and Brexit and people pronouncing Brexit ‘Breggzit’. But it was ok. Also, just think about how rockin’ heaven is right now. I like to think that St Peter sent out exclusive invitations for an eternal party and we just weren’t invited. Just think of the gossip after that bash. ‘Did you see AA Gill flirting with Carrie Fisher?’ ‘Weren’t David Gest’s trousers just a bit too tight?’ ‘HAS ANYONE SEEN PETE BURNS AND THE DUDE WHO PLAYED R2-D2?!’)

So, in fact, if anything, my domestic sluttery is worse, and inside too. Since having a job (yep OK Grace we’ve got it), I’m just, like soooooo busy and, like, I literally don’t have time to think let alone cook. But it is kinda true. Consequently, with much help from *drum roll purleaze* Nigel Slater, simple suppers are, like, my thing yeh? And I have finally mastered the dark art of the omelette. This is where recipes like this for lemony lentil soup come in. It’s also v good for all those minging colds going round at the moment. I’ve read turmeric might have anti-inflammatory properties, but even if it doesn’t, this is so warm and nourishing it demands to be eaten on the sofa, wrapped up in a blanket, from which the natural progression is bed. And that is the way to cure a cold.

My sister made this for me the other day. So when I say it might be one of the easiest things I’ve ever cooked, it sounds a little damning, but I think she would agree. The hardest thing you have to do is chop a leek. A measly leek. You don’t even have to make stock; you just bung a cube in the pot.

Adapted from Anna Jones’s ‘Lemony Lentil and Crispy Kale Soup’

Serves 4


Photo: annajones.co.uk

  • olive oil
  • 1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds (don’t buy them specially; I’ve had this soup both with and without. Both are delicious)
  • juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 250g split red lentils (I used a half-half mixture of split red lentils and split yellow peas)
  • 1 veg/chicken stock cube (the Knorr gels are much tastier)
  • 4 handfuls of curly kale
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

To serve:

  • yogurt with a little salt stirred into it

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan then add the leek and fry until it is beginning to soften, then add the spices and mix until the leek is coated. Continue to fry for a minute or two then add the juice of one lemon and stir. Then add your pulses, 1.5 litres of water and stock cube. Bubble for 25-30 mins, or until the pulses are cooked. Stir in the juice of another lemon, and taste. Add more if you think if needs it. It should be very lemony. While this is happening, preheat fan oven to 150°C. When it is warm enough, put the kale on a baking tray, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil and the cayenne pepper and roast until crispy. Serve the soup with a dollop of yogurt and a handful of kale.

* what is the collective noun for Sea Monkeys?