Monday, 29 September 2008

Dirty weekend

In the sense of getting my hands coated in lentil-burger mix, of course! The basic mix is about 50/50 lentils (soaked overnight and then boiled until they turn into a thick paste) and beans (from the freezer, given another boil to soften them up, then pounded with a potato masher. You could also do this with tinned beans.). I started out using just chickpeas, added white kidney beans at one stage because I had more of those in the freezer than I would use any time soon, and made a last batch of spicy burgers using red kidney beans. I think the chickpeas worked best in terms of holding the burgers together. I added various other ingredients - one batch of burgers had finely-chopped broccoli in, another grated carrot and the last lot just some paprika and tomato puree. This is one of those things that it is best to make in bulk - a lot of faff, not worth it for two burgers but certainly worth it for twenty. I now have two burgers for lunch today (with salad), four (burnt ones) in the fridge for use sometime this week and the rest frozen in packs of four for some other time when I feel like varying my diet a bit. I finished the burgers off by frying them, although if you were worried about fat content (lentils do absorb a lot of oil) you could try baking them. I may try egg replacer next time, due to falling-apart issues at various stages.

I have YET MORE LENTILS sitting in a sieve on my kitchen windowsill, allegedly sprouting although this is very much an experiment. I will not be devastated if I don't get to eat sprouted lentil salad at some point this week, really. I promise. (If this experiment does work, phase 2 will involve chickpeas. Everything in my life involves chickpeas at some point.)

I also did a batch of butter beans (all over the un-vegan names, d00d) and put some chickpeas on to soak until this evening. My bean saucepan is getting a lot of action. This might be because I've been eating Alpro yoghurts for breakfast most days since returning to work, meaning a whole new supply of yoghurt pots to freeze beans in.

Talking of the big saucepan... I've started collecting veg peelings and the like to make into stock. I don't have much idea if or how this will work yet, but if it gets a bit more use out of vegetable matter eventually destined for the trash (I live upstairs - no garden, hence no compost heap) it may be worth the faff. So far I have mostly carrot peelings and spring onion stalks.

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