Tuesday, November 13, 2007

13.11.07: Lentil and Vegetable Stew

Compare the image above with the one on the right and you can see that things are starting to happen at the Pullens Centre. One of the residents - Simon - repainted the woodwork downstairs on the side of the building that faces into Iliffe Yard in order to smarten the place up before the open weekend at the end of the month, when the Centre will be the venue for a community art exhibition. Simon wasn't prepared to erect scaffolding and tackle the upstairs and so the chaps from Makers - the contractor responsible for the external refurbishment of the estate - were persuaded to take the job on themselves. They've also brought forward the redecoration of the frontage so it too will look good for the Open Yards weekend.

What's more, you'll notice the white van in the photo belonging to OCO, the heating engineers contracted to Southwark Council. The boiler at the Pullens Centre hasn't worked all year, despite the attentions of various chaps at various times. Now, however, its been replaced with a brand new one that actually dispenses hot water on demand! Yay! Now we can retire the energy-hungry urn we've depended upon for hot water this past month.

Today, Lou made a lentil & vegetable stew that went down very well, with comments in the log bok that included: 'Really delicious soup, thank you!' 'Yes it is, Ta!' 'Simply the best' (or should that be beast?) and 'a true tummy treat'. 21 bowls were served.

Lou used 2kg of brown lentils which were soaked over night. Lentils don't necessarily need to be soaked in advance, but it reduces the cooking time and - according to some - soaking one's lentils and discarding the soak water before boiling them in fresh water reduces 'gaseousness' a.k.a. 'fartiness'.

I wasn't watching when this chunky lentil soup was made, but I'd guess that Lou boiled the lentils separately while frying onion and garlic in the bottom of the soup pot, to which she added coarsely diced potato, carrot and leek. I daresay she continued to the veg. for ten minutes or so before adding the lentils, covering with stock and cooking for at least half an hour, garnishing the soup with chopped parsley as it was served.

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