Archive for April 24th, 2009

This unusual and tasty base becomes a crispy crust that lifts easily from the flan dish when cooked.  The courgette as part of the fairly traditional filling is tasty, but as an alternative you could easily substitute small florets of lightly steamed broccoli or slices of uncooked tomato. The lentil and onion used for the base reminds me of dhal, a common accompaniment to Indian meals, but without the spices. The crust could take on an Indian flavour if dhal spices were added and a suitable vegetarian filling (or even a meat based one) could be used. Occasionally I have been asked by various schools and churches to submit a favourite recipe to their fundraising cookbook and this has appeared several times. It is a good recipe for a light summer meal and I would certainly serve this, or a variation, when entertaining a vegetarian friend.

The original recipe came from Sainsbury’s Healthy Eating Cookbooks: Beans, Nuts & Lentils by the vegetarian food writer Sarah Brown.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Courgette & Lentil Gratin
(Serves 4)

125g/4ozs red lentils
15ml/1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
15ml/1tbsp tomato purée
50g/2ozs oat flakes
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
10ml/2tsp chopped mixed herbs (sage/thyme/marjoram)
250g/8ozs courgettes, diced
2 eggs, beaten
15ml/1tbsp wholemeal flour
50ml/2fl ozs skimmed milk
salt & pepper
50g/2ozs Cheddar Cheese

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/375oF/180oC.

2. Cook the lentils in twice their volume of water for about 15 minutes, or until they are fairly soft. Beat well with a spoon, then drain excess liquid if any remains.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the onion for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 2 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and mix in the cooked lentils, tomato purée, oats, lemon juice and herbs. Season well. The mixture should be thick enough to hold together. If the lentils are a little wet, return the pan to the heat to dry them out before adding or add a few more oat flakes.

5. Press the mixture into the base and up the sides of an 20cm/8″ flan dish. It is easier to do this with your hands than with a spoon.

6. For the filling, lightly steam the courgettes for 4 minutes or until tender.

7. Blend the eggs with the flour, then add the milk. Stir in the cooked courgettes and season well.

8. Spoon the filling into the flan case. Cover with grated cheese. (Tomato slices can also be added to decorate if you wish.)

9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling has set.

10. Serve hot with jacket potatoes and salad.

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