Kitchen garden


Pulled back the curtains so I could water my lucky double-bamboo plant (named “Spike”), plus my little window-sill herb garden, only to discover that the charmingly-rustic wooden box the herbs were planted in had split and leaked brown water over the sill. A bit of mad-scrubbing later, and the paintwork is okay, but the herbs now don’t have a proper home. The parsley was starting to wilt a bit anyway, and whilst the fraggle-haired chives were healthy it’s not a herb I’ve used a lot of so I have to question continuing to waste water on it. So I decided just to save the glossy, fragrant basil plant (now named “Steve”) and gift him a plastic bowl of his very own to live in.


The improvement in my financial status had led me to splurge on a jar of sundried tomato paste (a luxurious £1.50). I randomly mixed some of Steve’s chopped leaves, a spoonful of sundried tomato paste, a tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt and black pepper into a bowl, which was then poured into a tray and roasted in the oven for 25 minutes. I’d had a vague idea of freezing it, and using it in a pasta dish at some point, but I spotted a “Lively up yourself lentil soup” recipe over at and went for that instead…..

Lentil & Tomato Soup

Half a white onion, finely chopped
Tin green lentils, drained
Roasted tomato sauce, as described above (or a tin of chopped tomatoes)
Olive oil
Greens of some kind (I used de-stalked, roughly-torn spinach leaves)

Pour the lentils into some fresh water and boil, then simmer for 20 minutes
Heat the oil in wok or pan, and gently fry the onion for a few minutes
Add the tomatoes, lentils in their hot water (how much water will depend on how thick you want the soup)
Cook for 10 minutes, then add the spinach
Cook for a few minutes more, then take off the heat.

The original recipe suggests serving it with a cooked egg on top, or some fried onion or yogurt. All look quite tasty.



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