Roasted vegetable and lentil jumble: if the thought of a vegetarian dish leaves you shaking and pulling at the hairs on your arm at the thought of a meal without meat, then have a bloody word with yourself young lady. This is delicious. A wonder. A treat, if you prefer. We weren’t convinced on lentils but a friend of mine has seemingly been making a lentil dish for the last twenty-eight weeks and honestly, hearing the word lentils over and over and over and over – well, something sunk in. But anyway, whisht yer gob, I’ve got things to say.
A couple of pieces of housekeeping before we get to the chat and the recipe. Firstly, I need to show you this:
We wanted something for the house that represented our twochubbycubs story – and also, I want something to show Paul when he says that he doesn’t make stupid faces when I want to take a photo of him. We asked local artist and mega-DILF Tom Owen to come up with what we would look like in the future (me forty years, Paul forty minutes) and this is what he came up with – and we adore it. He’s really captured everything you need to know about us: Paul does the cooking and has a face that could stop a clock, I’m the one behind him holding a knife with scant regard for anyone’s welfare and setting his hat on fire for giggles. If you’re looking for something unique, or some stunning prints for your home, please do give Tom a follow on Instagram – the fact that he’s fit as all outdoors is, for once, not swaying my recommendation of what an absolute legend he is. Honestly, give him a follow and check out his work: he deserves every single success.
The other piece of house news is this:
What better way to celebrate being back in the house than to have your logo created in neon almost two metres across and attached to your otherwise very Hun-grey kitchen wall? We wanted something to finish the kitchen off, and after trying a fire, what else was there? We hadn’t appreciated quite how bright it is – if I turn it on, my cigarettes light themselves before I get a chance to fumble them out of the packet. Also, as you pull into the street, you see the word CUBS light up in glorious neon as clear as day. It’s like we’re running a gay nightclub and I adore it. I am conscious that, should the days ever commence when we get trade over, we’ll need to turn it off – don’t want to run the risk of my gobbling lips becoming the focus of our next cookbooks. Though I promise that if such a thing does happen, we’ll call the book ‘Easy to Swallow’.
Anyway, that’s enough of me and my braggadocio ways: let’s turn to the important matter: I’ve had a haircut! Now I know what you’re thinking, James, you’re beautiful as you are, and any haircut is going to be as irrelevant as chiselling a more defined six-pack into Michelangelo’s David. And naturally you’re right, but you must understand that this represents a major point in my (and I feel I speak for the nation here, too) fuck-off-COVID journey. Before someone sneezed and the world wiped spittle off its face, I used to go for a haircut once a week. It was my one slight indulgence, amongst the myriad of others. That hour spent in a chair trying not to look at myself in the mirror was one of peace, serenity and wondering whether the fact my barber had just rested his balls on my hand whilst he set about threshing my ear-hair was a mistake or a come-on. I looked forward to it. Hopefully they did too, though I imagine there was an element of despair that they’d spent an hour shaping my beard and plucking my nose hair and setting my eyes on fire and giving me a sick-fade-bro only for me to look down into my wallet to get a tenner out and look back up with a face that looked like a boiled egg rolled in the contents of a hoover bag. Seriously, my hair grows so quickly that it’s a genuine surprise that my eyelashes don’t dreadlock together when I blink.
Of course, with COVID restrictions, health anxiety and my general apathy to moving away from my computer chair it was always going to be an exercise in nerves, and certainly, it didn’t get off to a good start when I peered into the window and spotted my normal barber had either died or called in sick. I’m not one for dramatics so let’s assume he’s died of a broken heart. However, in his place was another chap with brown cow-like eyes and altogether too much FM-World-Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male and what can I say, I’m literally a sucker for a man who could pin me into a barber’s chair and hold a blade to my throat. He actually didn’t even give me a choice, he shouted ‘bossman’ at me through the window and beckoned me in.
He did a cracking job too – I like to tell them to do whatever they want (in the forever vain hope it’ll lead to shenanigans) and then, after a bit of small talk, shut my eyes and drift off. I’m not one of those socially awkward people who can’t handle a conversation with a stranger and one of my favourite things to do is change my profession every time I go in and see how long I can carry on the ruse for (which got me into trouble once when I had to bluff my way through real estate law). But, at the same time – and especially now people are wearing masks – I can’t make out what people are saying, and even more so when you’re looking into their earhole. So there’s a lot of ‘pardon’ and ‘excuse me’. Plus, I do hate being asked for my opinion on something whilst someone is holding a straight-edge razor to my lips. I’m an animated story-teller at the best of times so if you ask for my opinion on whatever hot-topic is in the news at the moment, I’m liable to come out looking like him out of Hannibal who cut his lips off. Luckily, conversation stalled as soon as he asked about my girlfriend and I laughed gaily and told him about my twenty-stone husband. You don’t know him, he’s standing behind 30-stone-Paul.
Despite me nuking the conversation by confessing to being a touch light in the loafers, he didn’t skimp on the attention and a wonderful hour was had by both. He had to ask me to stop polishing my glasses under the blanket a couple of times but that’s standard. I do hate the last five minutes though – you think he’s done, and suddenly there’s a lotion being slapped on the shaved bits, or some bright blue unguent scooped from a bottomless jar slathered into your hair. I made to get out of the chair so many times that he must have thought I’d developed an essential tremor. Turns out the final flourish was to hold the mirror up behind me so I can look at what he’s done to the back of my head. I’m mystified by this: he’s cut all the hair off, what is he going to do if I shriek and say it’s not what I wanted? Run a Pritt-Stick over and try and sweep my back hair upwards? Anyway it doesn’t matter, he could have written ‘yer ma’s a tart’ on the back of my skull in bright pink Sharpie and I’d still smile like Julia Roberts accepting her Oscar and say what a terrific job he’s done.
Naturally, I didn’t miss a chance to embarrass myself, lest you were concerned that my return to normal society had gone without calamity. When it came to paying I asked how much I owed and he mumbled ‘forty’ from under his mask. I was aghast and with all the polite Britishness that I so embody, I replied with a ‘how fucking much?’, doing a full clutching my heart theatrics whilst I did. He clarified that it was fourteen pounds, which in retrospect did seem altogether more reasonable, and I paid and cut a quick dash. Tune in next week to see how else I can make a tit of myself, won’t you?
Oh! Thinking about it, I don’t think I was so out of line being shocked by the price. The barbers does have a photo of Drake in the window and frankly, if he can lure multi-millionaire Canadian rappers to Bedlington, then he must be shit-hot.
Speaking of shit-hot, shall we do this recipe? I can confirm that this roasted vegetable and lentil jumble is a thing of beauty. You might be looking at it thinking that it’s going to leave you farting like a brewery horse and indeed, that’s correct, but trust me with this one: it really is tasty.
Oh I know, for a roasted vegetable and lentil jumble that looks pretty damn good doesn’t it?
If you’re stuck for a lunch idea, try this roasted vegetable and lentil jumble – it keeps ever so well! But don’t keep it waiting too long though: everything has a limit.
roasted veg and lentil jumble
Yield 4 servings
Yeah as I was saying in the paragraph before where I always forget that I need to write this bit too, it's a thing of beauty. With all roast vegetable dishes you can add any old shite into this: it's not a taxing matter to make it your own. Also: if you're thinking that's a lot of cheese and perhaps you should cut back, then frankly if that is the case, then you can go to hell. More cheese, always. It serves four.
A reminder that we're all about calories now: but if you're still following SW, you'll find the syns are low enough! We use the NHS calorie checker to work it out - so it's a rough estimate!
Oh we drizzled it with basil oil (olive oil mixed with basil - Internet readers hate us!) because we're that kind of wanker now.
- 2 aubergines - 120 calories
- 2 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 red onions
- 250g baby plum tomatoes, halved
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 100g harissa paste
- 160g reduced fat feta cheese
- 1 lemon
- 1 bunch of coriander (see notes)
- 2 tins of lentils
- 1 handful of flaked almonds (optional)
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- first, preheat the oven to 200°c
- chop off the ends of the aubergines and then slice in half
- slice each half into four long strips, then cut widthways into roughly 3cm chunks
- chop the sweet potatoes into 2cm chunks (no need to peel)
- peel the onions and roughly slice one, then chop the other into wedges
- add the sweet potatoes, aubergines and onion wedges to a large baking tray and spray with a little oil
- drizzle over the harissa paste and mix well by hand until everything is well coated, then spread out into an even layer (use two trays if you need to)
- bake in the oven for thirty minutes. At the halfway point turn the veg and add the tomatoes to roast for the remaining time
- meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat (dry, no oil) and add the almonds
- cook for a few minutes until toasted, approximately 2-3 minutes, then tip out into a bowl
- next, squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl with the coriander, a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp of olive oil, and mix well
- put the frying pan back over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
- add the sliced onions to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally
- add the garlic and cumin to the pan and cook for another minute, then add 150ml cold water to the pan and stir well
- crumble in the stock cube and stir again, and leave to cook for a minute
- drain and rinse the lentils and add to the frying pan, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat
- add the roasted veg to the pan and stir until everything is mixed
- serve onto plates, crumbling over the feta and sprinkling with the almonds, and finally finish with the herby drizzle
- we think coriander is rank, and if you do too then you're our kind of person. Feel free to do what we did and swap it out for a basil instead, it's just as tasty (if not better)
- not a fan of feta? Goats cheese or even dollops of philadelphia will do the trick here - and might save you some calories too
- lentils are cheap, tasty and bloody brilliant at making dinners go further. If you're not a fan please do give this a go, we reckon we're about to change your mind!
- we've used some oil for the dressing and reckon it's worth it, but if you really are being tight with the syns feel free to chop the basil up and simply sprinkle it on top. We won't judge you!
- we couldn't be prouder of our second book: it's technicolour, the recipes are banging and the reviews are amazing: order yours here!
- if you're struggling for funds, the first book is a bit cheaper and still utterly glorious: click here to order
- we've also got a planner: here
- no fancy tools needed for this one, but of course it wouldn't be a recipe without us mentioning our most favourite kitchen gadget - the Microplane. It's almost like it makes the garlic melt away!
Want some more veggie recipes? You’ll find loads by clicking here and, if I may suggest this beauty? Click the picture to go straight to it!
Stay safe and well, all.