Hey guys, sorry for the radio silence this week. It’s been a teeeny bit manic! In between having a big deadline at work, and arranging completion on my new home (woop!), in my spare time I’ve just, you know, casually decided to embark on a battle with retail giant B&Q, in a debacle that’s become known to my family and friends as #paintgate. If you’re curious, head over to twitter to see what’s been going on, but basically this has kept me fairly busy, and involved me doing things like reading ‘the Sale of Goods Act 1979′ on my morning bus journey to work – nice!
In all the midst of this, my evening meals have been a bit, um, deconstructed (read: lots of ham and cheese!). So this weekend, with K jetting off to America for work and me in desperate need of a rest, I decided I’d dedicate two whole days to completely chilling out. And in my world, a weekend like that starts with a trip to an amazing market.
In the course of my career making documentaries, I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the greatest markets in the world. I’ve eaten blood lollipops in Taipei’s night markets, feasted on coconut pastries in Madagascar, and taken evening strolls through Tehran’s magnificent bazaars.
Brixton Market. Photo credit: Karin Bultje, used under a creative commons licence.
But since I moved back to South London in November last year, I’ve been taking advantage of the fact that just 20 minutes away lies one of the most vibrant markets in the world: Brixton Market. In this incredible melting pot there are dozens of different communities selling their wares alongside each other. But what’s most amazing of all is that they’ve obviously been doing it for so long that the lines have sort of… blurred. Walk into any shop in Brixton Market today, and you’ll be able to find everything from Persian dried limes to Caribbean fu fu, right next to each other on the shelf, and everything else in between. I like to think I know my ingredients, but I swear, most of the time in these shops I don’t even know a third of what I’m seeing. As a die hard glutton, it makes you want to try it all…
Today, one of the things I picked up was a rather unusual golden coloured Colombian sausage. It contains a really beautifully spiced mixture of beef and pork, and I used it to make this sausage and lentil casserole. It’s actually a recipe I’ve been making for years, and the beauty of the recipe is that you can swap in whatever sausage you have to hand. So use your favourite sausage, get your butcher to recommend something, or maybe even explore your nearest market and see what exotic wonders you can find…The end result is the perfect comfort food for a lazy weekend, and I hope it brings you as much joy as it brought me this afternoon!
- 400g unsmoked back bacon
- 8 sausages of your choice
- 1 large onion
- 300g green lentils
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 2 large carrots
- 2 ribs celery
- 1 bay leaf
- Handful chopped parsley
- Using a sharp knife, chop the sausages into inch long rounds, and dice the bacon roughly. Don't worry if the sausage rounds spill out of their skins a little.
- Place the sausages and bacon into a deep, heavy casserole along with a glug of olive oil, and heat over a medium heat. Cook until they both colour lightly.
- Meanwhile, slice the onion finely and add to the pan. Cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent.
- Roughly dice the carrots and celery and tip them in, cooking until they have softened slightly. Then add the lentils, bay leaf and the stock.
- Bring the pot to the boil, then turn the heat down to simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Once the lentils are fully cooked but still al dente, season, add a handful of chopped parsley, and serve.