Beans, beans the magical fruit

I have always loved the poster boy of ‘Cool Britannia’ Jamie Oliver, not for his floppy hair, cute accent and retro scooter (ok, they are contributing factors) but for his passion and commitment to the idea that anyone can cook. And I think Jamie and I would agree we’re both flabbergasted when people don’t like cooking or food (remember his interview on Enough Rope with Andrew Denton?)

According to Harvard biological anthropologist and primatologist Richard Wrangham cooking is what makes us human. Heating food increases its calories so by increasing our calorie intake has had physical and social implications on us as a species (he has a great theory on how cooking led to marriage – read Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human for the full hypothesis). So to not like cooking is to deny your humanity, so climb back up your trees non-foodies and survive on your own nits and bitter berries.

Cooking makes me happy and I shouldn’t be a self-proclaimed Enjoyment Police, but seriously, what’s not to like about cooking? The amazing aromas, the tactile pleasure of cookie mixture, the licking of the beaters, the humour of your failed attempts and salvaging what you can (cover it in melted cheese if savoury, icing sugar if sweet).

So my latest culinary discovery is from Syria and it’s vegan. I was pleasantly surprised at how satisfying and filling a non-animal flesh meal could be. So here is the recipe for Fo seria Syrian Lentils (Shourabat adas if you want the proper name) – enjoy!

One cup of red, green or brown lentils (I used a tin of brown)
2 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1tsp ground cumin
juice of 1 lemon + lemon wedges to serve
olive oil
3 cups of water ( I left the water out because I used tinned lentils so it was thicker and served it with cous cous)

In the olive oil cook the garlic and onion, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer for 10 mins (longer if you are using dried lentils), when your house smells amazing it is ready to serve.