Friday, 4 March 2016

Plum, Lentil and Ham Salad - And A Book Review

Who are your fave cookbook authors?  I love Nigella and have most of her books.  I also really like Alison Holst, Belinda Jeffery and today's book review victim Nigel Slater. We were visiting the National Library on the weekend to see the current Celestial Empire exhibition, and of course I couldn't resist the library shop. 

I love this cover 

On a small table by the entrance, they had some specials including this book of Nigel Slater's called Notes From The Larder.  There is something about his prose that I just love.  And I can hear him in my head when reading it; that wonderful, distinctive voice he has. So I flipped through to September looking for autumnal recipes, and found this chunky, zippy salad.  Just what you need on a night where Summer is coming to a close, but still lingers in the air.

Serves 2


1 cup small green lentils - about 200g.

1 tbs olive oil

1 cup fresh mint, chopped

2 cups fresh parsley, chopped

1 cup fresh coriander, chopped

2 spring onions, finely sliced

200g. plums

150g. seedless grapes, red or green

80g. walnuts, chopped

juice of a large lemon

3 more tbs olive oil - I used 2 of olive and 1 of smoked olive oil

1 tbs raspberry (or another slightly sweet) vinegar

1/2 tsp lightly dried chilli flakes

salt and pepper to taste -  I added some smoked salt also

100g. ham, prosciutto or your fave meat, diced or chopped


Rinse the lentils, then boil rapidly for about 35 minutes till tender

Drain and rinse quickly under cold water

Tip them into a mixing bowl and stir the olive oil through them

Throw in the chopped herbs and spring onions

De-seed and chop up the plums

Into the mixing bowl they go with the grapes and nuts

Squeeze over the juice, add the extra olive oil, vinegar and seasoning

Stir everything together gently

Fold the diced meat through the salad

soak then rinse your little green babies 

into the pot, stir and boil rapidly till tender            

gather your ingredients    

add the oil to the drained and rinsed lentils     

get snipping!    

stir in all the other ingredients et voilà - autumn salad for dinner 


Soak the lentils in cold water before boiling if you remember or have the time.  Even a short soak helps reduce cooking time

To chop the herbs easily, place them in a narrow bowl and snip with kitchen scissors

I love the prose in this book, and I am going to enjoy reading it like a novel.  I will have to try more recipes before I am sure of Nigel's culinary good intentions though.  To be honest, I felt this salad was a bit masculine. I know, it sounds odd but there was something very manly about it.  You would never mistake this book for one written by a female author.  It has the feel of a pipe and tweed-infested chap smoking by the fire.  

The photo accompanying his recipe looked more like nectarines and corned beef, and the amount of lentils and herbs looked suspiciously under.  There is also a dressing not mentioned in the recipe.  So I am not sure what is going on here.  There are lots of other interesting recipes I want to have a go at, and I want to check if they are more my style of eating.

I varied Nigel's recipe a fair bit to suit our tastes.  His recipe called for twice the amount of lentils; nope too much for us.  He didn't suggest any seasoning or the vinegar, and I upped the amount of oil added at the end.  I also decided to add the grapes for sweetness as the plums were very tart.  And I added the nuts for crunch, and the chilli for a bit of zing.  We ate it, we enjoyed it, but I wouldn't rush to eat it again.  Just so you know :=) 

my grapey foodle  


  1. I've never thought to put lentils in a salad. I think I would like them more with a bit of crunch to go with them.

    1. Yes the nuts are essential Stella. I am glad I thought to add them for crunch.

  2. I'm trying to think whether I've heard his voice but I don't think I have so I'll have to look it up. Aren't lentil salads great? This sounds like a really super one.

    1. It turned out well once I had zinged it up a bit. :). He has a great voice.

  3. I love lentils in salads. Frankly, I love anything in a salad. This looks wonderful!

    1. it tasted good and healthy. tho it was a bit of a mystery regarding the photo which seemed to be almost another salad altogether:)

  4. Oh, yes - sexist voice on TV is what I say about Nigel Slater - and love his food too:-)

    1. Good to see you back Rachel. Yes he has the best voice.

  5. I like Nigel - very laid back. I enjoy his writing too. Used to always clip his recipes out of the Weekend Guardian when we were in the UK.

  6. I think Nigel Slater is pretty cool and I've only really become familiar with him in the past year. I need to start getting some of his books.

    1. i really feel the need to try more of his recipes before giving a verdict on his food style. i love the prose so that makes up for a lot. not entirely sure of his recipes - yet:)


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