I have only started cooking with lentils in recent years, as they are not really a traditional Chinese ingredient. But now I enjoy their versatility — I cook them slightly al dente for salads and I love braising them slowly to melting tenderness for Indian-style dishes. They go very well with goat's cheese, as the cheese melts into the lentils and gives them a unique flavour.
250g cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (100g) lentils
2 cups (500ml) water
Handful of basil leaves
Handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
85g marinated goat's cheese
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 160C. Place tomatoes and garlic in a roasting tin, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Rinse lentils under cold water, then drain well. Put lentils into a saucepan. Add water and bring to the boil, then turn down heat and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until tender — they should have a nuttiness to them and not be mushy. Drain in colander, then allow to cool. Combine lentils with basil, parsley and lemon juice, season to taste.
Arrange lentil salad on a platter, place roasted tomatoes and garlic on top, then finish with a generous spoonful of goat's cheese.