Leftovers Lunch and Mushroom Risotto (Day 6 of The spendthrift’s challenge)

23 May

Leftovers Lunch

Luckily, today’s lunch was more of case of put all the leftovers on the plate and serve. I did make one concession to my non-cook lunch but hardly a big one. I found a large supply of puy lentils in the cupboard. If, like me, you were scarred by the experience of lentils in your childhood by the experience of stodgy orangey or green coloured mush, then set aside those thsoughts. These are in a different league. Think of them as the chic and elegant french cousin of the lentil family. They are almost like small capers in appearance, with a dark muddy green colour and a firm almost meaty texture that would please even the most ardent of carnivores. They need little to compliment them other than a dressing. I added a few cherry tomatoes and spring onions and dresssed with lemon oil. With the minimal effort of cooking the lentils over I simply re-arranged yesterdays leftover salads from dinner, alongside the odds and ends of blue cheese and feta that were lingering in the fridge, some parma ham (bought on offer a couple of weeks ago) and some chargrilled artichokes that I had found at the back of the cupboard. All served with a couple of ready to bake baguettes (my last ones) from the freezer. It couldn’t have been easier, and was the perfect day to sit in the garden to eat.

Puy Lentil Salad

Puy Lentil Salad

  • 300g Puy Lentils
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes chopped
  • 3 spring onions chopped
  • Lemon Oil to dress


  • Wash the lentils.
  • Place in pan of clean water.
  • Bring to boil.
  • Add a sprinkle of vegetable bouillon. Stir.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes until cooked. Taste to check. They should be soft enough to eat but still have a little bite.
  • Add tomatoes and onions and anything else you fancy
  • Dress with lemon oil, olive oil or salad dressing
  • Serve


I love weekends, because we can all eat together as a family. If we are staying in (which is most weekends) we tend to eat early with the children, which means we are all cleared up once they are in bed and can just curl up on the sofa with a DVD (and some wine).

I seem to have been suffering from a burst of risotto mania earlier in the year, and found the odds and ends of 3 different bags of risotto rice in the cupboard. When I saw that mushrooms were on offer at Sainsburys this week, that was tonight’s dinner sorted. The only thing is, I can’t really be bothered to stand over the stove cooking. An internet search found a simple recipe from Donna Hay for a baked mushroom, bacon and spinach version. We didn’t have any bacon to hand, so I decided to add the remaining parma ham from lunch. And we only had spinach from the freezer. This did take about 15 minutes to get going, but after that I just left it to do its thing in the oven. If you have one of those saucepans that can go in the oven, then this is a great one pot dish. It worked really well. It perhaps wasnt quite as al dente as if I had stood over it lovingly stirring and tasting it like the archetypal Italian mama, but was really very good. And, amazingly, I persuaded my son to eat spinach by putting some leftover garlic butter and grated parmesan on it. And he did!

To serve I did add one slightly decadent touch of my own, which is to add a few drops of truffle oil to the finished dish. The heady, concentrated aroma will lift the dish to another level. Although truffle oil is very expensive, it is to be used sparingly, just a few drops at a time, so it will last for ages. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I have even been known to put a couple of drops on a dippy egg!!

Mushroom, Spinach and Parma Ham Risotto

Day 6 Summary

The cupboards are thinning out as is the freezer, and our fridge has not been so bare for a long long time. Tomorrow we are out for lunch, and I have been asked to bring dessert. Not sure I can make it on the £1.92 remaining!


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