Lebanese style rice and lentils is one of those unassuming, simple meals that delivers a lot of comfort, flavour and sustenance.
My recipe was inspired by the real deal - the much loved Lebanese dish, Mujadara. There are variations of it found throughout the Middle East, but the fundamental elements are always basmati rice and lentils, cooked together with aromatic spices, and served with a generous layer of caramelised onions on top. Sometimes other toppings are added. Creamy sauces like Hummus, or Tahini sauce, go wonderfully. Pomegranate molasses can be drizzled over it, or fresh Pomegranate seeds. My version calls for fried pine nuts, fresh herbs and currants, but it's more a suggestion than a rule.
It's the perfect simple meal on its own, or as a side with other dishes like shawarma chicken, falafel, roasted eggplant, salads and pita bread. Leftovers make excellent patties which are perfect for a veggie burger! (See in Pimp My Recipe for instructions).
When is bread not bread? When it's banana bread! Yep, we all know banana bread is cake, and that just the act of baking it in a loaf shape does not in fact make it bread, but we've all been calling it bread for too long to change now. And isn't it nice to justify cake for breakfast? I mean, we don't generally eat French fries for breakfast but we're always down for a hash brown. It's all about how you market it. Fried po-tay-to, fried po-tah-to. Same rules apply for banana bread.
This oh-so-simple mix and bake recipe is very handy. Feel free to make it your own by adding in different things. Sometimes I add blueberries, or a shot of cooled espresso, and on one decadent occasion, I stirred a giant spoonful of milo through the batter. Delicious! Have fun experimenting and making it your own.