A good way to tell how often I use a particular recipe is to look how dirty that particular page is. For example, the tarragon chicken recipe in Nigel Slater’s Appetite is covered with fat that has sprayed out of the pan onto the page. The same is true of the following recipe, a slight variation from my mother’s recipe book she compiled during her vegetarian days back-packing around the world. I quite regularly plunder it for recipes, especially as I’m weaning myself off meat in time for university, when meat will be something that happens to everyone else.
I’ve been cooking this dish since I was twelve, and it is still without a doubt my favourite comfort food; so much so I nearly always have at least three portions at any one time in the freezer, for those days when it all gets too much to deal with.
The end result is similar to the Kiev’s bought frozen from your local supermarket, but shaped slightly like a scotch egg. I usually have mine with vegetable rice, but plain rice or roast potatoes will do.

Serves 4-6


Garlic Butter1
2-3 gloves of garlic, crushed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
4 oz unsalted butter (You can use salted butter if you haven’t got any unsalted, but don’t add salt in the next step)
Salt and pepper

Lentil Mixture
6oz (175g) brown lentils
4oz (100g) red lentils (spilt)
2 bay leaves
2 tbsps (approx) of olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, diced
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp of Soya sauce
2oz (50g) fresh whole meal breadcrumbs
Fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

Optional Extras
4oz (100g) cheddar cheese or tofu
Breadcrumbs (A 50/50 mix of white and whole meal) and beaten egg-yolk to coat the mixture

1) Make the garlic butter by beating the lemon juice, zest, butter and seasoning together. It is easier to use an electrical mixer if you have one, if not, mixing by hand is fine, but is slightly time-consuming. Once mixed thoroughly, divide into balls, roughly the same size as a golf ball, place on a tray, and freeze overnight. It might be a good idea to place a layer of baking parchment on the tray first, so the balls don’t get stuck.

2) Cook the lentils in separate pans until soft (roughly 20mins) with a bay leaf in each pan to add flavour.

3) Heat the oil in a pan, and sauté the onions until softened. Add the mushrooms and a little butter, and cook for approx 5-6 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add both the Soya sauce and lemon juice, stir, and bring to the boil.

4) Add the lentils and breadcrumbs and mix well. Remove roughly two thirds of the mixture from the pan and roughly blend it, then add back to the original mix. Lower the heat, and add the parsley, and season a little. If using the cheese or tofu, add this as well and mix thoroughly until the mixture is stiff and easily malleable.

5) Remove the frozen butter from the freezer. Using floured hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands, shape the lentil mixture around the butter.

6) If you feel the urge to breadcrumb the Kiev, do so now. Dip the Kiev in the egg yolk, and then roll in the breadcrumbs, until covered all over.

7) Cooking: Deep-frying is generally considered to be the best way of cooking these, but I personally prefer to cook mine slowly in the oven. The only problem with that is if you cook them for too long then the butter melts too much and vanishes completely. Depending how fierce your oven/ fryer is will depend how long these take to cook. You may need to experiment to find the ideal timings for your appliance.
Roughly, I use ;< br> Deep fried - 5-6minutes
Swallow fried - Until golden, 7-8minutes
Oven - 15-20 minutes (Gas Mark 5)

1: If you find this quantity too much, then you can either store the remaining amount by freezing or reduce the amounts to suit yourself. If you decide to keep it, then I heartily recommend adding it to any fish in the last few minutes of cooking. I had some yesterday on some trout…
2 trout, gutted
Large splash of white wine
Fresh fennel
Salt and pepper
Garlic and lemon butter

Stuff fish with fennel, and lay in a casserole dish. Add wine and seasoning.
Cook for 20 minutes at gas mark 6, and add butter after 15 minutes cooking time

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