Do you ever think up something new only to find out that this something already exists? Recently I was mildly amused by some of the artists on offer while flicking through the blues section at Slow Boat Records, and thought it would be kinda fun if there was some kind of "Blues Name Generator." A website where you enter your name and it in turn spat out out something that would ostensibly be your blues artist name, something like Stumblin' Tuscaloosa Mary or Three Fingered Lowell Pickering or Pork Cracklin' McDooley. But yeah, the internet is already home to multiple blues name generators. Multiple. Shoulda known. Moving on.
It must be the nature of existing in the world we do though, right? There are millions and millions of people wandering round and it's only inevitable that some of our ideas will overlap and occur without connection to each other. Sometimes it can be a positive thing though, this doubling up of concepts. It can act as a kind of reinforcement that the idea was a good thing in the first place. (Not that people can't have collectively terrible ideas, where to start with examples...)
To wit: I had it in my head that lentils topped with a poached egg might be cool. This developed further when I thought about padding it out with what else was in my kitchen - butter-fried leeks, a sprinkling of almonds and feta... Then I completely second-guessed myself. Is lentils and egg together both freaky and depressing? At best? Leeks - are they still hip? Would the whole thing be too earthy and aggressively sulphuric? Would the brown, yellow and green shades call to mind a polyester blouse from the 70s instead of effortless culinary elegance?
Then, reading a copy of esteemed local publication the Listener, I found in Martin Bosley's food column a recipe that more or less mirrored what I came up with. Since Mr Bosley himself is such an estimable and celebrated local foodsmith, like a passive fairy godmother saying "you shall go to the ball," I gained from his similar idea the confidence to proceed with my own.
Not saying you shouldn't be afraid to experiment. Not at all. But seriously. Lentils. Sometimes a little positive reinforcement helps. And this definitely leans more towards modern elegance than 70s polyester in food form. I should have had more faith in myself - after all, it seems these days you can drape a poached egg over practically anything and it suddenly becomes chic.
To have this happen in your own life, bring a large pan of water to the boil and once it is at a merry rolling bubble, pour in 150g brown lentils. (I added the rest of a near-empty packet of tiny stelline pasta for no other reason than it was annoying me) The lentils should cook through in about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and thinly slice a leek. Melt a generous knob of butter in a pan and once it's sizzling gently add the leeks and stir continuously till they collapse and become slightly caramelised. I added a splash of very good balsamic vinegar because I'm lucky enough to have some. Once the lentils have cooked through, drain them thoroughly and transfer them to the pan of soft, buttery leeks (now off-heat) and stir through. Finally, poach four free range eggs. Divide the lentils between two plates, place two eggs on each, and sprinkle with sliced almonds, feta cheese, and smoked paprika.
So there's all that. But also, importantly, free range eggs taste comparitively amazing to the super cheap, sinister battery cage eggs. They really do. If you think otherwise, I'm afraid your opinion is wrong. Choose free range: not only are you getting a better tasting egg, you're helping hens break through the glass ceiling! Or something.