1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion and garlic until transparent.
2. Add the carrot, red pepper and lentils, and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
3.Add the mushrooms, tomato paste, sugar, parsley, basil, thyme, stock powder and hot water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
4. Season with a little salt (only needed if freshly cooked lentils are used; canned lentils are already salted) and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Serve hot, garnished with strips of sundried tomato or red pepper, together with a large mixed salad and fruit fro pudding.
To cook lentils quickly:
Add 250ml lentils to 500ml boiling water and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Drain off the water and add another 250ml of boiling water. Microwave on high for 12 minutes.