The lentils should be soaked for 12 hours in cold water. Put them in a saucepan of cold salted water, bring to the boil and cook till tender. Drain thoroughly, put them in a frying or deep sauté pan, with 1 or 2 chopped onions fried to a golden brown, 1 or 2 chopped tomatoes, a clove of garlic and ½ lb of ham (to every pound of lentils), cut in large dice or in strips. Mix all thoroughly, season with salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve very hot.