I was all set to make a Thai veg curry the other night. There were aubergines, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and peppers in the fridge, Pete was despatched up the road (in the cold, in the dark, with an owl) for coconut milk, and I was good to go. Except I didn’t want veg curry. I wanted soothing lentils, a comfort food in this household. So lentils I had.
I chopped two small onions, some garlic and fresh ginger, and fried them down in some olive oil. While this was going on, I chopped an aubergine and a couple of peeled sweet potatoes. Added them to the mix with cumin seeds and chilli flakes, turned it all round in the oil. Bunged in a mugful of red lentils (an old WordPerfect mug, in fact, an integral part of our batterie de cuisine here), and a can of coconut milk. Despite my precautions, the wretched stuff still managed to squirt a stream of clear coconut up my arm under the sleeve of my fleece.
Stirred that all round, went “um”, and added two cans full of water, and about 2 teaspoons of Marigold bouillon powder, a very useful thing indeed. Seasoned with salt and black pepper, brought it to the boil, and then put it on a diffuser for about 45 minutes.
It was absolutely gorgeous – that made six portions, and we liked it so much that we ate it again for lunch the next day. I did managed to put one tub in the freezer before we pigged it all, but I shall be making that again. And again.
I have a bag of sweet potatoes in the fridge – lord knows why, we never use more than a couple at a time, but I was surprised by them in the Co-Op.
In the freezer, I have a tub of stock leftover from making a coconut chicken curry, and a small tub of butternut squash and apple purée. It seems to me that these combined could make a very nice soup, so I have removed the tubs from the freezer, and will boil up the sweet potatoes tonight for a shoop.
I’ll let you know.
The veg box brought us a pair of sweet potatoes, and we had a cauliflower left over.
Not wanting to cook too much in the heat, I peeled the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2cm-ish chunks. They were simmered for about 18 minutes, and I put the cauliflower florets in the steamer basket for the last 7 minutes.
I chopped an onion and a red pepper, and minced ginger and garlic, and fried that lot off in some olive oil, while Pete ground some spices with a Morrocan twist (including pomegranate seeds), and I put them in the frying pan with the onion mixture for a couple of minutes.
Tipped everything into the slow cooker, and added the rest of the broad bean stock. Cooked on low for about 8 hours, and ate with rice, but cous cous would have worked too.
As mentioned, we needed to make inroads into the veg glut. This is an adaptation of a recipe from Anjum Anand, and we replaced the chicken with some veg. It worked remarkably well, and would serve four greedy people, or six more restrained souls.
1 bag spinach
some groundnut oil (I never use as much as they say)
3 black cardamon pods
2 bay leaves
5cm piece of cinnamon stick
2 green chillies, pricked with the tip of a knife
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 large aubergine, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
fresh grated ginger (lots is an appropriate amount)
fresh garlic (ditto)
1 can tomatoes
2 tsp ground coriander
1.5 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp natural yogurt
salt to taste
Make a purée of the ginger, garlic and tomatoes (blender or food processor required). Heat the oil in a deep, heavy-based pan (I used a Le Creuset casserole), and add the cardamon, bay leaves and cinnamon, and fry for a few seconds, then add the onion and chillies and fry until the onions are brown.
Add the tomato/ginger/garlic purée, and the aubergine and sweet potato, and cook for about 30 minutes. Add some salt to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp). While this is going on, clean the blender / food processor, and pureé the spinach (you might need to add a bit of water to make it mulch).
Add the yogurt to the pot and keep stirring to reduce the sauce for about 15 minutes, then add the spinach and carry on with this for another 10 minutes or so.
Eat with basmati rice or flat bread.