Spice up your life!

IMG_5794I don’t know about you guys but when work; kids and life pressures ramp up I always seem to take my eye off the ball in the kitchen both shopping for and coooking in.   It’s bizzare as it’s the time that physically and emotionally I should be eating well to help with the added pressures of life, but it’s the time that I don’t think about food until I am hungry and then I don’t make good choices to say the least.  Of course now I am a Mama and the main cook in the house – I feel that I am letting everyone else down especially the Small People who start to look like a bowl of pasta or a baked potato and the only green they get is peas and possibly a bit of broccoli found lurking in the bottom of the fridge.

So this is where we have been for the last few weeks.  So on Saturday I got home from work and was immediately handed over the batton of child care by my partner as she went off to work (ships passing comes to mind).  The kids were chilled after an hour of dance and two hours running and climbing in the park.  So I went off to the kitchen determined that tonight was not going to be a takeaway.  Of course there was very little fresh veg as I had missed the deadline to order a box from Riverford and had not thought to buy some on the way home and quite frankly really couldn’t face going out! A raid on the pantry yielded a butternut squash (I swear they breed – there always seems to be one in there), a huge sweet potato, a couple of onions (some sprouting in a bid to reproduce), a few carrots, a few wrinkled tomatoes, half a red pepper and four mushrooms.  That was it! Dear God!  Ok vegetable and chick pea curry it will be.  Problem – no tinned chickpeas, no fresh chillis, oh but wait what is that – yes – a piece of fresh ginger.  Ok well we will just go with the flow.

Melt a splodge of ghee or oil of your choice in a pan and gently sauté onion, garlic and ginger until soft.  Add 4 green cardamon seeds – crushed;  a heaped teaspoon of  coriander seeds (crushed), a heaped teaspoon of turmeric, and a heaped teaspoon of mustard seeds. Keeping the heat low, stir the spices into the onion in and toast gently until the wonderful aroma hits you. Add the carrots and let them cook for theee to four minutes before adding the squash, pepper, sweet potato and tomatoes and half a teaspoon of smoked paprika. Give it a mix and barely cover with veg or chicken stock.  Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer until the squash is tender but not collapsing.   Then add the chickpeas or in my case a tin of butter beans and the mushrooms – warm through.  Add a two heaped tablespoons of yogurt stir (don’t overhear at this stage or the yoghurt will curdle) and serve.

I knew the kids wouldn’t entertain it as they were tired and would need something they could eat without thinking, also I couldn’t face the screams of I don’t want that and woe is me chanting,  so I coked two breaded chicken escalopes; new potatoes and veg for them which I served in a board with a splodge of tomato sauce and mayo (They eat so much more if they can serve themselves).

But we ate together so this dish was on the table too along with a mix of quinoa and brown rice.  Of course as they didn’t have to eat it – they were quite happy to tuck in and declared it as tasty!

So there you go, easy, nutritious and would work with any lurking vegetables – a little bit of spice in your life works wonders!  For Nigel Slater lovers this is a rip off for his veg curry recipe from his Kitchen Diaries Book.

Be kind to yourselves folks. X