Today – Saturday – was just as wet and miserable as last weekend. Luckily I love rainy weekends – cosying up with a blanket, becoming engrossed in a book, lazily browsing the internet…However with breakfast and lunch lamentably comprising only of Chocolate Guinness Cake, I forced myself to leave the house to get some fresh air, and found myself at Moore Wilson’s. Wherein I bought some organic buttermilk, some feta, a tub of white miso paste, and two quinces.
Above: Oh! You pretty things. I love quinces. In New Zealand now is the time for them, so grab one if you can. They are impossible to find year-round, absolutely rock hard and have to be cooked very slowly but their incredible fragrance and sweetness makes it worth the effort. Nigella has a whole swag of recipes for this particular fruit so I look forward to trying something new.
I got back to the flat in an advanced state of saturation. My $4 Kmart white canvas sandshoes (that are now rather fashionable and you can’t get them cheaply anymore) are on their last legs, and were completely filled with water. So, after getting out of my miserably drenched clothes I decided to make a warming curry for dinner, filled with vegetables and even some soul-soothing lentils to counteract the day’s cake-eating. (That’s a little misleading actually – I assure you, I did put some more clothes on before starting on the curry. I think the world only needs one Naked Chef…)
Pumpkin Curry For a Rainy Saturday
This is a very gentle and mild – no chilli at all, come to think of it – so if your tastebuds are made of stronger stuff than mine, by all means add as much chilli as you dare.
1/2 a pumpkin, chopped into large dice
1 T butter
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 red capsicum, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 T tomato paste
1 t ground cinnamon
2 t cumin seeds
1 t ground ginger
1/4 cup red lentils
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 t garam masala
Melt the butter in a decent sized saucepan. Stir the onion, garlic, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and ginger together over a gentle heat till the onion is soft, but not browned. Add the tomatoes and paste (or if this is too much of a pain, just half a tin of chopped tomatoes) and the capsicum, and let this cook for a bit. Tip in your orange chunks of pumpkin, and then add 250mls water to the pan. You might need more depending on the size of your pan, you want the pumpkin pieces half-submerged in the water. Bring this to the boil then lower the heat and simmer till the pumpkin is nearly tender. At this stage add the lentils, and a bit more water – about half a cup. Simmer till the lentils have disappeared into the sauce. Finally add the coconut milk and the garam masala. Don’t let it boil at this stage. Serve over rice. This will feed 2 or three people. Just add a bit more of everything if you have more people over.
Above: I served it over brown rice, which is not so hard to cook as people think. This is the method I use: bring a pot of water to the boil, tip in a cup of brown rice, boil the living heck out of it for about 15 minutes or till it’s soft but firm, then drain. It barely takes longer than white rice. The curry itself was warm and inviting, the perfect thing to be eating by the greedy bowlful with this inhospitable rain beating against the windows.
Above: I made this quick pizza for dinner the other night, using a recipe of my paternal grandmother’s that I found whilst browsing through a folder of recipe clippings that I compiled as a teenager. I don’t think she was that much of a ‘foodie’ – for all I know she may never have actually made this recipe – but it is still meaningful to me that I got her cookbooks and bits and pieces. This particular recipe involves melting butter and frying in it garlic, diced tomato and sliced courgettes, and I assume it is supposed to be a side dish. Well I made it one night, and was so taken with the simple but delicious flavours, that I had to make it again, and soon. On Thursday night, having made it for the second time, I spread it thickly over a scone dough base (the recipe of which I found in Alison Holst’s Dollars and Sense, which my brother got me for Christmas) topped it frugally with cheese, baked it, and ate it whilst watching Coronation Street on telly, which Katie has got me back into. I see that Gail Platt is as depressing as she was last time I was into this show -rather comfortingly, some things never change.
We are having something of a David Bowie Renaissance in the flat – his songs are just so densely brilliant that they don’t lose any gloss with repeat (and I mean repeat) listenings. Just try not to hug the next person on the street you see after listening to Modern Love – possibly the greatest song of all time (along with all the other greatest songs of all time.)
It is just Tim and I in the flat tonight – Paul is in town, Katie and Stefan are in Napier, and Emma has trotted down to Dunedin. I’m trying to convince Tim that watching Rent would be the perfect way to end a rainy Saturday…but I think we might end up compromising with Green Wing, Season 1. Eh, either way I win!
Update: We actually watched some Black Books instead. Whenever I watch this show…I sort of wish I actually was Bernard Black, just for a bit.