The Toddler and the Chickpea.

Things rejected this week alone:  a veggie lasagne made with quorn mince & layers of spinach (yum); scrambled egg (a staple); enchiladas (in fairness I wasn’t gone on them myself and I think the problem was the Old El Paso enchilada kit creamy sauce…shoulda known better – bleugh).

Back to the drawing board so…A few week ago we had Mark’s parents over, so we had a vegetarian, a coeliac & a diabetic. Out of 4 of us!   Though the latter isn’t exactly an issue with mains anyway.  Mark grumbled a little over what to make (mostly about me who chose my diet  – though I would argue it wasn’t a choice for me, just to stir things like) and then proceeded to make a delicious starter of Aubergine with Buttermilk Sauce from Plenty.  (NOTE: he left off  the za’atar and added some suitable dried herbs instead as it contains wheat) I want it now in fact, with at least 2 full aubergines to myself.   There wasn’t enough for Dominic so we brought him to the table in time for the main event – Channa Masala.  Well, he LOVED it.

So, after several rejections this week, I decided I was making it again in a double batch.  This is the recipe.  I’ve made other channa masalas before – more complicated, bland, more time consuming – this the best by far.  Quick and easy and really mostly store cupboard stuff.  Actually, coriander is the only thing I have to buy as I cannot for the life of me keep it alive. Tips?  And, miraculously for me, I don’t even make a single adjustment to this recipe.

Just one more growth spurt and I’ll reach it.

I swear he smelled it cooking.  I made it early as we’re having a lazy sunday afternoon, so I thought it would be done and I could just chill with the newspaper for a bit, but no.  As soon as I put the brown rice on – ie. at least 30 mins to go til dinner time himself ran out to the kitchen yelling ‘bitta lunch’ and climbed up on his seat.  He was distracted by diggers for another while, but as the moment I left his dish out to cool a little on the counter he was off like a shot.  Good thing I always have natural yogurt to hand for speedy dinner cooling.

He’s had 2 portions and there’s plenty for tomorrow.  Tina assures me it freezes well too though.  Now.  Time for me to go have some!


Brrr. Tis the season…

…For soup!

I left the supermarket most indignant a couple of weeks ago.  Pumpkin filled every spot where the butternut squash should be.  Stupid bandwagon jumping  supermarket.  People barely even eat them here, they just carve them! I wanted my squash, as a foodstuff like.  Tsk.  (I will carve a pumpkin next year though, I promise).

A week later though, I found them for 65c each, and got 2.  Mark made a spicy curry which we didn’t give to Dom as it turned out quite salty, and I made a Honey Roast Butternut squash soup with Ginger Creme Fraiche – based on this recipe, but true to form, did it a bit differently.

I like to make soup at the same time as another dinner, or after Dom is gone to bed.  Then we have it for lunch or next days dinner and I find it really helps break the rushing in from work/making dinner cycle and allows me time to sit and play and see if I can find out anything about Dominic’s day.  Though recently he told me he played with a boy who isn’t even in his room anymore in creche, so I’m not sure I can trust his word.   He also confidently counted 9 (1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9) butterflies on a tshirt where there were clearly 3 .  Sure he’s fooling no one.

I roasted the squash in small cubes rather than wedges to get even more honey balsamicy coverage.  I also realised too late that husband had used the carrots I thought we had in another dinner, so I chucked in 2 chopped up red peppers into the pot.  Honestly if I’d noticed the lack of carrot (and celery) earlier, I’d have had the peppers in the oven too, to sweeten them up, but they still worked.  The pièce de résistance of this dish was the ginger creme fraiche though – what a lovely addition.  I love ginger but it’s flavour can get a little lost in a hearty soup.  This came in little cool hits against the sweetness of the squash.

This was a thinner soup than I usually make.  I got used to making them thick a lot because Dom was less likely to slop it everywhere.  I’ve never seen him eat soup like he did this.  Head down, scoop, slurp, scoop, slurp, scoop, slurp – barely a drop spilled.   This served 6 – one dinner & one lunch each.  For me, it was a welcome break in the lunch monotony.  Budget decrees that I bring my lunch to work at least 4 out of 5 days – boy do I get sick of cheese and salad bagels and pittas.  Just make sure you’ve got some good airtight storage for transportation!


King of Teas.

Sometimes, we have to be lazy.  There’s too much fun to be had – dancing and colouring and looking for the ‘ghosty-sees’ decorations the neighbours had up for Halloween – to be thinking about making dinner.

And that’s where the King of Teas* comes in:  spaghetti hoops on toast (or in this case a bagel & cream cheese).  Glorious.

*This is also known as the King of Lunches and is mostly to be enjoyed in the week before payday in work.