I’m back in windy, wet West Cork, trying come to terms with the weather!
Such a contrast to Barcelona. I’ve decided the Barcelona winter is a bit like a cool Irish summer but with less rain and wind!!
The garden has soldiered on whilst I have been away, oblivious to the weather and there is a surprising amount to eat there, including our seemingly never ending supply of cauliflowers. I was surprised to see them, I thought they would have ‘blown’ by now but they must have settled into some kind of state of animated suspension because they are still ready to eat. There are also plenty of leeks, spinach, salad greens, kale and herbs. I didn’t know what to make for dinner so I wandered around with a bucket and picked a little bit of this and a little bit of that then came down to the house and discovered our last pumpkin.
I made a warming vegetable stew based on a recipe from one of my Xmas cookbooks ‘ The Lebanese Kitchen’ by Salma Hage. Salma Hage is a seventy year old Lebanese housewife who has been cooking for the past fifty years and she has some delicious tricks up her sleeve. The butternut stew that I made surprisingly uses curry powder. This isn’t something that I had in the house but I did have one of Green Saffrons Indian spice mixes so I used that instead. I also added some dried apricots which gave a subtle sweet depth to the dish. It was just the ticket for a wild wet night. We ate it with barley couscous on the side.
Here’s my version
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 tsp curry powder or similar spice mix
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
about 500g pumpkin or butternut squash-peeled and cubed
i carrot – peeled and chopped
6-7 dried apricots – sliced
half a cinnamon stick
i can tomatoes – chopped
350mls vegetable stock
about 300g- 400g cooked chickpeas
a handful of chopped coriander
Heat a saucepan and add a little olive oil and the onions. Fry the onions on a medium heat for about five minutes, but don’t let the onions brown. Stir in the garlic and the spice mix and cook for a few minutes more then add the pumpkin and carrot . Cook everything on gentle heat until the veggies are well coated with the spice mix then add the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, apricots and cinnamon stick. Increase the heat and bring everything back to the boil then turn the heat down to simmer and cook for fifteen minutes or until the pumpkin is just tender. Add in the chickpeas and cook for another ten minutes. Taste and season with a little salt.
Take off of the heat and stir in the chopped coriander .