One of the things I love about cooking is the presentation of the finished article. I’m quite happy pottering away in the kitchen working on the finishing touches but with two young kids it’s become less and less about good looking food and more about speed and shortcuts. This mushroom & cheese tart looks very rustic but is the perfect quick tart. A couple of minutes to fry some mushrooms and onions, mix up some eggs, cheese and herbs. Unwrap some ready made puff pastry. Throw it all together and into the oven and by the time you’ve cleaned everything up you have a delicious tasting tart. Perfect to take on a picnic, a light lunch with a mixed salad or even as a starter.
Half term is over and Spring is just around the corner. I’m already starting to think of lighter, fresher meal options and this chickpea and spinach curry is one of my favourites. It’s packed full of flavour and is so quick and easy to make. A perfect mid-week meal – although I must admit that my kids are not yet convinced that ‘ the green stuff’ is edible.
Yield: 4 portions if served with rice or 2 portions if served without rice
1 tblsp ghee or sunflower oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
a small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 tsps. curry powder
2 tsps. garam masala
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tin (380g) chickpeas, drained
1 tin (390g) chopped tomatoes
4 medium sized (300g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
400 - 500ml vegetable stock
½ tsp salt
100g fresh spinach
Heat the ghee/oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened.
Add all the spices and cook for a further 1 minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas, potatoes, salt and about half of the vegetable stock. Stir well and simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked adding more stock as needed.
Add the spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes or until the spinach has wilted.
This chickpea and spinach curry is a substantial and delicious meal but it is also an extremely low cost main meal option which I am going to submit to this month’s Credit Crunch Munch challenge which is run by Camilla over at Fab Food 4 All and Helen of Fuss Free Flavours and which is being hosted by myself this month. I’m also going to submit to Recipe of the Week over at A Mummy Too
As this is also a healthy, low fat meal I am going to submit the recipe over to The Spice Trail’s latest challenge which is Temple Food.
I’m slowly managing to clear out my fridge and cupboards of all the little luxury items that were leftover from Christmas. The odd chocolate here and there has been disposed of (ok, so I’ve eaten them), leftover stuffing was turned into sausage rolls, half a packet of peanuts resulted in some delicious chocolate peanut butter bars and we’ve also had our fair share of soup using up all the veggies. What I found today was half a wedge of Brie lingering at the back of the cheese drawer. Now as much as I love Brie, it feels somewhat indulgent to sit down to cheese and biscuits in the middle of January. I feel far more virtuous combining it with some veg and turning it into a lovely courgette and brie soup. The flavour of the brie is quite subtle but what it does give is a gorgeous creamy texture to the soup. I normally add just a touch of cumin powder when I serve it up but that may not be to everyone’s taste. It may not be one for the kids but then all the more for us.
Well as usual I had a great long list of things to do with the kids during their school holidays but just never seemed to get round to doing half of them. I had bought two pumpkins (the edible ones) with great plans of letting both my son and my daughter carve their own. After about an hour spent working on the first one and with pumpkin bits strewn all over my kitchen I somehow managed to ‘misplace’ the second pumpkin. Funnily enough it miraculously reappeared the next day and was instead destined for this delicious spicy pumpkin soup. In my opinion this was a much better use of good pumpkin flesh.
This soup does take a bit of time to prepare but if you enjoy Asian spices then it is well worth the effort. I would also suggest taking the time to make the crisp chilli and spring onion garnish to give the soup a bit of added texture.
Six weeks since I lasted posted on my blog! – how did that happen?
We did have a couple of weeks in France which was really lovely and very relaxing. Lots of wine, good food, sun and sea does make for a good holiday. It was straight back into real life once we got back with the kids back at school. Kirsty, my youngest started ‘big school’ which was so exciting for her but much harder for me. I do miss having her around the house but she is so happy at school and her brother is loving his role as big brother and all round protector. On top of the kids being at school all day, my hubby was away on a business trip so the house was exceptionally quiet. On the plus side, the house was also exceptionally clean, tidy and organised which is probably the first time that has happened in the last 7 years.
To save me having to cook every night while my hubby was away, I made up a big pot of this lovely, rich French onion soup with onions and garlic all the way from France.
Curled up on the couch, bowl of soup in hand, pile of recipe books at the ready and just peace and quiet –