Tuesday, February 23

Still a veggie at heart

From the age of about 15 for more than 20 years, I was a vegetarian. I say vegetarian with some caution since I was not a proper vegetarian for more than a few years. For most of that 20 years I ate fish occasionally but I usually told people I was vegetarian to avoid any embarrassing situations with catering. My job sometimes involves attending formal dinners, and quite a bit of travel, so it's always been easier to mark myself out as vegetarian from the start rather than have to explain that actually I quite like sausages when they are good quality, but hate bacon of any quality and would eat fish but prefer it to be sustainably sourced and I'm fine with non-veggie cheeses blah blah blah. Then you just end up sounding like a total food snob or a very fussy eater.

Shacking up with the Curse ('a-meal-is-not-a-meal-unless-it-contains-meat-and-all-pulses-are-the-devil's-work') coincided with the boom in farmer's markets and easier access to responsibly-farmed, good quality meat, and I decided to reintroduce certain meats into my diet. I still don't like bacon although I will tolerate it chopped small in a sauce - never has a food promised so much in its smell, and delivered so little in its taste!

But I believe that I will always be a vegetarian at heart, and the main reason for this is my passion for all pulses! Whenever I'm home alone I usually take advantage and cook something with peas, beans or lentils. Or all three.

Last night I tried out Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's fabulous recipe for potato, chick pea and kale curry, and hereby declare it an unqualified success.

I substituted savoy cabbage for the kale, since the only kale I could find was a bag of it in Sainsbury's. Why do they insist on selling it ready chopped? Every piece was already brown at the end!

Also I didn't have any yoghurt, so substituted with soured cream.

Otherwise I used half quantities of everything except the onion and it gave me enough for two quite hearty meals. A word of warning - be careful as you toast the spices - I burned the first lot and had to do them again.

For two people :
400g tin of chickpeas (or dried if you are well organised - soak overnight and then boil till tender)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 dried chilli, crumbled
1/2 tsp turmeric
peeled and grated root ginger - some
1 onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
350ml veggie stock
some potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used four medium)
some savoy cabbage, very finely sliced (I used a quarter of a cabbage)
sunflower oil
soured cream or yoghurt to serve
chopped coriander leaves - as many as you like

Dry-fry the cumin, coriander, chilli and mustard seeds until they start to pop (not until they burn!)

Grind them in a pestle and mortar then add the turmeric and ginger. Fry the onion in a saucepan in some oil till soft, then add the garlic and the spices. Cook for a couple of minutes then add the stock. Simmer for a few minutes then add the chick peas and potatoes, and cook until the potatoes are starting to go soft.

Add the cabbage and cook for a few more minutes, then stir in the chopped coriander and serve with a spoonful of soured cream.


Gareth Gardner said...

All I can say is yum. But I do hope that all those chickpeas won't have unfortunate side effects!

colleen said...

I'm glad you tried this first. I saw it this weekend and bought my chick peas today, but forgot the mustard seed. Now I know that it's good, I'll get some tomorrow. Ta.

BTW - the kale in Lidl looked good today even though it was in a bag!

colleen said...

Tried this out and it was delicious.