I'm sorry, this is a boring post. We cooked something from Hugh F-W's Veg Every Day, yawn. We added extra vegetables, zzzz. The pictures are by no means what you could call aesthetically pleasing, sigh. Inspiration has packed up its old kit bag and buggered off in search of the last scrap of summer before the leaves start to fall.
You see, between going away for the weekend, wilting in the hot weather and sneaky trips to the pub, I just haven't been fired up in the kitchen this week (geddit? fired up? Oh, forget it). On the rare occasions when I've had dinner at home, my criteria were not "ooh, what do I feel like? what rare and tempting morsel will trip across my finely-tuned palate today?". I was thinking "gah, that cauliflower is almost dead. And I need something healthy. For the love of god, resist the ice cream". What can I say? We've been trying to seize every bit of pleasure from these dog days of August and if that means mini ice cream Mars bars, I am not sorry.
So, I found this in my new favourite book, thought it looked healthy, and cooked it. We'd made a cauliflower curry before and liked it, so it seemed like a safe bet. And you know what? It was perfectly nice. You wouldn't immediately call your mum and insist she tries it, but nor would you send it back in a restaurant. In fact, despite sounding so distinctly lacklustre about it, I can predict that we will probably make it again - some other time when we've been over-indulging, and want to feel virtuous. But last time we cooked a Hugh curry, we made it again two days later and raved about it for weeks (aubergine, green bean and cashew nut and wow, now I really want that again). Oh Hugh, I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me. Just let me get out of these doldrums and we'll be back on track. I wonder if more ice cream will help?
Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry
From Hugh F-W's Veg Every Day
- half a cauliflower, cut into smallish florets
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- half a teaspoon of grated, fresh ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- sunflower oil
- a teaspoon of ground coriander
- a teaspoon of ground cumin
- pinch of dried chilli flakes
- one star anise
- salt and pepper
- a tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- a tin of chopped tomatoes
- a teaspoon of garam masala or curry powder
- a handful of fresh spinach (optional but we liked them)
- some frozen peas (ditto)
- if you like it (which I don't), some fresh, chopped coriander
Start by putting the cauliflower into a large saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt then bring to a rolling boil. Turn it off, drain, and keep warm in the covered saucepan until you need it.
While the cauliflower's coming to the boil, put the onion, garlic, ginger and a splash of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Stir frequently for 10 minutes. Chuck in the coriander, chilli, cumin and star anise, along with some salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes, stirring all the time.
Pour in the chickpeas and tomatoes, then add the cooked cauliflower and 100ml of cold water (until the cauliflower is mostly covered). Stir in the peas and spinach if you're using them, and let the whole lot cook for around 5 minutes. Scatter in the curry powder or garam masale, and give it all another 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. If you like coriander, stir it in. Serve with rice, naan or both.