Thursday, December 21, 2006

'Twas the Wednesday before Christmas and no one was around

So, yesterday was Wednesday, but instead of "we dine" it was "me dine." Michelle nicely offered to lend me the key to her and Laura's apartment so that I could honor our Wednesday tradition in their absence, but I decided that would be too sad and lonely. Plus there were no models to be missed anyway. And it's a good thing I wasn't hindered by our normal must-be-done-by-eight schedule. By the time I made it into the kitchen, it was already after 9pm. I had been out all afternoon xmas shopping, and then met up with Raisa at Gourmet Warehouse. Don't worry girls – we'll still have our field trip there in the new year. I can never go there too often, and I actually managed not to buy anything for myself, so I must go back soon for some of that porcini pasta I love.

I had noticed earlier in the day that I had eggplant and zucchini in the fridge, so I thought of making Indian food for dinner. As Raisa and I wandered up Commercial Drive, we stopped in at one of the organic food stores in search of an ingredient which I needed for some secret xmas treats (recipe to come later, so as not to ruin my mother and sister's surprise when they open their stockings!) and I picked up some chick peas and cabbage to add to dinner. We had a coffee at JJ Bean and caught up. Raisa drew me out instructions for making pretty pretty Finish puff-pastry pinwheels with prune and apple filling. Yum!

Then we both rushed off home. I was wishing for some wine (to console myself, being alone on a Wednesday night and all) but there was none. Luckily, I remembered that there was a tiny bit of gin in my freezer. I mixed up a dirty gin martini, and was then ready to cook! It was a simple, simple dinner – basmati rice, a madras curry with chickpeas, eggplant and zucchini, and a cabbage & carrots dish that I love. I copied this recipe down on scrap papper when working in the market, from one of the many cookbooks there, and now can't remember what the source was. But it's the perfect extra dish to add to a meal when I'm making a curry with paste from a jar, to make me feel like I'm not quite so lazy (look – I made one thing from scratch!). So, thought I'd share the recipe with you all, in case you ever find yourself in a similar position.

Cabbage & Carrots
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafetida
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
5-6 curry leaves (I used dried – fresh ones are rarely available)
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 green chili, chopped
1 dried red chili
1/3 of a large green cabbage, shredded (I just chop it roughly)
2 carrots, diced (or grated, or chopped however you want)
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat oil in large pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin. When crackling, add asofatida, tumeric, curry leaves, ginger and chilis. Stir in cabbage and carrots.
2. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until cabbage and carrots are as soft as you like them.
3. Add sugar and salt. Stir through lemon juice and cilantro just before serving.

This dish is really fresh tasting, which makes it the perfect counterpart to a rich, saucy curry, I think.

(impersonating Michelle, as my blogger account is playing tricks on me – thanks Michelle!)

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