Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Food again!

Getting back to normal health, and food has reappeared in my kitchen.

Here is a weird dish, the kind of thing it's best to live alone to cook, no need for comments from roommates (!) which consists of what was originally going to be sausage and mash, Vienna sausage, that is, and potato flakes.  Not enough energy for more elaborate food prep, aside from wrist still out of action which precludes a lot of things such as peeling, chopping, etc.  

Anyway, turns out there wasn't enough in the potato flake box, after I'd boiled the milk, always make it with all milk, so I added in some orzo, and here's the second day result, using up the leftovers.  Few chunks of sharp cheddar on top, and finished it in the oven.  I heart my cast iron pans now developing a great nonstick surface and making wonderful crisp outside to this kind of dish. Top pic shows the start, before the cheese began to melt in.

 Second picture shows right before it went into the oven.  You'll see a lovely crust developing underneath it.  It made a very interesting meal, despite the unpromising start.  Ketchup on the side.

Then my dear friend G. came over a couple of days ago with my regular supply of curry leaves, along with a great helping of some spicy veggie dish of her own cooking, which vanished before I took pix, oh well, and I have to tell you that since she's introduced me to them some months ago, curry leaves are now my secret weapon.

Any place you might use a bay leaf for flavoring, I use curry leaves, a sprig of them.  The flavor is wonderful, deep, interesting in vegetable dishes, no wonder vegetarian G uses it a lot.  Kardi Patta in Hindi, in case you have a local store where you might find them.  G. always gives me them since the smallest quantity they come in is too large for her small family, but works for both of us.

So here's the fastest soup in the world, perfect for a day, of which I've had a few lately, where you just can't be pestered to cook seriously.  I use very few canned goods, but in winter I do get diced tomatoes, not worth using those red bullets in the stores, and I do like canned chickpeas, though I  cook them from scratch when I remember the day before I need them.

Anyway, rinse the chickpeas very very well, add one can chick and one can tomatoes to pot, rest a twig of curry leaves on top, heat to boiling, turn to simmer and let it do that for a while, to let the curry leaves work.  I happened, this is unusual, to have some Swiss Knorr chicken bouillon cube things, and crumbled part of one of them in, with about a cup of water at the outset. 

Then after it's simmered for a while, remove about half the soup, blend and return it to the pot. You take out the curry leaves and discard them before serving, and this makes a really good soup.  Thick enough to be interesting, but with whole dice and chickpeas in it for nice texture.  Enough for two days for one person. Highly recommended. 

And when I don't put in the chicken bouillon, this is a soup I can share with G. who is a religious vegetarian, very careful about it.  I like in winter to leave her a little pot of homemade soup to come home to after her brutal commute, so she can have an instant hot meal, and share with husband R.  Just a little friendship thing.


  1. Soups and stews and leftover meat or veg over rice with cheese...all helpful and GOOD on these Winter days! I even made millet porridge for breakfast one day last week; helped get me going.
    So glad you're feeling better, and also healing up!

  2. I love the sound of that soup, I will definitely give it a try. I will also see if I can source some of those curry leaves and see their magic.

  3. Oh and I forgot to mention, the crust on that little sausage and mash fritter looks amazing! I can't wait to start using my cast iron pans.


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