Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry

Torrential rain and howling winds prevented us from getting out into the garden or further afield this weekend, and I decided to share one of our favourite recipes as it’s been a long time since I shared the last one.

This is a lightly spiced, creamy curry, which is both vegan and gluten-free. We tend to cook this in bulk and freeze the extra portions for quick midweek meals, so you may need to reduce the suggested quantities.

Ingredients (Serves 8):

1 Red Chili Pepper finely diced
3 Garlic Cloves minced
Large nub of Ginger minced
100g of Fresh Coriander (Cilantro)
2 Large onions diced
3 Large Sweet Potatoes peeled and chopped into small cubes
2 400g tins of Chickpeas (drained)
2 400g tins of Chopped Tomatoes
2 400g tins of Coconut Milk
2 cups of frozen peas
200g of frozen spinach
3 tsp of Paprika
3 tsp of Cumin
3 tsp of Tumeric
3 tsp of Cinnamon
3 tsp of Dried Rosemary
3 tsp of Garam Masala

Method:

Heat a large casserole dish or pan on a medium heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onions, garlic and ginger and lightly cook for a few minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent.

Add all the spices and rosemary, mix well and add a splash of water. Cover, stir occasionally to prevent from sticking and add more water if required until it resembles a thick paste.

After a few minutes, mix in sweet potato, cook and cover for three to five minutes.

Add the tomatoes and coconut milk, stir thoroughly until both have combined. Cover and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the chickpeas, peas, spinach and coriander. Stir well.

Cook uncovered for another 10 to 20 minutes until thickened.

Serve with boiled rice and papadums.

 

‘Braving the Wilderness’ by Brene Brown

Braving theWilderness1

I often read books with themes that mirror something I’mĀ going throughĀ in real life at the time, and I recently found myself picking Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown off the shelf. I first learned about Brene Brown’s research through her TED talks on vulnerability and shame, and over the last few years I’ve drawn so much comfort and inspiration from her books that have helped me to navigate difficult transitions and encouraged me to be more authentic, vulnerable and courageous in my personal life and career.

Braving the Wilderness builds on Brene Brown’s previous books but has a distinctly political edge as she explores how we hide who we really are in order to fit in, and how politicalĀ rhetoric has become increasingly intolerant, dehumanizing and divisive as leaders call upon their followers to oppose anyone who disagrees with their opinions or values. This book is very much about being curious and listening toĀ other perspectives, as well as beingĀ honest about our own,Ā but it’s also about having the moral courage to stand up for what we believe is right even if it means standing alone.

Braving theWilderness2

I find it so easy to relate to Brene Brown, and this is written with the same honesty, humility and humour as her other books, yet it’s not an easy read as it challenged me to reflect on the times when my own fear of criticism, conflict, loneliness and rejection lead me to settle for fitting in instead of belonging, and how sometimes the things we do to avoid feeling pain end up causingĀ us more heartache and suffering in the long run.

Braving the Wilderness didn’t haveĀ the profound impact on meĀ that I Thought It Was Just Me or Rising Strong did, but it still feels like a pertinentĀ discussion on how to overcome some of the barriers to communication, understanding and connections in the current socio-political climate. Have a lovely week. X

Summer Abundance

Summer Abundance

We woke up this morning to the first grey clouds and light rain in our part of the country for several weeks, but this has easily been one of the best summers we’ve had for several years and we’ve been reaping the rewards of all the good weather up to now in our little kitchen garden.

As we’ve only devoted a small part of the garden to growing fruit and vegetables and we have a relatively short growing season here (the last frost is usually in April and the first is in October with fairly unpredictable “summer” weather in between), we’re always trying to make the best use of the space with fairly low-maintenance and reliable crops.

We’ve been enjoying lots of salads with our own lettuce and radishes, and we’ve had steady crops of broad beans, as well as yellow and green courgettes.Ā This year I’ve also been growing Hunter, Uchiki Kuri (also known as Orange Hokkaido), Sweet Dumpling and Spaghetti squashes to find out which grows best in our climate and soil. Meanwhile, my husband has planted his own experimental crop of rat-tail radishes, which have been allowed to bolt so we can harvest the edible seed pods.

Unfortunately, our little acer and ornamental cherry blossom didn’t survive the harsh winter, but after careful consideration we’ve replaced them with two little apple trees, Grenadier for cooking and Fiesta for eating. It may be a few years until we get any apples from either of them, but in the mean time we’ve been baking pies and crumbles made with our own rhubarb, which is thriving in a partially shaded bed with the strawberries.

While we’ve had a fairly successful growing season so far, there have been a few failures as well, the birds devoured the spinach before we could pick any of it, and the cayenne pepper plant has only produced five little chilli peppers. I sometimes think it’s the risk of disappointment and failure that makes growing some of our own fruit and vegetables so rewarding.

This weekend we sowed swiss chard and kale seeds, which will hopefully give us some fresh greens through the autumn and winter months. Have a lovely week! X

An Unruly Tangle of Flowers

An Unruly Tangle of Flowers

Sometimes it seems like our gardening to-do list is almost never ending as we slowly cultivate this space and bring our ideas to fruition, but the recent heatwave has given us an excuse to slow down and appreciate all the beauty of summer in our garden.

In retrospect, creating a flower border under the privet hedge was probably a mistake as the roots of the hedge stretch into the bed absorbing the nutrients and moisture from the soil, and the border is in full sun creating a challenging environment for anything we plant. There’s much more bare earth this summer than I’d like as some of the perennials we bought have struggled to establish themselves and I’ll probably have to move some of them elsewhere in autumn, but a few don’t seem to mind the conditions.

The Aquilegias were already flowering when we bought them, but the first of our own plants to burst into blossom was a little Sedum that my mum gave me from her garden, which is thriving in its new location.

Then all at once the annuals burst into flower – though just like last year, I’ve over-seeded the bed causing an unruly tangle of colour, and it seems like there’s something new to see every day as one flower fades and the petals of another start to unfurl. Have a lovely week! X