all in together boys

14 04 2010

I have long been a fan of those cooking shows where several contestants are given an hour and a handful of ingredients, along with some essentials such as oil, garlic and spices, to create an evening meal complete with dessert.  I am almost always impressed by the interesting dishes they prepare. From time to time, in the privacy of my own kitchen, I admit I play out this little challenge – especially when the contents of my pantry are sparse right before market day.

So, I spent most of yesterday helping my friend move house. Zuzu returned from a two day sleepover and then went off to the beach with her friend for the afternoon – she’s not silly enough to get roped into a day of lugging boxes.  I got home, looked into my cupboard (I wonder if everyone stares into their pantry, mesmerized by the arrangements of noodles, cereal boxes and cans,  the way I do), and realised there were very few choices on the dinner front. There was a bag of green split peas, some legumes, some root vegetables, some cans… slim pickings. Unless, of course, you are up for a challenge!!

Five main ingredients: carrot, kumara, potato, green split peas, can of tomatoes.

A few necessities: onion, garlic rice bran oil, garlic, organic vegetarian bouillon, dried chili, basil (fresh and dried)

All the makings of a delicious Split Pea and Vegetable Ragoût.

Step 1: Add diced carrot, potato, kumara, 1½ cups green split peas and vegetarian bouillon to a large pot.  Cover with water and cook until soft but not mushy.

Step 2: Sauté onion and garlic in oil with chili and dried basil.

Step 3: When peas and veges are soft, and most of the water has been absorbed, add onions and garlic. Stir gently to combine flavours.

Step 4: Add a can of tomatoes and simmer, stirring gently.

Step 5: Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and top with fresh basil.

It took me no more than 45 minutes to make this hearty meal and I had plenty of time to grab M from the ferry and pick Zuzu up from her friend’s place. We lingered there a while, chatting over a delicious bottle of “Summer Aphrodisiac 2006” from Casita Miro Vineyard and securing some technical support for next weekend’s 48 hour Film Festival shoot.

When we were finally home for the evening, Zuzu heated up the Ragoût and I served it with a sprinkle of fresh basil. It was delicious and I had really enjoyed the challenge. Would it be going too far to actually film myself?

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