My first Ethiopian meal, courgette crisps, and the fourth known foodstuff
Some days, I just run out of cooking inspiration. Then I ask my other half what he wants to eat, and he says one of three things: Mexican, stir fry, or pasta. Without fail. In his culinary world, there are but three foodstuffs, and he's happy for us to eat all three in rotation forever. I try my best to come up with interesting, healthy, tasty vegan meals, but if I'm ever feeling fresh out of ideas, I just make Mexican, stir-fry or pasta, and I know everyone's happy.
Only the other day, the other half only went and blew my mind. I asked him what he'd like for tea, and he said "carrot and coriander soup". My first instinct was that he'd been bodysnatched and replaced with a replicant that hadn't downloaded the file on food preferences yet.
After satisfying myself he really was my other half, I made a carrot and coriander soup: sweated off onion and garlic with ground coriander, added some chopped carrot and stock, and when it was all done, blended it and topped with fresh chopped coriander.
I was surprised at how much more than the sum of its parts it was, it's not become a regular part of my lazy cooking rotation, sometimes with lentils or chickpeas added.
Behold, the fourth known dish in my other half's culinary taxonomy:
The next meal looks a little bit parsimonious, but I promise you again, it may be made of humble ingredients, but there's a lot more than that to it.
It's based on a recipe on The Telegraph here for roasted carrots and chick pea mash.
I didn't have any chick peas on hand, but butter beans soaked and boiled for a bit made an admirable stand-in, perked up with some fried leeks and tahini. Carrots roasted with a bit of coriander may not sound like anything special, but if you get the timing right, they become sweet and melty things of wonder.
I even had some radicchio to hand, and made a facsimile of The Telegraph salad with some quinoa, peas and mint. Oh, and then I chucked in some purple sprouting broccoli with tomatoes, because, well, when doesn't broccoli make everything better? (What? When you're making brownies, you say? Fair point.)
It may not look pretty (blame the low-lit phone pic), but it tasted pretty good.
Alas, I can no longer remember what we had on our plate, but there was a beetroot based dish, an okra one, three separate lentil dishes, something mushroomy, a fluffy gram scramble, and a load of other stuff that's escaped my memory.
What was perhaps more amazing than the variety of dishes was that they were all delicious. Even sharing this monster between two, me and the other half couldn't get through most of it, and we had to leave it. Lesson learnt - we'll be back, and we'll not be having a starter!
Finally, I've dug out the dehydrator again, and made up some courgette (or zuccini, if you're over the other side of the pond) chips. It was just a case of massaging the mandolined courgette with some chilli oil, ras el hanout and garlic salt, and dehydrating til crisp.