February 24, 2009

Mystery Dinner

Do you ever have that feeling of 'what can we have for dinner?'- when you go to look in the fridge all you can see are boring ingredients and nothing remotely interesting? Well that happened to me last night. Max had a friend around for an after school play, which means the kids left me alone until pick up. I had plenty of time to make something delicious and tasty, yet when I went to see what was on offer nothing looked appealing. I went to the cupboard and pulled a can of chickpeas and tomatoes out- they sat on the bench until the 11th hour.

I was running out of time, Megan had arrived to pick up her son and I was still wondering what to cook. In the end I thought I'd better cut up what ever veggies I could find to begin the process, otherwise it will be 8 o'clock and we'd still be unfed. The dinner was a total mystery to me until I turned on the heat of the stove and began adding to the pot. I needed to throw in heaps of veggies because Alex thinks he can survive on bread alone ( he hasn't eaten a good meal in days- the typical 3 year old!) and I needed it to be tasty because I was in the mood for some flavour before this cold I have takes over my taste buds!

 I diced all the veggies the same size as the chick peas so they will cook evenly, then  sauteed the lot in olive oil along with a couple cloves of garlic and some fennel seeds. After the aroma hit my nose it was time to begin making this mystery into something worth eating. I added a tin of tomatoes, plus some fresh cherry tomatoes that needed to be used up, salt and pepper then turned the heat down low, covered the pot and let it meld together for about half an hour, stirring every now and again. 
 I knew if I served it with couscous and a squeeze of lemon juice over the top, Max and Alex would eat it up, however I wanted a little something extra. I have had half a red cabbage sitting in the fridge for about 6 days now and thought it needed to be eaten. Knowing full well the boys would gag and complain if I put cabbage into the mix, I decided to make a coleslaw and add some chili flakes and orange juice to the regular mayo. It would improve the flavor and give Nic and I an extra 'punch' to the meal. 
I first thought to serve it on the side but after tasting the chickpea sauce I thought the creamy mayo and chili would compliment if eaten together. I was right, the yummy thick vegetable stew was rich and flavoursome but when finished with the acid of lemon  and creaminess of the mayo it really took it up a notch and we were very happy with the end result. The boys were not interested in the coleslaw but devoured the couscous and veggie stew- something Alex hasn't done in a while. Next time I am stuck for an idea I think I'll stick to throwing everything into a pot and hoping for the best seeing how it worked so well this time around.

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