FOOD and weather are intimately connected: our climate, and other people’s, dictate what I find in the market, or what friends offer me from their gardens. As I type this, I’m praying for the courageous souls in London protesting about the institutional indifference to climate change.
This year’s harvest-festival decorations are even more utilitarian than ever: there is not a pumpkin to be seen in any of the churches I have visited, but, instead, the sadly necessary plastic bins inviting offerings of processed, packaged food for easy distribution all the year round.
If you do have a handy pumpkin, here is a warming Pumpkin peanut curry which is good with rice or fresh wholemeal bread.
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
curry powder, to taste
450g (1 lb) pumpkin, peeled and diced fairly small, or use flesh scooped out of the shell
225g (8 oz) sweet potato, peeled and diced fairly small
400g (1 can) coconut milk
100g (4 oz) mushrooms, diced
100g (4 oz) peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1-2 handfuls pumpkin seeds, toasted
fresh parsley or coriander leaves
Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil, and when they are tender add as much curry powder as you are minded, to warm through for a minute or two. Add the pumpkin and sweet potato, and sweat them for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil, and then cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender. Before you are ready to serve this, dice the mushrooms and add to the pot. Toast the pumpkin seeds for a few minutes under the grill. Stir in the peanut butter and soy sauce and correct the seasoning. Chop the fresh herbs. Serve with the toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh herbs.
Even simpler, a Potato curry, which makes a good lunch with a cheese salad or cheese and fruit.
25g (1 oz) fresh root ginger
6 cloves of garlic
2 onions, finely chopped
50g (2 oz) butter
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
chilli powder (optional)
500g (1¼ lb) potatoes, cubed
1 red pepper, diced finely
½ lemon, cut into small pieces
fresh parsley leaves to serve
Blend the ginger and garlic to a paste and cook this gently in the butter, adding the onion. Add the spices and warm them for a minute or two. Add the potatoes (peel them if you must) with enough water to cover them; cover and simmer until tender. Stir in the lemon pieces and fresh herbs. Correct the seasoning and serve with a garnish of chopped red pepper, yogurt, lemon wedges, and herbs.