Cheating on Chilly Nights
When the skies released fluffy white flakes again this week, smiles fluttered across my face as well as my boy’s, again. Then I thought of all the inconveniences we would have to endure, again. And frankly, I’m quite sick of wearing tights.
We stood looking out at it, gluing our foreheads to the window and chilling ourselves unnecessarily. I forgot to talk at times and I always feel guilty about that, must keep talking to my boy. I got busy thinking about how overcrowded the supermarkets would be. Because of course, everyone behaves as though the world is going to end and ritually go and pack the aisles of supermarkets up…just in case. Even my parents do it and they’re supposed to be the educated bees! It always makes me chuckle how proud some people are for braving the stampede in the shops.
You know what I am going to say, don’t you? I didn’t go and join the packs. Yes I stocked up, but I also had few recipes up my sleeve. Ones that you can whip up with store cupboard ingredients. Ones that bring colour to days that remind me of the Narnia before bad stuff happens. Ones that you can eat whilst hugging the bowl and tucked under a blanket, or perched by the window (forehead peeled off, of course).
You know I like cheating now and again. As long as it is worth it, in terms of the quality of what is used. There are days for creating lots of clever mess in the kitchen whilst singing and chattering or quietly experimenting. Then, there are chilly nights where the blanket beckons. That’s what this recipe I am sharing with you is for.
To me, there is nothing like some chilli to kick start the insides on a cold day, but if it doesn’t turn your internal furnace on then leave it out or moderate the usage. Use this recipe flexibly…you can use vegetables other than what I have; you could use pasta instead of gnocchi. That’s my cheat-ready-made gnocchi. Oh, and the Harissa paste. Oh and sometimes I use miso soup sachets instead of vegetable stock. Use some good quality, ready-made gnocchi and get a spoon in that broth…quickly!
Red Lentil, Veg and Harissa Broth with Gnocchi
Ingredients to serve four
One large onion, diced
150g butternut squash, diced into bite sized chunks
4-5 leaves of Savoy cabbage, shredded
500ml of water or vegetable stock
Half a courgette, diced into bite sized chunks
Harissa paste to taste. I used 2 tbsp
Spices; salt and pepper to taste, 1/2tsp cumin seeds, 1/4tsp turmeric
100g red lentils
1. Cook the red lentils in plenty of water, until they are mushy in texture. His should take about 15minutes
2. In meantime, heat 2tbsp of oil in a deep bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds and turmeric. When the seeds crackle add the onion with the salt and soften the onion.
3. Stir in the butternut squash, savoy cabbage and courgette Cook fora couple of minutes before adding the red lentils and water. Season with pepper.
4. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked then stir in the Harissa paste.
5. Cook the gnocchi per the packet instructions and serve into bowls before bathing them in the broth. Serve and devour immediately.