It’s pumpkin time. It’s what they said to Cinderella. The clock struck midnight. The party is over. It’s time for it all to come to a close.
Nb, if someone could pass that message onto the large-burnished-winter-squash-sized stowaway that’s continually strumming on a a nerve that connects to my upper right thigh-I’d be most grateful.
It was two weeks ago that I first issued the ‘end of lease notification’. His tenancy was coming to a close. It was time to start packing up and wiping down the metaphorical benches. It started with herbs. Raspberry leaf extract – which rather than being delightful crimson nuggets I’d hoped for are in fact small capsules of suspicious fawn looking powder. Then there were long walks, encouraging words and some gentle acupuncture.
We’ve moved past that now. The things I murmur south are less encouraging ditties of ‘come on, you can do it’ and more akin to the phrases one might use to excise a teenager out of bed to get to school on time.
I am not a tardy person. Neither is The Hungry One. We will frequently have to sit in a car out the front of someone’s house for seven minutes so we don’t descend for a dinner invitation too early. There are frustrations that arrive with coming late to a party. For instance: the small blue and white flecked sheets that I made his bed up with weeks ago are getting a mite dusty. I’ve plum half forgotten all of the ‘calm birth’ exercises I aspirationally crammed into my head. I’ve had to raid my hospital bag four times now; for my good tracksuit pants, the brand new face cream I bought, a comfortable cardigan and for some snacks when I woke up at 4 am with a burning hunger and couldn’t be faffed to make it downstairs to the kitchen.
And beyond that; there’s just no more room in the freezer. We are completely stocked.
We’ve been passing time going for coastal ambles on the weekends. The Hungry One, bless him and his ignorance that it’s winter even went in for a swim on Sunday.
I’m also madly testing recipes for a new project that’s twinkling on the horizon- and trying to find people to consume the results (see above #firstworldproblem of there no longer being room in the freezer). I’m squatting against a wall, willing my legs to gain some extra strength, just in case it might help in the long run. And I’m answering a lot of loving emails, phone calls and text messages; love and affection, care and concern all wrapped up in a shared sentiment of ‘surely you’re in labour today?’.
At which point we turn to technology. One part of the small pink electronic device that keeps me connected to the world at 4.14 am when the Stowaway commences his morning callisthenics says yes.
But I can assure you; while I’m still blogging and instagramming things from my kitchen, it’s safe to assume that ‘Computer says no’.
And so now we’re turning to the old wives. Their tales speak of bouncing on balls, jostling car trips, getting amorous with your spouse (yet if pressed to think of a time that I’ve felt less frisky, it would have to be after major dental surgery)- and curry.
Lots of curry.
So, my little man, and you kind folk who have dealt with my dribblings over the past 40 weeks, I present you this pumpkin and chickpea curry for dinner. It’s got spice; plenty of it. It’s soft and yielding and slips down like a dream (which I’m hoping he will too). A little yoghurt and some pumpkin seeds on the side add sparkle and interest. It’s comforting- but not too placid- we don’t want anyone getting too settled in one spot. I know it might seem scary out here, but let’s be honest. He’s going to have to join us at some point.
And for those of us who are already having a grand time on the other side (and who still have some room)- it freezes pretty darn well.
Bring it on.
Pumpkin and Chickpea Curry
1 tbsp neutral flavoured oil
1 red onion, peeled and cut into small dice
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced or grated
1 piece of ginger, size of a wine cork, peeled and finely diced/grated
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tbsp turmeric
1-2 tsp chilli powder (depending on how hot you like things)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 ripe tomato, cored and diced
1 x 400 ml tin of coconut milk
1x 400 gram tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Optional 8-10 curry leaves
1 kg of pumpkin, peeled and cut into pieces the size of a matchbook
1/2 cup of water
Salt to taste
To serve: raita, pumpkin seeds/pepitas/ papadums.
Here’s how we roll
1) In a heavy bottom pan or Dutch oven place the oil over a medium heat. Sautee the onion with the garlic and ginger for 3-4 minutes until they have begun to soften.
2) Add the spices and stir to coat the onion and garlic.
3) Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
4) Add the tomato and mash the dice a little with your spatula, using the juice to help collect some of the flavour that’s caught on the bottom of the pan.
5) Add the coconut milk, chickpeas and curry leaves and stir well to combine.
6) Add the pumpkin and the water and turn the heat up to high. When the liquid comes to a boil, turn down and place the lid half on the pot. Cook at a blipping simmer for 45 minutes- an hour, until the pumpkin has softened and is becoming silken.
7) Remove the lid and cook at a simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste. Season well with salt. The salt will help to draw all the flavours in together. If you want more heat, you can always add some with chilli powder. If you’ve drastically overestimated how spicy you wanted it, you can always mute it with yoghurt.
8) Serve with a dollop of yoghurt or raita, papapdums and some pumpkin seeds/pepitas.
Forty Weeks of Feasting
Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.