Sorry–I’m afraid you’ll have to scroll a bit for the recipe today.
It’s been a rough few weeks.
I had such great plans for the new year! I’d signed up for a couple of online programs, one of which was an advanced vegan Rouxbe cooking course I was particularly excited about. And I was getting back on my healthy-living plan that I’d suspended for a week over Christmas!
We spent a lovely afternoon on New Year’s Eve with our neighbours drinking wine on their amazing patio and a relaxing New Year’s Day reading in front of the woodstove.
It was shaping up to be a blissful new year.
And then on January 2nd, we received news that my mum–in a care home in the Lower Mainland–had experienced a stroke in the night. But the wind was so bad on the island that ferries were cancelled and then the electricity (and internet) was for most of the day. By the time the electricity came back on, all ferry reservations were sold out for the next day. I decided to take a chance and took the first ferry off Denman on January 3rd. I arrived in Nanaimo at 8:00AM, but had to wait FIVE hours before I could get on a ferry because it was the Monday of a long weekend. Then, when my turn to board the ferry finally arrived…
…my car battery died.
I did–eventually–board and was able to spend the next several days with Em and Bid visiting my mum. Unfortunately, the weather continued to be uncooperative–it snowed heavily every day I was in Vancouver. However, the intrepid Bid (in what she calls her “urban assault vehicle”) managed to transport us to our mum’s care home every day where we played her favourite music in her good ear and belted out the songs she loved from old musicals, as well as songs from the 1970s that we used to sing with her back in the day. She was able to tell us she loved us and even to wish Johnny a happy birthday on Friday. On Saturday, Bid told her it was okay to go, and on Sunday evening, she did.
On Sunday morning, I remembered that when my mum’s best friend died, she saw a hummingbird and she thought, “That’s Marg saying goodbye,” because Marg loved hummingbirds. I wondered if our mum were to send a sign, what it would possibly be. Later that evening, shortly after I received word of her death, the James Taylor playlist I was listening to started playing Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane”–a song Bid and I had been singing to her all week–and I thought, “That’s Mum…saying goodbye.” How appropriate that her sign was a song, and what a perfect song with which to take her leave.
On my way home, I ended up getting stuck in Nanaimo overnight because of the snow, but eventually made it home through the snow and wind to our little cabin.
And then in the midst of making the various necessary arrangements after my mum’s death, I stupidly accepted a three-week subbing job in a subject I’d never taught (and on an online learning management system and a video conferencing app with which I was unfamiliar). We also had a few visitors over the month.
It was a stressful and exhausting five weeks, but today I was finally able to relax and do my favourite thing: cook!!
I was inspired by a dish James made when Em was visiting in mid-January and again when Annie came up with a friend for four days last week: Ottolenghi’s Curried Cauliflower Cheese Filo Pie. Ottolenghi’s recipe consists of oven-roasted curried cauliflower tucked into a filo-pastry pie and covered with a cheesy bechamel sauce.
I used this recipe from Tasteofhome.com as a source, but made some adjustments of course! I doubled the curry powder and spinach, replaced chicken breasts with chickwheat, and added some vegan chicken broth powder.
Creamy Vegan Chick’n Curry
- 1 lb. chickwheat, shredded into chunks
- 2 TBS curry powder
- 2 TBS vegan chicken broth powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped onion, large
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 packed cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup chopped grape tomatoes
Heat oil in pan and sautee onion for a few minutes.
Add the curry powder, vegan chicken broth powder, salt and pepper and saute for a few more minutes. Add chickwheat and continue to saute. Deglaze the pan with about a half cup of water, added gradually.
Add spinach and saute until wilted. Add tomato paste and coconut milk and stir until blended. Allow to simmer until curry thickens. Add tomatoes and allow to simmer until heated through–three or four minutes.
Serve with brown basmati rice, chutney, quick-pickled red onions, and baked pita bread! Oh, and what the hell, a nice big serving of air-fried curried cauliflower!
Airfried Curried Cauliflower
- 2 TBS curry powder
- 1 tablespoon safflower oil
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florettes
- 1/2 tsp salt
Toss the cauliflower with the oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Place on parchment paper in the airfryer. Airfry at 400 for twenty minutes.
Oh–and this is my new favourite pita recipe! I’m trying to eat less white flour, but whole-wheat pitas tend to be a bit tough (and as hard as the devil’s toenail once they cool). By the next day, they’re almost inedible. My recipe starts with a tangzhong made from white flour and almond milk, but the rest of the flour is whole wheat.
The tangzhong keeps the pita soft and pliable for at least two days! I put the recipe into my WW app to work out the points, so I’ll just post that here!
And the song of the day is for the lovely Kathleen (Gallagher) Pooley…
“Now the time has come to leave you
One more time
Let me kiss you
Then close your eyes
And I’ll be on my way”