Spicy New Year

Happy New Year – a bit belatedly.

It has been an incredibly productive summer break – not at all the down time we had planned, but satisfying all the same. Commissioning the pizza oven was the chief highlight, of course. Other highlights included:

  • catching up with various long-lost friends (over pizza)
  • harvesting lots of summer veg (for pizza) and fruit
  • installing and completing the bike shed (overlooking the pizza action)
  • sheet mulching the last of the backyard (no pizza involved…!!??)
  • digging out couch/kikuyu grass from the perimeter of the backyard and gradually getting closer to completing the raised garden beds there…
  • planning an irrigation system for my Mum’s garden
  • setting up the control systems for our own irrigation system (more on this from Andrew later)

‘Tis now the season of the eggplant – ours have just about taken over a raised garden bed built of masonry blocks to the north of the house, where they stay warm all winter and just keep on flowering. The fruit is beginning to weigh down the bushes now. Having smothered pizzas with them, roasted them and chopped up the soft gooey flesh in middle-eastern salads, and started giving them away, last night I turned to The Curry Solution. Yes, another one of those forgiving, throw-in-any-veg answers to what to do for dinner. This was a red one and here’s how it goes…

RED THAI VEGETABLE CURRY (serves 4-6)

  • Basmati rice
  • 2 Tbsp Red Thai curry paste
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 medium eggplant, cut into thick strips, salted, rinsed and drained
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow capsicums cut into long strips
  • handful Thai basil leaves
  • splash of fish sauce
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp light olive oil

Put basmati rice on to cook in saucepan or rice cooker. Cut sweet potato and carrots and steam until just tender. Set aside in steamer. Rinse out and reheat bottom saucepan. When dry, heat olive oil in saucepan and fry onion till soft. Add rinsed and drained eggplant and curry paste. Stir till eggplant is coated with curry paste. Add coconut milk, bring to the boil and turn down to simmer. Add capsicum strips and palm sugar (grated/chopped finely). Cook until eggplant is tender, then add steamed vegies and frozen peas. When peas are done, turn off heat, stir in fish sauce to taste and basil leaves. Serve with steamed rice.

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