Jack Monroe really knows her onions kidney beans

This time I’ve .. borrowed from the UK’s national broadcaster, the BBC. Well, at least they spell “chilli” correctly !  [grin]

Jack Monroe is an extraordinary young woman, and has managed her sudden rise to culinary fame with simple aplomb. Also, she’s not a proselytiser about being vegan, and that causes my ancient heart to warm to her: veganism is so .. demanding. Perhaps I mean for an old fart ?

Anyway. I have just today discovered during seemingly endless browsing of pressure cookers, their pros and cons and the bewildering number of brands of the damned things, that I might be able to forget pressure cookers and simply use my microwave for fast cooking.

What ? — no, I didn’t ever think of it before. Why would I ?: that would completely ruin my spotless reputation for incomparable dickheadedness !

So I just tried the recipe below for my tea/dinner, even though I don’t have the dark chocolate in my pantry OR ANYWHERE ELSE IN THIS HOUSE ! she said before they could laugh scornfully. It works ! – it’s a really nice recipe !    :)

I believe I’ll get off my bum tomorrow morning and walk up to the bus that takes me to Woolies, wherein can be found many kinds of dark chocolate. And before you start again with the smartarse comments, I actually don’t like dark chocolate (but do have a weakness for white ..); so I shan’t be stuffing it into my cakehole in handfuls.

Oh: two important points !

  1. If you, like me, have a fairly ancient and not frightfully powerful microwave, double each cooking time mentioned, OK ? It’s still going to be under ten minutes’ cooking.
  2. Use a container much bigger than the end volume, to accommodate .. ah .. increase in size.



  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, chopped very fine
  • knob of butter
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes (or more, to taste)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes, drained (and juice reserved)
  • 400g can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ vegetable stock cube
  • 2 squares dark chocolate


  • Put the onion, garlic and butter in a microwaveable container, give it a quick stir, then heat in the microwave on High for 30-40 secs. Leave to stand for 1 min, then add the spices, sieved chopped tomatoes, beans, stock cube and 1 square of the chocolate.
  • Cover with cling film and pierce 3 times. Place some kitchen paper under the container and cook for 2 mins on High. Stir well and leave to stand for 1 min.
  • If your chilli starts to dry out, add some of the reserved tomato juice.
  • Add 2nd piece chocolate; cover and cook on Medium for a further 2 mins. Give it a good stir and allow to stand for 1 min before serving, topped with sour cream (or whatever floats your boat) on rice.

Recommended. But then, I wouldn’t post it if I hadn’t liked it, would I ?

Another ripper of a vegetarian recipe !

.. she said modestly ..

Lifted it from our national broadcaster the ABC. They should live so long.

I’m hoping this one is acceptable to the tum of my much-admired blogger, Whispering Gums.  Hers is a sensitive organ and can give her a hard time unless she anticipates said contrariness. Fingers crossed ..

Sweet Potato Curry with Chickpeas and Baby Spinach


  • 1½ tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  •  ½ onion, finely diced
  •  2 tbsps garlic & ginger paste<*>
  •  1½ tsp ground cumin
  •  1 tsp ground turmeric
  •  1 tsp ground cinnamon
  •  ¼ tsp chilli flakes (or more, to taste)
  •  2 tbsps peanut butter – either kind
  •  500g sweet potato, cut into 3 cm – I prefer 1″, to be honest – chunks
  •  1 can full fat coconut milk
  •  1 cup vegetable stock
  •  1 can chickpeas, drained
  •  120g baby spinach leaves
  •  ½ a lemon
  •  salt


  • Heat the oil over low-medium heat in a heavy-based pot. Add the garlic and ginger paste<*> and cook for until fragrant. Add the onion and salt and cook until the onion softens.
  • Add spices and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds (heat but don’t burn them), before adding the peanut butter and stirring in.
  • Add the sweet potato to the pot and stir to coat it in the spiced onion mixture, before adding the coconut milk, stock and chickpeas.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring every so often, until the sweet potato is tender (about 15’).
  • Just before serving, add the spinach and the juice of half a lemon and stir in.
  • Taste and add any additional salt or lemon juice as required.

Serve over cooked rice.

No tomatoes, see ? – but some greens !  I know I’m not eating enough greens right now: I shall have to find recipes that include them.


<*>garlic & ginger paste is easily found, and it does away with so much faffing about !

My music: the ’60s and ’70s

Today a new category, because I can.

Blogging is about putting one’s thoughts out there: whether or not others like them is actually not key – not by any means. One posts, enjoying the doing; and if followers or passing strangers come across the words and derive their own enjoyment, so much the better. But if no-one passes, or if no-one likes the content, the blogger isn’t fussed. It’s all footprints in the sand, and the tide comes and goes ..

I don’t at this moment have A Plan: I mean, I could feature a particular singer or group for any musical post ..

But today it’s a particular song.

“Blackbird”, by Paul McCartney.

It’s a truly beautiful song, and McCartney’s delivery is simple and moving.

But then, by chance, I came across another version. This is the one that takes me back to those times when I was young, although Crosby Stills & Nash are singing it here in contemporary times.

It hasn’t failed to bring tears to “these sunken eyes” since I found it.

Garden’s coming on   :)

I took some shots this-morning, before it got hot. Well, hot-tish.

Here are two from the side garden: first is Phyllis the epiphyllum oxypetalum who, in spite of appalling lack of care from moi (most of which consisted of moving her pot depending on sun), insists on flowering. I’ve already had a beauty, and as you can see she is about to produce a motza of ’em !

I will confess to being a bit puzzled by the long thin stalk; but it does remind me of what this extraordinary plant looked like when my friend D first gave her to me .. Am I going to get a kind of whole new plant, then ?!

Second are my new prides and joys, the trio of herbs. Beautiful Debra, turn your eyes this way, please !: here you see the curry leaf tree in all its teeny weeny beauty, as well as a long red chilli plant and a Tuscan rosemary. The people in that on-line shop up in Queensland really know what they’re doing: you should’ve seen the way the herb plants were packed ! Plus, they sent a video to show me how best to prepare for them; and a subsequent email of helpful hints after they’d arrived.

The only other thing in that frame you’re allowed to look at is a small passing moggy. He is definitely worth looking at; only it happened so fast that I was unable to take proper advantage.

So: out to the front gardens. First on the extreme right is what will one day be a wonderful attraction for bees (of both kinds, I very much hope) – the ceanothus. It don’t look much right now; but it is very much larger than when it was planted:

As for all that hose stuff, it’s where my friend S is working her butt off to enable a hose to be threaded through the fence so as to be attached to my tap – as up to now I’ve been using the public tap in the ‘lawn’ out front. S came by later and finished the job, btw: I can tell you that having friends like that is A Very Good Thing !

Then the rose garden with .. bugger it ! – the name’s gone. It’ll come back. Aha – bacopa ! Told yer !

The bacopæ are not at their best right now, but they keep flowering and stopping flowering, flowering and stopping flowering; so I am not one iota concerned.

And the front bit is in the process of having me stick in another plant – that’s what the seat and tools are about. It will be a salvia that’s currently growing in my big planter in the side yard:

See how well the gazania is doing ? – there will definitely be some of those gorgeous dark bronze flowers ere long – can hardly wait ! And the daisy has come from a cutting I kind of faffed around sticking in, which took. Amazing. The little lavendar has mauve buds on; and the two ‘geraniums’ just keep on with their wonderful red blossoms. I shall transplant also the terrific butterfly bush also currently in the big planter: it needs its soil to be emptied and a new lot put in.

Et maintenant au pièce de résistance .. the native garden.

From right front: the silver thingy (at least I got it into shot this time !); the geraldton wax; the correa ‘Dusky Bells’; the eutaxia; the—  bum. Must look this up (again) .. Yep – goodenia ovata; otherwise known as .. poop ! – the hop plant. Horrible name; and lastly a ground-hugging grevillea.

From the left back (ignoring Rolando’s stuff that starts with something white) is the callistemon – not dead after all; another one I don’t know the name of; and just past the last window another one I don’t know the name of. Sorry about all this ignorance. I will get my research done, promise.

In the middle are a dampiera, of which you can see barely more than the name-card; another one I don’t know the name of; slightly back another grevillea; a prostanthera and just seen beyond that, all yellow flowers, another one I don’t know the name of. Oh, I could SPIT !

I’m going to have to spend an awful lot of time trying to find images of all these unknown ones. I am a dickhead, no doubt about it. (I put the names of those I do know into the tags so that I look as if I’m knowledgeable. I’m not.)

But I love my gardens !

P.S.: the yellow flowering one is a chrysocephalum apiculatum, and it’s a really interesting one. My friend S made me buy it because she has one she loves; but mine has flowers that are like doubles ! – haven’t seen any images like mine on-line ! Oh; and the silver thingy is a calocephalus brownii. I’m gettin there ..

P.P.S.: the blue/grey/green one against the wall under the l.h. window is Dianella caerulea ‘Cassa Blue’. ONLY TWO TO GO !    :)



If only we’d turn to our first nations ..!

That’s a really interesting article if you haven’t previously read about how our Aboriginal peoples handle fire.

And if you have, it will make you hope that this bloke’s voice, and the voices of all his brothers and sisters, are heard by our ludicrously denialist (?) government.

On the topic of this latter group, I was included in a ‘pass it around’ email bewailing the way we have been treating our Prime Minister during this terrible time of the fires. I scanned the first few par.s and concluded that if the bloke who wrote it wasn’t involved in social networking, he wouldn’t have reason to be so indignant. Then I thought: “how in the name of all the gods can he wax so offended by the rage felt against the government, at a time when both federal and state members were found to be overseas on holidays while their country burned ?”, and answer came there none.

Apparently, though, this writer’s beef is just about Smoko: what a good-hearted bloke he is, what a good man all ’round, etc., etc.

Well, gritting my teeth (yes, I still have ’em), I’m obliged to admit that I’m just as guilty as is that bloke (whose name raises no recognition in my ancient thinking) with regard to chucking my political opinions in readers’ faces. And it concerns me that readers passing by MRSMRS may be rendered just as choleric by ’em.

Anyone to whom this applies, PLEASE tell me so ! That’s what the comments space is for.

Oh, YUM !

Cooked this last night, having included another packet of fiendishly expensive Cyprus Halloumi in my Coles delivery order –

And btw, please note:

From experience I can say that anything else isn’t of necessity rubbish, but in general a bit less solid. Chacun (à) son goût. Including whether to use the preposition.

Two packets are a bit more than required, and I did have difficulty getting it all marinated .. should’ve left some out.    :\

Spiced haloumi pasta


  • 300g cooked short pasta (Too much, imnsho: I used 275g, and frankly it should be 250g. Penne lisce are my go-to short pasta.)
  • 400g haloumi
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10 fresh curry leaves (I dropped in a number of dried ones)<*>
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsps chopped parsley


  • Cut the haloumi into 1cm cubes. Toss it in 1 tbsp oil and all of the dry spices.
  • Heat the other tbsp oil in a large (and deep !) frypan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the haloumi and curry leaves, and cook until haloumi is golden. (This is problematical, inasmuch as it’s just been tossed in turmeric .. I played it by ear)
  • Add the tomatoes and chilli flakes, then bring to the boil.
  • Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Stir in the pasta and cook until heated through.
  • Remove from the heat and stir through the parsley.
  • Divide among bowls and serve with mango chutney.

My change for next time will be to (1) add another half tin of tomatoes: were you to cook this exactly as listed, definitely use TWO cans ! – and, almost more importantly, to (2) use a bigger bloody pan !!!

I was amazed at how delicious this recipe is ! Throughout the evening, in fact, I kept hoping that Boodie would get off my lap so that I could return to the scene of the crime, the pan of .. THIS STUFF, and have another forkful.

Alas that I have no idea how it’s going to re-heat: I think I’ll have to add some evoo and stir it in well. But in spite of reducing the amount of pasta – thank heavens ! – and of having nibbled at it several times, I have another three meals in storage thinggies in the fridge.

BIG success !   :)

Update !

It reheated in the microwave brilliantly: I didn’t even need to stir it ! Must’ve been the spiced oil, of course .. D’ohhh ..

Now only two meals left.



<*>I must find out how to grow a curry leaf plant !