Humans can have boring eating habits, have you ever noticed that? They can happily eat the same thing over and over again for days or even weeks in a row, but surely that can’t be too much fun?
Well, here at Bistro Gerard, things are totally different. I often get bored with eating the same thing all the time, and that’s why my food preferences change at least on a weekly basis. This way I get to experience the best of this season’s produce, and I also keep my Mummy and Daddy on their toes with regard to what I’m eating every day. There’s a nice little game that I play with Mummy and Daddy, called “What’s Jerry Been Eating Today?” This is how you play it:
One day, you choose one type of vegetable or fruit (for instance zucchini or apple) on your plate and you eat lots of it – in order to be convincing, you have to (nearly) finish the entire piece(s) that your Mummy gave you. This will make Mummy and Daddy think: “Jerry really likes zucchini/apple, so we’ll give him lots more tomorrow”.
And – surprise, surprise – what are you going to find in your breakfast bowl the next day? Lots of zucchini or apple, of course. And here comes the funny bit: you don’t have any of your previous day’s favourite food, you just choose something else instead and eat as much of that as you can. Then, you can have lots of fun by watching Mummy and Daddy asking: “What’s Jerry been eating today? Oh no, he didn’t have any zucchini or apple today!!! What do you think he might like tomorrow?” He-he-he…Neugh-neugh-neugh
But I digress again…. At the moment, I absolutely adore pumpkin and do not miss any opportunity to have some. Luckily, the nice people who pack our weekly fruit and vegetable boxes are so eager for my produce reviews that they always send me some for sampling
Last night here at Bistro Gerard we were trying to come up with an interesting mash recipe – don’t you find the old potato version too boring? – to go with grilled fish and steamed greens. So, after chewing my way through the edges of several cookbooks, Mummy and I came up with the following recipe:
Chickpea and Pumpkin Mash
300 g cooked chickpeas (or one 400 g tin)
300 g pumpkin, roughly chopped
1 medium sized potato, diced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
150 g tomato puree
60 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) chicken or vegetable stock
1 small chilli, finely chopped (or 1 tsp chilli flakes, or 1 tsp chilli paste)
1/2 tsp cumin
100 g baby spinach
125 g quark
Heat the oil in a pressure cooker or a heavy-based pan. Add the onion, chilli and garlic and fry for 5 – 7 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the chickpeas, diced pumpkin and potato, tomato puree, cumin and stock and bring to the boil.
If using a pressure cooker, lock the lid in place and bring to pressure. Then reduce the heat to low and cook for 6 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave for another 5 – 7 minutes to ensure the potato is cooked through, then depressurise.
If using a regular pan, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender. Add more stock if necessary. Puree the whole mixture in a food processor or with a hand held blender. Gently fold in the baby spinach and quark (you can substitute 3 – 4 tbsp of sour cream), and season to taste with salt and pepper. You should end up with something looking like this:
Makes 4 serves.
And, if you have a sweet beak the way I do, you can finish your meal with some lovely fresh fruit: