Sunday Night Special... Potato, Yam and Spinach Curry

Here's to Firetrucking RED Poppies.
Here's to it being warm enough to really want to have a beer in between job #1 (school teaching) and job #2 (home teaching).
Here's to actually doing it.
Here's to hearing this voice on the radio this morning.
Here's to things not always working the first time and still going back to it again.
Here's to having tomatoes and beans fresh from the garden (in about 5 weeks).

Here's to 8 more days of school - give or take - and being a total bum after that.
Here's to biking to work in the morning and being HOT when I get there.
Here's to Sunday nights that stretch on and on because it stays light outside until all hours... and I subsequently forget that I have work the next day and totally enjoy myself.
As of now Sunday nights are about enjoying the fact that an evening doesn't stop at 7pm, that I can sit outside without a jacket and not freeze my ass off, that friends can enjoy it all with you and that summer is God's way of rewarding us for a job well done... ie. surviving another bloody winter.

In the midst of all the crazy try not to miss the moments... reading a book to your kid before work, taking a minute to actually put on lip gloss, stopping to listen - I mean really listen - to what your friend is saying, truly enjoying that cold bubbly beer as it's going down.
I'm just in that kind of mood right now, what can I say.  It's probably because I had the beer (see above). I often wonder though whether in 20, 30, 40 years whether we'll be happier about our accomplishments or about the mistakes we made and what we learned through them.  Just sayin'...

Potato, Yam and Spinach Curry
serves 4 - 6

3 medium potatoes chopped into thick chunks
2 med/large yams chopped into thick chunks
1 onion, diced
1 rib of celery, diced
3 lg cloves of garlic, crushed
1 bunch of spinach (about 4 cups or a little more), washed and roughly chopped
1 can of chickpeas, drained (reserve the liquid)
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp of Madras (mild or hot) curry paste
3 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
dash of cardamom, cinnamon and coriander

Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add in some oil (your choice) and begin to saute the onion and celery.  Cook for a few minutes and then add in the garlic, the potato and the yam.  Cook together for another 5 minutes or so.
Add in the spinach and the chickpeas and turn the heat down to med/low.
In a small dish mix together the curry paste, garam masala, turmeric, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander until it forms a thick paste (use a little chick pea liquid to get the paste).  Add the paste to the vegetables and mix well.  Add in the coconut milk and mix.  Add just enough of the reserved chick pea liquid to almost cover the vegetables.  Mix well.

Turn down to low and let it simmer for about 20 min or until the potato and yam are cooked through.
Serve on it's own or with rice or Naan.

Blueberry Orange Angel Food Cake

Calling all gardeners.
My garden sucks... please help me.
Ok, I'm being a total drama queen here.  It's mostly doing ok it's just the seeds that I put in that are sucking.  My zucchini seeds haven't taken at all.  Only one plant started to peak through the ground and the next day it was dug up by a stupid squirrel.  I even followed the directions on the stupid seed packet, Geez.  My carrot seeds haven't faired much better.  So far I've only gotten a handful of seedlings and I planted a whole packet.  I'm not sure what I've done wrong.  I seem to have consistently bad luck with zucchini - a few years in a row now - but the carrots, that's a new one.  I'm trying to stay focussed on the positive.  My beans and tomato plants are going gangbusters and my herbs are doing well (parsley, chive, basil, dill and oregano).  It's not a complete failure but the stupid zucchini/carrot crap is really bumming me out.  I've gotta figure something else to plant there so that I'm not constantly looking at this bare patch of ground with nothing happening on it.
This whole garden 'thing/crap/bum/downer' got me to thinking though.

Just a little while ago I was emailing my friend C back and forth.  She is holding down the fort while B works out of province.  Right now she's swamped with a very large garden and a small orchard to tend.  I have volunteered to come up every couple of weeks to help out with things.  I can't wait to get my hands in there and learn some gardening chops from a serious gardener... plus, I'll bet that she has carrots and zucchini coming up.
I've got a strawberry season coming up too so C and I are going to pick together and then do some jammin' ... that sounds funny.  I'm still working at clearing out my freezer.  I'm obviously not working hard at it though because I've been at it for a while and I've got a small freezer... and remember, I'm not a horder.  Anyway, slow and steady wins the race after all.  I pulled out a container of egg whites and a bag of frozen blueberries and I don't want to think about how long the blueberries have been hibernating in there Please.  I know that I have to try making meringues or something with egg whites - maybe a 'pavlova' but at the moment when the egg whites and the blueberries were in my hand something magical happened.  And then I was making this....

I think that my angel food cakes still come out looking weird.
So I'm now feeling better about my garden blank spot (thanks for the blog therapy) and looking forward to helping my friend and wondering what the hell is going to come out of my freezer next.

Blueberry Orange Angel Food Cake
adapted from

1 1/2 cups egg whites
1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/8 cup cake flour
zest of one orange
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (tossed in flour)

juice of one orange
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 3    degrees F.
Grease and flour a tube pan.
Combine the cake flour, sugar, salt and cream of tartar.  Sift the mixture four times in total and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites until they form peaks and have at least doubled in volume.
Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg whites using a big whisk.  Add in the orange zest and whisk a little more.  Fold in the floured blueberries.
Gently pour the batter into the tube pan, running a knife through the batter to remove air bubbles.
Bake for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the pan (the sides of the cake should be completely pulling away from the pan).
Combine the juice and the sugar.  Simmer over med/low heat for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens to a syrup.  Pour over the cooled cake.

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Bread

I think that I can now announce with confidence that my yeast fears are behind me.  I hope.
Admittedly, I have kinda set myself up though.  I have organic bread from Ace Bakery delivered via my food box every other week.  I was finding that we weren't getting through an entire loaf each week.  Might have been just a phase.  Maybe all things like this are a phase.  Either way, right now we are in a bread eating phase... school lunches, toast and jam, toast and honey.  It means that we're getting through more bread now than we have all through the school year.  I know it's weird but the upside is that I've made more bread.

Am I totally happy with my bread?  Do I feel like it's awesome and rises so high and tastes mind blowingly different and all that crap?  No and No.  It's bread people.  I make it and it tastes like bread.  It's not the biggest loaf going but it fills a whole (I'm really not selling this here).  I guess that what I'm trying to say is that because I don't have a big bread obsession that I don't really care if it's the best bread in town.  It's bread.  It gets sliced and then stuff is put on it to make it taste even better.  There.
Having said all that.  This bread upped the ante a little.
Mixing the oatmeal and sugar together first and then soaking it for a while was a really cool idea and made for a sweeter loaf with a nice chewing texture (I'm not sure if that's a real turn of phrase or not).  I'd make it again.
The bigger deal is that I'm making my own bread.  It's not hard.  It's really not.  The kneading part is like 10 minutes at the most - I doubt that I did it for that long.  I'm just using plain old all purpose flour, nothing fancy.  I'm not going out of my way by doing anything extraordinary... just some flour, yeast and liquid.  And you know what?  It's a nice feeling, that 'bread rising and then baking in the oven' feeling.  Baking a loaf of bread feels substantial and almost subversive at the same time.  That's a weird combo, I know.
If you decide to give it a try, making that loaf of bread you've been thinking about for so long, then let me know what it feels like for you once it comes out of the oven and doesn't suck.  It's good to share these things.  If you have a recipe for two loaves (like this one) then you could do more than just share your feelings.

Oatmeal Brown Sugar Bread
'More with Less' Cookbook
makes 2 loaves

1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups boiling water

1 pkg yeast (not instant)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water

5 cups all-purpose flour

Combine the oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt and boiling water together in a bowl and set aside for about 15 min.  Letting it cool to room temperature or so.

meanwhile combine the warm water, sugar and yeast together.  Set aside for 10 minutes to proof (it will smell yeasty, get very foamy and double it's volume.
In a large bowl combine the oat mixture and the all purpose flour.  Mix until the two are well incorporated. Add in the yeast mixture and combine.
Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 - 10 minutes.  Place in a buttered bowl, cover with a clean cloth and let it rise in a draft-free spot for 1 hour or until doubled in volume.
Punch the dough back down and shape the dough into two loaves.  Place each in a greased loaf pan, cover with a clean cloth and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the loaves for about 35 - 35 min. or until golden on the top.  Remove from the over and brush a little butter over the top.  Cool about 20 minutes before slicing.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

My Favourite Cookbooks

  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
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About Me

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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