Saturday, 5 February 2011

Simple loveliness

We are so thoroughly enjoying our Summer break.

No time limits.

No alarm clocks.

Staying in pyjamas all day.

Playing games that last all day.

Ice cream for breakfast & weetbix for dinner.

A revolving door of friends coming & going.

Not having plans & being able to seize opportune moments.

Moulding plasticine.

Lovely easy dinner times.

Playing twister & other old style games.

 I have said before that I am all for bringing back 'slow' childhood much like I am into slow cooking.  The idea of being mindful in what we do and how we spend time with our kids really appeals to me.  Trying not to miss the things that fill our soul.

Being a busy family is just that - busy.  But I am determined not to miss the good bits in amongst the busy-ness.  Idealistic I know...... but being aware that I need to be mindful is a start!

I try never to make dinner time a stressful event in our house.  Of course this doesn't always happen- there are times when I just want them all in bed & a little bit of 'me' time.  That is when a quick 'eggy dinner' or weetbix is my BEST friend!

But generally speaking I like the dinner table to be the time when most of us can sit together & share our day.  Generally the littlest ones have been dispatched but not always.  It's pretty hilarious hearing what the little kids highlights of the day were or their favourite joke of the day.  Let's face it 4yo's cannot tell a joke- but that is what makes it so fabulous.  They truly believe for that moment when all the family is listening to them take the stage-so to speak- that they are hilarious!  I love giving a 4 year old the stage.

Very often it is when the eldest children get a chance to talk at their real level of maturity which is difficult to do during their busy day surrounded by younger siblings.  It is the time when special thoughts are disclosed & shared.  It offers an opportunity to really connect with my children in a meaningful way undistracted by other things.  I like to set the table nicely & light candles (the kids LOVE this job).  I get the kids to choose the music- they understand the notion of what's 'good' music for dinner & always choose great music.  It shows that it is a time and place you value.  I love the idea of making dinner 'an event'.  It is one of the few times (if not ONLY) of the day when I sit down and take it slowly for a bit.  I love to share that with my children.

 Gorgeous moments to savour.

I'm not one for alot of rules in the household about what time things have to happen.  It helps me.  I couldn't ever be one of those mothers who washes the sheets on Thursdays & has dinner on the table at 6pm every night and everyone in bed by a certain time. Mind you I am a keen believer in well rested children so bedtime here is a lot earlier than most homes!

Getting them to bed is important.  But my spirit would be crushed if I lived so closely by the clock.  I would be a COMPLETE failure.......
It would feel like I was living one MONUMENTAL failed New Year's Resolution every day of my life!

I love the freedom that not having those constraints gives me.  I know it's not for all - but IT REALLY SUITS ME.

I especially love it when it's Summer holidays.

I love that sometimes we look at the clock & it's already 7 o'clock and we haven't had dinner because the kids are so engrossed in their games they have forgotten to hear their tummy grumbling.

Then it's time to bust out a quick dinner that fills that space & sends them off to dreams........

My last recipe was for a Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh). Click here to take you to that post.

Today I am going to share my vegie curries that I served alongside the lamb- they are both quick & easy.

A zucchini curry & a potato curry.

The ZUCCHINI is part of the recipe sharing idea called 'The chef & the mum' & this month's ingredient.  A few bloggers are sharing recipes with a selected seasonal ingredient.  There are links for you to check out the other recipes at the end of my recipe.

(thanks to Charmaine Solomon and her cooking bible "The complete Asian cookbook" I have been cooking this curry since I was about 11 and still loving it!)

you will need:
  •  500g zucchini cut into chunks.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of brown mustard seeds
  • 1 chili (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • s & p

Finely dice the onion (or blitz it).
Add the butter to a heavy based pan.  When melted add the onion & chili if u want it.  Cook till translucent.  

Add the mustard & cumin seeds and cook until you hear the wonderful sound of the mustard popping!  By this time the cumin will have released its magical perfume too.  YUM!

Now add the zucchini and stir through to coat in fabulous flavours.  Add the water and pop a lid on.  Cook for about 10 minutes or unitl the zucchini is cooked through.

Now get a stick blitzer and blitz the curry till it is a fabulous green puree & season.  It looks beautiful.

That's it!  I know it seems unusual pureeing a curry but you will not believe the wondrous flavour and how lovely it is to eat alongside other curries or just on it's own with rice & raita.  It is a real favourite of my children.  Especially with lovely crunchy puppadums!  


what you will need: 
  • 500g pototoes diced into 5cm chunks (i don't peel them)
  • 1 clove of garlic- crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh coriander
  • juice of half a lemon (optional)
  • 50g butter & a little oil (this stops the butter burning) or use Ghee
  • s & p

Use a non stick pan- it will give you great results without needing much butter & oil. 

On a medium heat melt butter & oil and add turmeric, cumin & mustard seeds until the mustard pops.

Add diced potatoes and fry on a low to medium till brown & cooked through.  This takes about 15 minutes.

Now add the garlic and cook for about a minute & turn off the heat.

Chop the fresh coriander & stir through. Season with salt & pepper & add the lemon juice if desired. (I love to- it adds to lovely fresh flavour.)

It is a really simple & very pretty curry and like the zucchini is great as an accompaniment or as a main.  You could definitely add other vegies too. 

Rogan Josh, Gooda Bartha (zucchini curry), Chat potatoes, rice & puppadums.

Click on the links below to check out what the other participants in "the Mum & the Chef" cooked up with their zucchini.

I loved cooking to David Bowie when I first started cooking at 10 & I still love cooking to him now! 
A favourite track.............ENJOY!


  1. Fabulous post! Gorgeous scrum-diddly-umptious photos. Fantastical clip of Mr Bowie. Well done. Did you see the doco children and play last night? It was fascinating...takes so little to get children to use their imaginations. The dress up box was always a massive hit at our place. A huge cane basket filled with all sorts...clothes, shoes, hats, fabrics, bags, jewels.; mostly from regular op-shop visits. Is it me, or has the dress-up box all but disappeared?
    And the joy of kids, and MY, favourite shop was not the toyshop, but the local independent bookstore where we would sit on the floor and read books in the childrens section and then struggle to decide which one to take home. And yes, early bedtime is imperative for all kids...well documented and researched. Time in their beds...not necessarily sleeping gives them the chance to have their private thoughts and some peace and alone-time and of course there is NOTHING like the time of day where you, as a parent get to collapse on to the couch vino in hand, knowing you have got yourself and your kids safely through another day! X

  2. WELL!!! Where do I start!! How fabulous is that? Our posts are so similar it's ridiculous!! Although you far outdo me for expanding on the topic. :-)

    I couldn't agree more on your points about dinnertime, and bedtime, and ensuring precious time to connect with each child. And about being mindful. MINDFUL!! Oh! for perfect mindfulness. But we will always be Good Enough, no matter what, won't we?

    And Indian food? I am sold. Will definitely be trying this one out, it looks delicious.

    @Frankly Feisty, dress-up boxes are alive and well in Ireland I can tell you! :-)

    Thanks, for a wonderful post, as always! C x

  3. Of course our dress up box is OVERFLOWING- also mostly fabulous op-shop finds and other ones I have sewn with joy as requested- such as a request from my eldest (then aged 4) for an Elvis in the Vegas years costume! And another from the same child for a boy fairy (because of course you could never buy one in the shops!) . I had THE BEST time sewing that- pink & chocolate felt with real bells & gold edges & golden wings fashioned form fabric stretched over wire coat hangers! Boy did we have fun! OK....maybe I had THE most fun!
    So lovely to have your beautiful feedback FranklyFeisty & Ciara.

  4. Oh! I feel like dresssing up. Well some would say I always do (having not been able to go past the hippie look, as you know.

    Going to try the delish zucchini - got some wonderful homegrown ones from my friend Rhonda yesterday. perfect. It'll be fab for thoses vego girls next week too!! Can't wait. Thanks a million, dear Ruth. Must bust out the Bowie too! How many time was that played during, before and after dinner???? xxxx Joma

  5. Loving this post for so many reasons! I love the idea of a slow childhood, so much so that my kidlets don't have one of those schedules where I rush them to a different activity every day. No activities scheduled at all, in fact, and we spend our time exploring and playing together. It's blissful.
    It was lovely reading about your dinners as even though my boys are 4, 3 and 1, I insist that they sit together for dinner - no toys, no one is excused early if they finish before the others. We talk about what their favourite thing for the day was and general things like what we'd like to do together. I'm hoping that it leads to the dinners when they're older that you now enjoy and we still share our lives, hopes and dreams over the family table. "Gorgeous moments to savour" truly is a great way to think of it.

    As for that recipe, yummo, can't wait to try it out. xx


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