By Dr. Jackie Gardner-Nix
With a Landmark birthday for me landing on St. Patrick’s Day, my family – children, grandchildren, sister, brother-in-law and 92 year-old mother-in-law – were due to descend on our home the following Saturday, from Montreal, Ottawa, Scarborough, and Guelph. It was supposed to be a “Big Deal” birthday. But then came COVID-19 restrictions!
Adaptability is something I cultivate. We switched to a small Birthday cake with fancy gold candles, and described instructions for, and sent to each household, a Zoom link – the video platform we use a lot for our work online. The households were a bit resistant, citing other platform options, but we had varying handheld devices and computers, which Zoom would suit best. Eventually they all complied!
And so it was, with four households on my computer screen, my husband videotaping, and grandchildren poised, virtually, to watch me blow out my candles, we came together to sing Happy Birthday. My seven year old grandchild (Ottawa) asked what was my wish and her aunt (Montreal) said it needed to be wishing for COVID-19 to be dealt with fast – a good suggestion!
With daughters who are vegetarian and celiac, the following recipe would have been one of the offerings at the in-person party that did not happen – nourishing, easy to serve, gluten-free, and not at all bland. Great to freeze too – we will have that party later.
Chick Pea Curry
This recipe makes 8 servings
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1 yellow or red pepper
- 2 Tbsps oil
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 Tbsps ginger puree
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 x 400ml cans tomatoes
- Vegetable stock: 1 to 2 cups as needed
- 2 medium red or yellow potatoes cut into chunks
- 2 medium chopped carrots
- 200ml can coconut cream
- 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or date puree
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- In a large pan cook onion, pepper, garlic and ginger in the oil.
- Stir in spices and salt.
- Add potatoes and carrots.
- Add tomatoes and heat until simmering, topping up with stock as needed.
- Add drained chickpeas.
- Place in a slow cooker for 4 hours on high, if using; or continue on with stove top, simmering until vegetables are cooked, about 20 minutes.
- Ten minutes before serving, stir in the coconut cream as well as the honey or maple syrup or date puree.
- Add the spinach and allow to wilt.
- Serve over rice or couscous.
Consider using the rest of the coconut cream left from a can on granola, cereal, or fresh fruit.