I’ve been thinking a lot about minimalism of late. You may be familiar with the philosophy, it’s just based on the simple knowledge that less is more. Material clutter and stuff is touted as providing us happiness, but does it? The more stuff we have, the bigger a house we need, costing more money and getting into more debt. Which then makes us unhappy, so to remedy that, what have we been taught to do? Buy more stuff!
The reverse, minimalism, is like a breath of fresh air when you think about it. De-clutter. Get rid of the extras, don’t buy what you don’t need or that won’t bring you joy, subsequently have more space and money, and less debt, or none at all.
So, despite not yet really having done anything to action this philosophy, Ash and I have been slowly finding ourselves overcome with the desire to get rid of everything (keeping only the things we need or that have real personal significance). Imagine being able to pack a backpack and disappear overseas for a few years, without any real attachment to material goods back home!
Last week as I was happily thrashing my blender by pureeing raw butternut pumpkin into this delicious soup, the base motor died with a high-pitched squeal. This is actually the second time I’ve killed the poor thing. If there was an RSPCA for kitchen appliances, they’d be after me without a doubt.
Now I’m not a rich person, and I use my blender (and food processor, which runs on the same deceased base motor) intensively. So before doing anything rash, I’m sending an email through to Russell Hobbs requesting that they fix it under warrantee. Perhaps they could be so kind as to throw in a complimentary upgrade to an industrial-strength motor, but I won’t hold my breath.
Failing a replacement, I am going to see how I survive without it. Jules Clancy writes a wonderful post on The Stonesoup regarding a minimalist kitchen, and this concept appears regularly in her blog posts. This would mean forgoing homemade smoothies. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. But giving up clutter isn’t actually easy to do, and I’m not the type to talk about doing something without following through. So… anyone want to buy me a Vitamix? Kidding.
On another topic, here’s tonight’s recipe! A creamy, satisfying, mildly spiced stew of as many vegetables as I could find in the fridge and a handful of little dark puy lentils (a.k.a. French green lentils). Any vegetables would work, as would any legumes. Just be mindful of relative cooking times – so if you were using say, dried borlotti beans, you would probably need to pre-soak and pre-boil them before adding to the stew. Lentils are good because they cook quite quickly and don’t tend to need prior soaking.
Creamy vegetable and lentil stew (serves 4)
I used a mandoline to slice the carrot and potatoes, it makes the job so easy and creates beautifully shaved, uniform slices. If you don’t have one, a good knife and a steady hand will do the job just fine. Which is probably a more appropriate method given the theme of this post!
At the risk of sounding repetitive, again this is a recipe that just comes together with whatever’s in the fridge. Don’t stress about getting the vegetable mix exactly right, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. Red capsicum would be a lovely addition, as would broccoli.
- 1 onion, halved and sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped roughly
- 1 carrot, sliced thinly
- 2 medium potatoes, halved and sliced thinly
- 4-5 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 bunch chinese broccoli (this is very similar to English spinach), sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (I used tinned, makes life easy)
- 400g can of diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup puy lentils
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup natural unsalted peanut butter (the stuff that actually tastes like peanuts - I would suggest you make your own, like I often do, but that may well have been a contributing factor to the death of my food processor, so, your call)
- 2 tsp vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp minced jalepenos
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- plenty of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 150°C.
- Mix all the veggies in a casserole dish.
- Whisk coconut milk with peanut butter and stock, pour over veggies.
- Stir through the cinnamon and pop in the oven for an hour, stirring halfway through.
- After an hour, take out of the oven, stir in salt and pepper to taste, and put back in, uncovered for half an hour, again taking out to stir halfway through.
- Spoon, bowl, belly, yum.
p.s. I just received a call from Russell Hobbs, they’re replacing the part for me. Damn, now I’ve got to go break something else.
p.p.s. This week’s theme is Vegiehead! One of the most varied and wholesome vegan recipe blogs I’ve seen, and the author is Australian! Winner! No weird ingredients that I can’t find in my local supermarket.