Sunday afternoons in Sydney are meant to be spent lazily, it’s almost mandatory, especially when our newly started winter season is unusually clement. Not that I am complaining but where have our Sydney winters gone? It seems that every year the winters get milder and milder. Could Mr. Gore be right about this inconvenient truth? Well, wherever it is our winter has run away to, it has given Sydneysiders the rare opportunity to enjoy a June weekend outdoors unladen with the burden of a thousand layers of clothing.
So what do you do when you have become locked away indoors working on a Sunday afternoon while everyone you possibly know is either lounging at home, or enjoying the Primo Italiano Food Festival?
The obvious answer would be to throw yourself a pity party and wallow in that pool of despair that you have created for yourself. Perhaps sit in a dark corner crouched in the foetal position passing the hours pondering on how much more pitiful your weekend can get. I know that’s exactly what I wanted to do every time I looked out the window, I could feel mother nature shining the sun in my eyes as if to spite me for not being outside to enjoy her good bidding. Nonetheless I was trapped, so the only thing to do was to bring my lazy Sunday lunch to work with me.
I found the perfect lazy recipe from Simply Recipes, that endorsed the philosophy that food needn’t be fussy to be tasty, namely “low-supervision, high-flavour”. That was exactly what I was looking for, for my lazy lunch at work. I had enough busy-ness throughout the day to be bothered with cooking a special meal, so this was made the night before and then packed in an airtight container ready to heated up and plated the next day. But what is a lazy lunch without a lazy dessert?
This brings us to a Donna Hay creation- Caramel Self-Saucing Puddings. There’s nothing better than a pudding that sauces itself. It does half the work for you. All you need to do is combine the ingredients for the batter, whisk up the sauce and pour it on top then bake. You have yourself a decadent dessert without all the fuss. They great thing about his pudding that it stays moist the next day, so a quick zap in the microwave (covered) brings it back to life.
Although the dishes were made the night before, they held up pretty well after a short stint in the fridge and then in the microwave. Of course if you decide to make this for yourself you won't have to wait all that time before you can actually enjoy it. But if ever you need to pack yourself some good food then this is definitely a great pick.
So as soon as the clock struck 12, noontime last Sunday, I bolted for the kitchen, got a few pieces of crockery to take my modest fare a fine dining experience, pulled out my latest piece of eye candy and pored over a great lunch and a great book.
Here’s to great lunches and lazy Sunday afternoons!
Chick Pea and Potato Curry
adapted from the book Hands Off Cooking
2½ cups vegetable stock
2 x 400g cans chick peas, drained
2 x 400g canned tomatoes
6 small chat potatoes, quartered
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tsp ginger, finely grated
1-2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
½ tsp whole cumin seeds
½ tsp while coriander seeds
In a large pot combine all of the ingredients, giving a quick stir to submerge potatoes into the stock.
Over medium heat, simmer the pot uncovered for about 35 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked all the way though and tender.
Add more salt if required.
Serve curry over some Jasmine or Basmati rice.
Caramel Self-Saucing Pudding
adapted from Donna Hay Magazine (issue 8)
¾ cup brown sugar
80g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups plain all-purpose flour, sifted
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup full cream milk
FOR THE SAUCE
1 cup boiling water
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1½ tsp plain all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 180°C.
To make the pudding, beat the sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and beat until combined.
Add the flour, baking powder and milk and beat until combined.
Spoon the mixture into a square ovenproof dish and place on a baking tray.
To make the sauce, whisk together the water, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup and flour until combined.
Spoon the sauce over the pudding batter and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and set.
Serve with cream or ice cream.