I’m sitting on the couch listening to Ben and Joan play downstairs. It’s Sunday and we’ve just been out for brunch with my brother. Joan didn’t feel like napping on the way to the city, choosing instead to serenade the various toys Ben kept passing her throughout the trip. I was worried bubs would be a mess at the cafe but she made it through the meal without a fuss, cheerfully sharing a green smoothie with me and eating a decent portion of her scrambled eggs. On the way home, however, it was clear Joan was overtired and as a result she didn’t nap particularly peacefully. Eventually we got thirty minutes of quiet snoozing, but when I say quiet, I do mean listening to “Mr Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose!” on repeat, because that’s what she finally fell asleep to and Ben didn’t dare turn it off. By the time we were home, Joan was awake and grizzling for freedom, and Ben had gone a little nuts, humming “Mr Peter Rabbit” to himself over and over. My coffee-high had worn off and I was feeling tired and slumpy.
Inside, my attempt to get our lady back to sleep failed (she was far too wide eyed for that). I told Ben I needed a few moments and slumped on the couch with my computer. He lay on the floor with Joan, encouraging her in whatever activity she was doing with sleepy sincerity, while I sat and wrote. Occasionally I’d stop to hear “You found Mr Boing Boing?! Great job!”… and … “Good walking, baby!”… and … “Hang on a second bubba, don’t lift the vent from the floor”. Listening to my two people, I lost track of what I was wanting to write in the first place and ended up making notes about our now. I suppose all I really wanted was a bit of time without another person, baby or other, needing me. Little breaks like that, even 10 minutes, are good for my head, particularly if we’ve had multiple nights of restless, wakeful sleep. My eyes and body are still heavy, but sitting here I feel somewhat restored, like my tank is a little more full because I stepped back, slumped and observed how truly great my now is. “Mr Peter Rabbit” continues to play in my head, but I’ll deal with that. Perhaps I’ll pop on some tunes, lately we’ve been loving this song, this one too. And I might cook, something completely easy and completely nourishing that gives us leftovers. That will make me feel good. Maybe a pot of curried quinoa with chicken broth and chunks of pumpkin. At the end I’ll throw in some kale and chickpeas. Mmmmmm, sounds good. But first I think I’ll gather my two people and our hats and we’ll go for a walk, a slow one, the kind where we collect leaves and stop to wave at the birds.
Curried Quinoa with Chickpeas
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium cloves garlic
3-4 teaspoons curry powder*
1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
550g pumpkin, cut into 2cm cubes
1 cup peas
2 handfuls kale, thinly slices
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 handfuls shredded chicken**
fresh coriander, to serve
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to serve
* Cut the spice down if you like things more mild. I use this brand of spices. Joan has been introduced to spice gradually and regularly and seems to really like the flavour, particularly dishes that use ginger and cumin.
** chicken is entirely optional, but works really well and is easy if you’ve got some leftover from making broth. We bought a charcoal chicken from the shops one night and I added it to the leftovers pictured above, along with a little more water. It was so good and comforting.
1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan/dutch oven over low heat. Add the onions and a tiny pinch of sea salt, and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and sticky.
2. Add the garlic, curry powder and ginger and cook for a minute or so until fragrant. Add the quinoa and stir to coat, then add the pumpkin and stir again.
3. Turn up the heat, add the stock and cook for ~7-10 minutes until the pumpkin is becoming almost forkable. Add the frozen peas and cook for a further ~3-5 minutes until the peas are almost cooked through. Add the kale and chickpeas and cook for a minute (add the chicken at this point if using).
4. Serve with fresh coriander, a squeeze of lime juice if you have it, and a squirt of sriracha or tamari if that floats your boat. I once added tamari-roasted pepitas and that was goooood.