Sharing an office with a 20-month old is anything but dull. Extreme vigilance is required if you don’t want to trip over a ball (or 5), books, pieces of Lego and wooden bricks, an old telephone, plastic trucks, a tub of Play-Doh and a xylophone. Just when I think he’s busy amusing himself with building Lego towers, I sneak off and place my bum on the swivel chair. Unfortunately, as soon I start navigating the PC with my mouse, the cursor suddenly jerks 180 degrees in the other direction as my right arm gets tugged by a little hand.
Don’t ask me what it means, because I swear the boy has devised his own language, called Afrish. While I speak Afrikaans to him and Neil English, neither of us understand him as yet. He’s on planet Gabriel.
Before I know it I’ll be sitting with him on the floor watching him play, because that’s what he wants me to do. As much as I would like to participate in NaBloPoMo one day, for now I can only cheer on the +10 000 insane bloggers like Jeanne from Cook Sister for doing it.
Spiced Chickpea, Carrot, Raisin & Cashew Rice Pilaf
Preparation: 15 mins – Cooking: 20 mins
Weight Watchers POINTS Per Serving: 5½
- 225g (8 oz) basmati rice
- seeds from 4-5 cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick, bruised
- 10ml (2 tsp) cumin seeds
- 2 bay leaves, bruised
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 5ml (1 tsp) grated fresh root ginger
- 5ml (1 tsp) turmeric
- 5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
- 1.25ml (¼ tsp) cayenne pepper
- 400g (14 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
- 50g (2 oz) raisins
- 750ml (1¼ pints) vegetable stock
- 30ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
- 5ml (1 tsp) salt
- 50g (2 oz) cashew nuts, toasted
- 30ml (2 tbsp) chopped fresh coriander
- fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish
- Wash the rice in a sieve under cold running water until it runs clear; set aside.
- Dry-fry the whole spices and bay leaves in a small frying pan for about 2 minutes until they start to pop and release their aroma.
- Peel and finely chop the onion; peel and dice the carrots. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrots and ground spices and fry for 10 minutes until the vegetables are golden. Add the dry-fried spice mixture to the pan with the rice and stir-fry for 1 minute until all the rice grains are glossy.
- Add the chick peas, raisins, stock, lemon juice and salt to the pan. Bring to the boil, stir once and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes, then take off the heat and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- Fork through the cashew nuts and coriander. Check the seasoning and serve at once, garnished with fresh coriander sprigs.
- Personally I enjoyed a generous dollop of plain yoghurt with this vegetarian meal.
- Instead of using canned chickpeas you can soak 200g (7 oz) of dried chickpeas overnight and boil them for about an hour or so until they are tender. Simply follow the rest of the recipe.