As a cook, I’d say my forte is ‘gunge’. OK, it’s never going to win a beauty contest but the concoction is reliable and balanced. What more do you want from a lifetime companion?
I had covered the dried organic haricots beans with water, soaking them overnight. The next day, I struck a light under their pan’s bottom and let the beans simmer away in bubbling hot water for a good hour and a half.
I fried a whole onion (sliced) in olive oil and added a dried chili, finely sliced. Wait. Chili is important. I did not discover it until mid-life. If it passed me by, could it have passed you by too? If so, I beg you to experiment with the fiery creature. Let me know how you get on.
I then attacked the half of a butternut pumpkin loitering in a forgotten corner of the fridge and after peeling and de-seeding it, then cutting it in cubes, I hurled it into the frying onions. After that, I felt calmer. After adding more olive oil, I let it slowly braise with the onions (with Neil Basilo’s tips for unctuousness ringing in my ears), stirring it occasionally to stop the mixture sticking.
Typically, I then lost my focus and did something else. Not good for a dish. It feels neglected and doesn’t give its all. Realising the pumpkin had gone too soft, I quickly peeled, cubed and boiled a sweet potato in another pan. This flirtation with another veg produced fresh bright orangeness (although I felt a bit disloyal to the overcooked pumpkin). Then I assembled them all with the drained beans (see above).
When the time came to serve, I heated it all up again extremely hot with brown rice from the night before (always blast cooked-again food with bug-obliterating heat).
Having morphed into a kind of risotto and topped with some fresh organic leaves, the dish didn’t look half bad (see below) and tasted even better.
Voilà – a classic gunge. Everyday fare. Might not get a fanfare. But treats you fair.