I spent this weekend on Saltspring Island visiting my folks and playing with their new Suffolk lambs that were born last week. Lambs are very docile within the first few weeks, letting themselves be picked up and cuddled; but they’re voraciously hungry, nibbling on clothing, shoelaces, an extended finger, or the dog’s tail. Thankfully, my mom’s sheep are for wool only, not for serving with mint sauce. She would just as soon make a stew from her Golden Doodle than send her sheep down the Green Mile.
My sister has been sick for a few days, so my mom proposed a cooking marathon on Sunday to prepare some healthy food to bring over. Cooking there is always a pleasure, except when baking is involved; my mom’s Aga stove, with its many compartments of varying temperatures, perplexes me and thwarts any attempt to adhere to standard cooking times. She has an immense, well-lit kitchen with ample counter space and breath-taking ocean views. Every few hours a ferry will trod past, weaving in and out of the Gulf Islands, or a pair of eagles will careen in the wind as they eye up waterfowl.
This healthy and tasty meal has loose ties to a recipe my mom found in the Flat Belly Diet book that’s she’s been carrying around like a holy text. She’s been on a fitness kick for the past few months and has been very proud of the results. The epitome of modest, when someone comes to visit she’ll say something like “Feel my arms,” as she flexes her biceps and scowls. “The beach is that way.”
We’ve added the yogourt here, for a healthier alternative to coconut milk, and the pineapple gives the dish a surprisingly sweet taste that compliments the heat of the curry. Enjoy!
Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 tsp curry powder
1/2 medium yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped small (1 1/2 cups)
4 tbsp plain yogourt
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup fresh, chopped pineapple
1/2 tbsp chilli pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste
2 cups baby spinach, stems removed
1. In a large frying pan or saucepan, heat up the oil on medium-high heat. Add the curry powder with the onions, garlic and ginger and saute until the onions are translucent and the curry powder is heated and beautifully fragrant.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and yellow pepper and stir for 5 minutes, then add the yogurt, chick peas and pineapple chunks. Stir and let cook for 12-15 minutes on medium heat. Add the salt and pepper, then mix.
3. Add the spinach and mix together until the spinach just starts to wilt, then remove from the heat. Season with additional curry powder, salt or pepper as desired.