Entering into October is the final step into autumn, where nobody can refute that summer has well and truly gone. As a cardigan fiend nothing delights me more than the thought of warming hot chocolates, Gilmore Girls and the excuse to go to bed early (I didn’t make the rules, the sun has gone down). What entices me most about autumn though is hearty, warming meals that can be shared amongst friends. Food is such an important aspect of life but it’s easy to avoid cooking as a student, especially if it is the first time people are having to budget, prep, or cook alone. However, cooking can be easy, therapeutic and fulfilling. Remember, food is fuel! For those mourning summer: don’t worry! I am going to share some recipes that will make you as warm on the inside as your sunburn would feel on the out. Autumn is also an important time for reflection, the darker nights can feel isolating, so make sure to reach out to people you may not have heard from in a while. Invite friends over for dinner: cook it together, eat, chat and have time away from the pesky screens uni is infamous for. And whilst people may tell you if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen, I implore you to please stay in the kitchen if there’s heat. We’re in an energy crisis, so invite your neighbours, friends, me, and Jerry down the road. The only thing better than the heat in the kitchen will be the awesome meal you’ve just made 😉
My chickpea curry is the perfect autumn meal. I’ve been experimenting with different (easy) one-pot recipes and this is one that I started making which has now become a staple in my house. You can add whatever vegetables you want – mix it up with what’s in season – this is just a basic recipe but I’ve added mushrooms, kidney beans, and leeks before so really you can do whatever you would like! The only special equipment you’ll need is a casserole dish or saucepan alongside the following:
- 1 onion (red or white, but I tend to use red)
- 3 cloves of garlic (as a Garlic Girl, I use about 5 but you do you)
- 1 red pepper
- 1 tin of chickpeas
- 1/2 head of broccoli
- Handful of kale/spinach
- Handful of cherry tomatoes (optional… I just love tomatoes)
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tin coconut milk
- Tomato paste (around a tablespoon)
- Seasonings: garam masala, cumin, ground coriander, chilli, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Rice to serve
- Heat your pan wish a splash of oil to a medium heat
- Dice your onion and crush your garlic, then cook these in the heated oil on medium to low heat until the onion is softened.
- Add your tomato paste and let it cook for a couple minutes, stirring constantly. Now for the fun bit: you can add whatever spices you like! I am not someone who can typically handle a lot of spice but equally you don’t want your food to be bland. I tend to add mild chilli powder, garlic granules (typical Garlic Girl antics), garam masala, cumin, ground coriander, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
- Now, add your chopped peppers, broccoli, and whole tomatoes. Give them a mix and let them cook while you drain your chickpeas. After a couple of minutes, add your chickpeas.
- Cook for a couple more minutes then add your tin of tomatoes, coconut milk and stir.
- Let it simmer and thicken, stirring occasionally for around 15-20 minutes. Just before serving, stir through your kale or spinach.
- Serve with rice, bread, tortilla, naan, pitta – whatever you like!
Once you feel confident with basic hearty recipes you can tailor them to your favoured flavours! I never was a confident cook without a recipe, but you can always try your food whilst you cook. Recipes are just a jumping off point: spices and veg can only go so wrong so don’t be afraid to play around. Also, this is a great recipe for leftovers, you can heat it for your lunch or add it to pasta.
Enjoy cooking my lovelies!