This is just a brief retrospective, to get the ball rolling, while we figure out the nuts and bolts of the blog (ie. pretty it up :)). It was during the course of this conversation that Lyndal came up with the idea of writing a cookbook. I jokingly suggest that we should start small, maybe a world famous blog first.

Inspired by my own idea, two days later I sent Lyndal the link to our new blog. Bugger asking her first! Too much talk, not enough action in that step.

And so it all began…

Jo Text: How the hell am I supposed to decide what to have for dinner if you’re not at work to email me??!!

Yes, that really is how pathetic I am! And yes, these lengthy dinner conversations do in fact take place while we are, um, working. Ahem. Sorry, boss.

Anywho, after Lyndal practically pointed out to me that I could in fact email her even though she wasn’t at work (the wonders of technology), the following ensued:

Jo email: (no need to waste time on salutations)

In the fridge I have:

  • pumpkin
  • carrots
  • two tomatoes
  • olives
  • sundried tomatoes
  • cheese

In the freezer I have:

  • seafood marinara
  • chicken mince
  • pastry

In the cupboard I have:

  • kidney beans
  • chickpeas
  • eggs
  • lentils
  • tinned tomatoes
  • Walnuts

It’s pretty slim pickin’s when written like that! I’m so uninspired by food ATM.

Actually, looking at that list now, there’s a pretty good variety of food. But on a day when I can’t be bothered thinking about what to cook, there could be a pre-prepared 3 course dinner in the fridge and I still wouldn’t know what I wanted to eat!

Superstar Lyndal thinks for a grand total of 5 mins and comes back with the following preliminary findings:

OK, how about…

Tumble cubed pumpkin, oil and garlic and roast until tender.  mix with lentils (maybe chickpeas too), sundried tomatoes, herbs, olives, walnuts.  Not sure if this is more of a side though.

Quick paella (makes a bit) – (I’m assuming the marinara is cooked, but don’t know cos I don’t use it) [Lyndal’s a freak who doesn’t eat seafood] 1 cup rice, 1 can tomatoes, chickpeas, 1 cup stock, marinara mix, cubed pumpkin, olives and any greens you have (frozen peas?) + cumin, chilli and tumeric (if you have it).  Boil in pot until rice is cooked.  Add extra stock if needed.

Chicken meatballs – chick mince, herbs, egg and onion – mix together and make balls.  Pan fry.  In saucepan heat oil and fry off garlic and onion. Combine canned toms, olives, chickpeas, pepper.  Cook until it’s to your liking (cook longer with lid off for richer sauce).  Add herbs.  Stir meatballs through sauce.  Top pasta with balls and sauce and top with cheese.

OK, that’s installment 1.  Let me think of more! Will email back in a bit…

All that in just five minutes, I hear you gasp in amazement – yup, that’s how my girl rolls. And of course, when given such delicious choices, the thought of dinner that night began to be a little more exciting than the cheese on toast I had consigned myself to.

After considering my situation a little more, I reply…

I like the roast pumpkin salad thing. They’re dry lentils – I’d have to cook them first right? [Gimme a break, lentils are a new addition to my cupboard]

Chicken meatballs are nice, but I’m a bit lazy for that today.

This is so much better than trying to come up with stuff myself! [I stand by this statement! :)]

After a half hour wait (presumably while she was doing some kind of school work, who knows), the cooking Queen comes back to me (and my entire team, we’re all on tenterhooks by now, waiting to find out what I’ll be having for dinner).

Right.  And if they’re not red lentils you will have to soak them, which makes it a late dinner!!

You could also do pumpkin slice – slice pumpkin fairy thinly (a little less than 1cm).  Grease base of baking dish or casserole dish and line with pumpkin slices.  Saute onion in a little oil. Beat eggs with a little milk.  Mix pitted olives, sundried toms and onion into egg and pour over pumpkin. +/- cheese on top.  Bake.  Can serve as-is or stick your fresh tomato on a baking tray drizzled in balsamic, brown sug and herbs and bake with it.

Along the same vein, cook and drain pasta.  Mix with an egg (and adding a little cheese makes it yummy too) and bake in the bottom of a casserole dish until just set (makes like a pie crust – can do it with cooked rice too).  Top with cooked diced pumpkin, sundried toms and pitted olives.  Beat a couple more eggs and pour over.  Bake until set.  Voila – pasta quiche!

Grate carrot and dice onion.  Cook garlic, mince, carrot and onion in canned tomatoes until all the liquid soaks up and it’s not too wet, stir in some random herbs.  Cool, wrap in pastry with cheese, seal the ends and bake.  Chicken pastie-things.

The end result – sorry no photos, next time there will be, so you can see the giant mess I can make, cooking one simple dish:

I discovered I did in fact have tinned brown lentils in the cupboard, and I made the roast pumpkin, lentil and chickpea salad. And just to prove that I am in fact, not kitchen-challenged, I even put my own spin on it.

I coated the pumpkin in some oil and dried rosemary and baked it (and God, did that take forever!). I ended up ditching the olives, as I thought it would be too many flavours, but I mixed chickpeas, lentils, sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and some sunflower seeds and pinenuts (which I found lurking in the cupboard), and then chucked them on a baking tray for the last 10 mins of the pumpkin cooking time.

It turned out to be one of the yummiest things I’d cooked in ages, and I have in fact cooked it again since then – but the next time I had the bright idea to half cook the pumpkin in the microwave first – upstairs for thinking, downstairs for dancing!

Stay tuned for more awesome tales from What shall I cook for dinner?