On Sunday afternoon Jo says, “Will you have time this week to tell me what to make for dinner?  I haven’t planned anything for Wednesday…” It’s kind of ironic that I’m helping Jo plan dinner 3 days in advance, when I don’t usually know what I’m going to have for dinner until I start cooking it!  But Jo is the organised one, and the contents of her cupboard are:
Chicken thighs
Apricot sauce
Zucchini
Eggplant
Mushrooms
Capsicums

Creamed corn
Tofu sausages that really should be eaten
Tofu
Bacon
Turkey mince
Dried dates
Fresh pasta
Frozen banana
(that’s just random info, I’ll prob make banana muffins or something with them) – Good good, they’re no good for anything but baking now!

I look at this and I see quite a few possibilities.  Plus she has bacon!  Everything tastes better with bacon! And then she hit me with this:

“And I have a craving for kumara at the moment, so might buy some of that if you can come up with something good”.

So I had a think, and thought maybe she might like this little gem that we had when we were in NZ last year:

Stuffed Kumara

Scrub a kumara so it is nice and clean.  Par boil/bake/microwave it until it’s just about cooked.

Slice the top off the kumara and scoop out about half the flesh.  You can throw this away, but I’d keep it and bake it up later.

Dice onion, bacon, capsicum and mushies, and fry with a crushed garlic clove and a little olive oil until cooked.

Fill the hole in the kumara with cooked rice or couscous, the bacon mixture, any herbs or spices you have handy and some cubed feta (if you have it) or top with parmesan.  Alternatively, substitute the bacon and cous cous for turkey mince and add some thyme.

Bake in a moderate oven until the kumara is fully cooked and the filling is hot through.  Serve with steamed veg or salad.

If you don’t end up buying kumara – that’s OK!  Substitute capsicum for kumara – this is delicious too (one of Matt’s favourites).
But if that’s not your to your fancy, try:

Tomato Vegie Cous cous

Cut up any vegies you have into chunks – I like kumara, pumpkin, zucchini, mushies, capsicum and rinsed drained chickpeas.  Also wedge up some onion and crush some garlic.

Steam hard veg until just cooked.  Sautee onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened.

Add all the veg, a can of crushed tomatoes, some tomato paste (if you have it) and some herbs and spices (I have a penchant for smoked paprika, chilli powder, all spice, thyme and parsley at the moment, but can use anything you have) and boil up until nice and thick and fragrant.

Cook some couscous in a little stock for some flavour.  Serve stew on couscous.

—–

Hmmm, well, you can’t blame a girl for being organised – everyone knows how I love my spreadsheets! In fact, I knew what I was having for dinner on Friday when I asked on Sunday (salt and pepper squid, if you’re interested). So, yes, it does defeat the purpose of WSIHFD for me to go out and BUY something instead of using the ingredients on hand, but I just have a craving for kumara!

Since I’m in love with the bottle of apricot sauce that I managed to find in Morpeth, NSW, I’m going to add some of that in as well. Honestly, you have no idea how long I’ve been looking for apricot sauce in this country – it’s unheard of, apparently, except for some little old lady in country NSW who probably only makes 6 bottles a year, one of which I’m now the proud owner of.  I’m not sure why it’s so hard to come by – plum sauce is in every supermarket; apricot chicken is a standby for Lyndal; and yet…Anyway, moving on…

 

The elusive (yet delicious) apricot sauce

 

Fate, however, had different ideas. Or more precisely, the people who pick the vegies at the very expensive fruit and vegie shop near work, had different ideas. There wasn’t a kumara in sight that was smaller than my entire hand – and let me tell you, I have big hands!

Refusing to bow to the peer pressure of the fancy-pants market, I held my head up high and walked out of there kumara-less. And quickly revised my plan to Stuffed Capsicum – because luckily enough, red capsicums were on special at the not-so-fancy-pants market near where I live, so I had two giant ones just sitting in the crisper, begging to be eaten. And so we’re back on track.

 

A perfectly hollowed out capsicum

 

I fried off the onion and bacon while cutting all of the seeds out of my capsicum (not sure if it’s just me, but it was quite tricky getting the core and all those pesky little seeds out) and boiling water for the cous cous – just because I like to multi-task and it’s always fun to have several elements burning at the same time. I didn’t have quite enough normal cous cous, so ended up using a mixture of normal and pearl cous cous (which is just slightly larger grains, about the size of a pin head).

While the cous cous was cooking, I added mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant to the fry pan. I was going to add some green capsicum, but thought that might lead to capsicum overload.

Once that had all softened up a bit, I added the cous cous to the fry pan, and then a little bit of water to keep it from drying out, and a big blob of apricot sauce. Mixed it all up, and stuffed it tight into the quietly waiting capsicum. No fetta or parmesan at Casa di Jo at the moment, so I had to settle for a sprinkling of plain ol’ tasty on the top. And then baked for around 25 mins until the capsicum was cooked through.

 

Pre and post cooking (and with and without flash, just for variation)

 

It actually could have done with a bit longer in the oven to finish off the capsicum, but the insides were a delicious combo of bacon and apricot sauce – I definitely recommend driving to Morpeth and paying $10 for a bottle of sauce!

If you make it with a spud or kumara, let us know how it goes – my guess is that it’ll be amazing (possibly even without the apricot sauce)…oooo, maybe with some dried apricots, or walnuts, or seeds, or…ok, I can see that the variations could be endless, so let us know what works and what doesn’t.

Jx

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