Chickpea and Aubergine Stew

This is the kind of food I eat a lot. This is everyday food, y'see. PeaSoupEats food. Simple, quick 'n tasty is the name of the game and that game is played pretty much everyday, three times a day.

I desperately wanted to get back to my everyday eats because that's exactly how and why this blog started - a catalogue of my daily food. Somewhere along the line though I got carried away with gluten free cupcakes and interrupted by ideas for the online magazine I contribute to and I forgot about what PeaSoup actually eats.

I mean, of course, I didn't forget what I ate because that would make me mental but rather I forgot to blog about it. Get me?

I eat this. Or at least dishes similar to this because it would get pretty dang boring if I had this every night. I'm babbling. I'll stop.

This. Wholesome, effortless, warming stews (it may be Spring but the weather here begs to differ!) that fill yer boots and your belly (I think I got confused there...) and best of all doesn't even really require a recipe. Well, it requires a template of sorts but you know what I mean.

I could make this dish blindfolded - a bit of this, a bit o' that, wham, bam, forty minutes and you're sitting down to dinner, preferably without the blindfold (that hand to mouth co-ordination is tricky sans sight).

I feel like I'm coming across very politically incorrect today totally without intent. To clarify. Nought wrong with being mental or blind. Okay? Okay.

You can tell from the focus in the photos  I was putting little to no effort into the photographing of this dish - quite literally I was in autofocus mode. Because this is real life. I actually ate this food. Sometimes that means make it, serve it (squeeze in a few pics along the way) and eat it. It's also been a while since I've blogged about my evening meal so I was a wee bit out of practice and it transpires my patience has been lost somewhere along the way. As soon as that stew was served I was in no mood for arranging a beautifully styled shot. I was hungry. It happens.

Being a blogger has its pros and cons. One of the cons is that you can never make a meal without thinking 'I should probably take a few photos of this'. It can be a lot less contrived than that. Sometimes I just find myself getting snap happy without even realising and before you know it I've filled my memory card with mostly sub par photos - but hey, it was fun and surely that's the point, right? If blogging becomes an effort or tiresome maybe it's time to find a different outlet for your creativity. Thankfully for me that is a long way off - I'm still having way too much fun.

That doesn't necessarily mean you don't or shouldn't up your game or push yourself to do better. I'm constantly comparing myself to other bloggers and sometimes looking on Tastespotting or Foodgawker can mean the death of my creativity for the day or at other times can inspire and challenge me to get in that kitchen and cook my little heart out. Like everything, it's all dependent on your attitude and I'm not afraid to admit I occasionally possess a sucky attitude - that sulky teenager lives on!

At the moment what I'd most like to do is a neat little collaboration with someone. When JoytheBaker announced her new project not only was I super impressed and excited but I was also insanely jealous. I'm a big girl, I can admit these things. Oh, how I would love some foodie friends (vegan or non) that live near to me, want to eat food, talk about food and maybe do a joint foodie thingy - podcast, video blog, something silly, I don't care but just somethin'. I want to share my foodie love with somebody, several people, anybody. Any takers?

Hmmph. I guess living in the depths of Cornwall doesn't help but I'm ever optimistic and I can't say I don't have my heart set on living somewhere like San Francisco. I bet I'd find loads of foodie friends there. One day perhaps.....

At least I still have my virtual cyber friends - (waving madly) hello virtual cyber friends! See, it's all good really. Food, blog, photos, virtual cyber friends. Life's not so bad after all and maybe, just maybe, when I read this back it won't sound as sad it does whilst I'm writing it. Then again, pigs may just fly.

Ciao ciao:)

chickpea and aubergine stew 

(3-4 portions)

1 onion

2 aubergines (eggplant)

2 courgettes (zucchini)

1 400g can (or cup and a half) chopped tomatoes

1 heaped tsp tomato puree

1 400g can chickpeas

2 large garlic cloves

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp chilli powder

generous shake of dried chilli flakes

olive oil

1 tsp sugar

pink Himalayan salt and ground black pepper

1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander

to serve

1 cup bulgar wheat

2 tbsp freshly chopped flat leaf parsley

zest of half a lemon

2 tbsp lemon juice

Heat a little oil in a heavy based saucepan. Finely chop the onion, add to pan, season with salt and pepper and cover. Leave to sweat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mince the garlic and add to pan. Allow to cook for several minutes.

Wash and cut the aubergine into small pieces. Add to pan and stir to incorporate the onion and garlic. Season and cover.

Wash and slice the courgette. Add to pan, mix thoroughly, cover and leave to soften gently for a few minutes.

Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chilli powder and chilli flakes. Give a thorough stir and clamp on lid for a minute or two before adding the tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Stir. Sprinkle in the sugar, season and leave to simmer for twenty minutes until everything is soft but not mushy.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add to the pot for a final ten minutes.

Whilst the stew is simmering, boil a kettle, place the bulgar wheat in a large bowl. Add one cup of freshly boiled water to the one cup of bulgar, stir and cover with a plate or clingfilm. When the water has been completely absorbed (about 10mins), fluff with a fork and stir in the chopped parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Finally, check the stew for seasoning and serve.