My mind is turning to mush. Figuratively - I've been away from work for 8 months and I can feel that I'm not as sharp at holding on to thoughts and ideas. I'm still doing bits of work while on maternity leave, but half the time is spent me trying to remember the brilliant idea I'd had the previous week/day/hour. It's a different sort of mental gymnastics, keeping lists of groceries and grocery lists of to-do things in your head, than it is gathering together strands of ideas and weaving them into a long-term intentions. I worry about this mushiness when I'm back at work in a couple of months time.
My mind is also literally turning to mush, what with Baby A&N barreling forward with his solids eating and me trying to come up with interesting variations of mush for him to eat. Some are actually pretty tasty even by adult palates: courgette, roasted red pepper and basil; sauteed onion and spinach with cauliflower gratin; garlic, lentil, courgette, carrot, and tomato. Sometimes the only format for them seems to be mush (beetroot, sauteed spinach, dollop of cream cheese) which is a bit of a shame since the only way Mr A&N or I can enjoy these flavors is to steal the sloppy seconds away from any unfinished meals.
There are some adult mushes that Mr A&N and I hold dear and which baby A&N won't be able to enjoy for a while. Our favorite is a chickpea puree from the Casa Moro cookbook. It starts with the heady smell of garlic, cumin and onions gently frying together, and results in a warm, warming, rich dish that stands in for the moistness of gravy when there isn't one. It's very easy to make, and makes a different starchy side dish to mashed potato. We normally have this with lamb, which is the Moro suggestion, but it would also work well with a well-flavored chicken or sausage meat course. In some ways this is more of a winter warmer, but when mush is on the mind this is a very comforting way of seeing the mush through.
Chickpea Puree, from Casa Moro
Serves 4 - 6
- 2 400g of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 rounded tsp cumin seeds, roughly ground
- 30 threads (large pinch) saffron, infused in about 2 Tbs just-boiled water
- 2 Tbs roughly chopped flat-leave parsely (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Puree the chickpeas (using a blender/food processor) until they're smooth
- Add water to them until they're the consistency of wet mashed potato
- Heat the olive oil over a meadium-high heat using a medium-sized frying pan
- Add the onions, garlic, and cumin and stir, cooking and stirring until things turn golden brown
- Mix in the chickpeas along with the saffron infusion and stir, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsely if you want to get fancy.