So, it’s July and I’m not entirely sure how that happened. The last time I posted I left on a high note of an optimistic future with new, challenging cooking and baking and bread making. But for the next few days, indeed the whole month of June, rather than buying new flours or attempting three tier cakes I thought about realism and the luxury of changing our minds.
I love how often I can change my mind at the moment. I say at the moment, because while I guess I have been enjoying indecision for most of my life, it feels as if I am on fast-forward to a time when I must make a decision and stick with it. Every week I have a new life plan, a new five year plan, or a new 6-month plan. But this latest plan feels like a keeper, something I can do. So in preparation for a time when I must make a decision and stick with it, I’m going to share it here. After complaining bitterly about university and study for over a year now, I’ve seen the light, so to speak, and had a change of heart. I’m thinking honours, perhaps not next year but definitely soon and looking towards a professional career. It wasn’t so long ago I was writing here of how irregular working hours would likely be the norm for me and trying to find balance (read: steady income) within a writing life. I’m grateful to be able to change my mind, to plan and re-plan my future.
In truth, the last post left me feeling overwhelmed and uninspired, because really, simple and understated is where I draw my inspiration. I like a meal to begin simply, the ingredients understated, perhaps the limp and the lonely from the crisper drawer, but the key is for the dish to be well-seasoned, perfectly cooked, delicious. I guess that has been the premise of cooking for most of history, so why change a good thing?
So enter, an everything pattie, a leftover pattie – spicy pumpkin, bacon and quinoa. Our fridge gets full over the week with little bowls and containers of this and that, a small triangle of pumpkin that someone had the foresight to think would be useful, spring onions beginning to lose their springiness and the last few rashers of dry cured bacon, thick and dark pink in colour. The leftover quinoa had sautéed leeks stirred through it, I found a hunk of chilli and a curly bunch of coriander; people were getting hungry and lunch was coming together.
As I made these patties it never entered my mind the promise I had made to extend my kitchen education. For me it’s almost instinctual to take the leftovers and play around with them – which is what I encourage everyone to do.
I give a rough guide below but really a good pattie can be compressed down to this – a starch or grain (or both), seasoning (chilli, salt, pepper, coriander, or any herb or spice), plus a beaten egg to mould everything together.
Spicy Pumpkin, Bacon and Quinoa Patties
a piece of pumpkin
some cooked quinoa
spring onions, thinly sliced
fresh chilli, thinly sliced
garlic clove, minced
bacon, roughly chopped
a small bunch of coriander or other herb, roughly chopped
1 egg lightly beaten
Cook the pumpkin until tender – mash. Mix in the quinoa.
In a frying pan heat a splash of oil, add the onions and fry with the garlic and chilli until lightly browned, add to pumpkin and quinoa. Cook the chopped bacon in the frying pan, then stir into the pumpkin mix with the beaten egg, chopped coriander and salt and pepper. If the mixture feels a bit too wet, add a sprinkling of flour or bread crumbs. Mould into patties, heat more oil and lightly fry the patties until browned.
Serve with salad, cold meats, chutney and preserves.