Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Veggie Affair

At the moment life is running at full tilt and time is a very precious thing to me. Everyday is flying by me at an alarming rate and there just never seem to be enough hours in a day to do everything I wanted to at the start. This ultimately means that even preparing simple dinners have become something that gets rushed through to purely serve the purpose of filling our tummies.

Realising that not only is this rushed lifestyle not good for me physically, it also is not good for my soul. To put this right I have decided that no matter how crazy and busy my week might be, I will set aside one evening a week to cook us a proper, healthy dinner. This will give us the kick of nourishment and vitamins that we need, but most importantly will also help my mind and body to relax and to just again enjoy cooking.

The changing weather is the biggest influence in my choice of what to cook at the moment and this week I again took my inspiration from the beauty and bounty of Autumn. After a quick visit to my much loved local green grocers, I returned with a bulging bag of amazing veggies to grill to perfection and drape generously over home made, olive oil drenched focaccia and top with sticky, poached quail's eggs. After making the yeasty focaccia dough and waiting for it to raise and proof, I spent a good hour to prepare the vegetables; Peeling and turning the artichokes, revealing the fleshy heart and cooking it in a vinegar solution, snapping, trimming and par-steaming the asparagus, de-seeding and roughly slicing the multi-coloured peppers, peeling and halving the sweet, baby shallots and lastly popping the crimson red plum tomatoes off their vines and rolling them in sea-salt and black pepper grounds. All this went into the roasting tin, drizzled with olive oil and straight under a very hot grill to char and bubble their way to veggie heaven. While this was happening, I formed the bread dough into the rustic focaccia shape, waiting to go into the oven as soon as the vegetables were ready to go to the bottom shelf of a cooler oven.

Minutes before we were ready to tuck in, I cracked the delicate little quail's eggs into boiling water to lightly poach and turn into tiny pillows of perfection. As all my labours of love came together on our plates, and we happily ate our way through it all, I knew that finally I was not just feeding my body, but also my soul :)