As the cupboard has become eaten through by a storm of termites, known in many cultures as teenagers, I’ve become very resourceful with pantry items.
Homemade spag bol (from scratch no pasta sauce kits!)
Not a prob.
Homemade pumpkin seeds, dried by my own fair hand in my own oven.
But tonight I had proof positive that none of the termites are vegetarian.
I’ve spent the past 48 hours trying to decide what to make with a pumpkin I have left from last week (or was it last month’s?) shop. It’s too hot for pumpkin soup. There’s no risotto rice for pumpkin risotto. Pumpkin pie? For dinner? Well that’s just wrong.
The perfect meal for my lot must include a sweet substance. Fruit or fruit juice, brown sugar, honey, golden syrup, they’re not fussy. But they MUST HAVE SUGAR. They’re like three ‘feed me sugar’ monsters from the Little Shop of Horrors. The second most important substance in a meal that will pass muster, must include fat. If not actual animal fat, an approximate will do. Importantly it must take at least three years or a circumnavigation of the Pacific Rim to metabolise.
Finally, the meal must be bad for you.
If it’s not on the dietician’s ‘eat-me-and-you-die’ list it aint worth eating, according to the teens.
Concerned about the pumpkin’s suitability for dinner, I consulted Son – oldest teen. At almost nineteen he’s a young man in stature, with an appetite of a starved bull. We talked pumpkin. He was OK with it. Dark Princess was a little trickier she isn’t a big fan of pumpkin. In fact neither is Miss Fliss.
‘But it will have cheese’ I said enthusiastically.
In my mind’s eye I remembered back to those high-chair days and the plane that went whizzzzzzz into their guppy mouths, only to come dribbling out five seconds later..
So with a little concern I chopped up the pumpkin, carrots, onions and red peppers and put them into the oven with a smattering of oil and a little salt. I added some garlic and a bit of sweet chilli sauce (for the sugar!!) and left the veges to roast.
Meanwhile I prepped the orzo pasta, added some cream, beetroot, a little mint and some lemon zest. (No zester in this camp kitchen with all our stuff still coming from England, so I chopped it all up, lovingly removing every lettle bit of pith…) A dollop of cheese and it was done.
Dinner. For less than $2 for a family of four!
Son retreated to his room.
‘Not hungry.’ he muttered.
Miss Fliss poked around the orzo, eating the roasted carrots and a few bits of roasted red pepper and then suggested she put the rest into the fridge…’for later’. When hell freezes over.
But the real cracker came with Dark Princess’ comment. Wielding her fork as carefully as a coroner’s scalpel she wrinkled her nose and asked:
“So. There’s not meat in this at all?”
Dinner was an outstanding success. 1/4 diners were happy. The rest decided they could make do with metabolising lunch.
I guess you can safely say we are not a vegetarian family. No, not even with cheese.