A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
It was a period of civil food unrest. Laying hidden amongst a thriving colony of healthy brassicas, was a faction of rebel plants – spinach, lettuce and beets – awaiting their cue to thrive. At the the dawning of the summer sun, the battle began. The cruciferous fighters defended their territory gallantly. Eventually the rebels joined forces with a hoard of ravenous tribes people. Artemis – Empress of the vegetable planet – was left with no option but to concede defeat. The rebel plants took control of the territory and the exploding cauliflowers and glut of ready-to-sprout artichokes were captured and used to restore the tribes people to a sated state of contentment….
As an adult, I now feel brave enough to confess to what seemed like a mortal sin in my teenage years…
I really don’t see what all the Star Wars fuss is about!
When Episode I: The Phantom Menace finally hit my high school home town, every screening session for the first ten days was a total sellout. As the popcorn machines ran hot, colonies of dyed in the Wookiee fur fans would loiter about the cinema lobby dressed in all manner of interplanetary species garb awaiting their chance at a front row, action spectacular seat. Being more inclined to smuggle up with a good book or toil away at a challenging tune on the flute, I was happy to stand Han Solo and give the whole warring galaxy gambit a wide berth. My dear friend Ella however, had a universe sized plan to see me sucked into the cult like, Star Wars superlaser beam.
Guised as a few afternoons of intense school musical practice, Ella set about wooing me into the Princess Leia way of thinking, by sweetening the rehearsal deal. In addition to protracted periods of dialogue recitals and musical serenades, we were also to enjoy some caramel popcorn infused viewings of Episodes IV-VI…so as to catch me up on all the missed stellar scenery. Impressed by Ella’s fervid efforts, I did eventually yield to the film going festivities and in the spring of 1999, took in my only ever cinema centered Star Wars session.
Last month, in time with both the explosion of produce from my brassica patch and the spring school holidays, K1 and K2 were captured by a wave of Darth inVadering fetishes for all things droids and lightsabers. From Jaba the Hut themed imaginative play to burgeoning backpacks of books and puzzles, the family’s lounge room was quickly transformed into a hub of Sky Walking activity.
In keeping with the intergalactic battling spirit, and to avoid having those bursting cauliflower and shooting artichokes go to waste, I present to you some wholesome…and slightly indulgent Star War’fare…to accompany a victorious session in front of the home based, big screen.
C3PO (Curried Cauliflower, ChickPea and Onion) Soup (makes enough to feed a ravenous hoard of tribes people)
No old school Star Wars viewing session would be quite complete without a touch of droid infused humour. If like me, you find yourself battling to keep up with the exploding tendancies of those late blooming cauliflowers, well here is a recipe to please even the darkest force of vegetable eating refusers.
- 1 onion
- 1 tbs curry powder
- 1 medium sized cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 can or 2 cups of rehydrated chickpeas
- 2 – 3 potatoes or 6 large jerusalem artichokes, washed
- 500mls stock
- milk and cream
Heat some oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion. Add the curry powder and fry for another minute or until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, chickpeas, artichokes and stock. Turn the pot to low, place a lid on the saucepan and simmer for 30-45 minutes or until all the ingredients are cooked through. Add some more water if the soup mix begins to boil dry. Puree’ the ingredients. Add some milk and cream until a thick pouring consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve to your movie watching crowd…with a generous accompaniment of freshly baked bread.
Not-so-Chewie Popcorn (makes about 4 cups of crunchy, caramelised popcorn)
Unless you actually want chewy popcorn, the secret to getting that super crunchie carmaelised finish to this very delectable treat, lies in the two fold act of adding baking soda and re-cooking the popcorn in the oven. May the carmamelised force be with you!
- ¼ c popping corn kernels
- ½ c butter (125g)
- ½ c brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp baking soda
Heat on low, a couple of tablespoons of oil in a small, thick bottomed saucepan with a lid. Place in the corn kernals, replace the lid and leave the kernals to pop until no more popping can be heard. Pour the popped corn into a mixing bowl. Ensure that all unpopped kernals are removed.
On low heat, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and stir. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and baking soda and then pour the mixture over the popcorn and quickly mix through until all the popped corn is covered in caramel (some excess butter may remain in the base of the mixing bowl).
Pour the caramelised popcorn onto a baking tray and place in the oven at 120oC for 45 minutes. Remove from the tray and place into a clean mixing bowl or basket. Enjoy!
This post contains references to George Lucas’ series, Star Wars.