Weird foodstuffs

Despite living in London for nearly 4 years now, I still find quintessentially British stuff quite funny.

–What biscuits should I pick up from the shops, Diane?
–Oh, get those nice ones, Charles. I like those nice ones.

Someone once told me to avoid describing things as ‘nice’, because it’s an essentially empty adjective. And this is probably why.

They’re not great biscuits. Not luxury ones either. Just nice.

I bought the Rich Tea biscuits instead. Mostly because they contain nearly half the calories of the Nice ones, which probably means if they were renamed they’d be ‘OK biscuits’ or maybe ‘All Right biscuits’, but such is the power of branding. Rich Tea sounds much – ahem – nicer.

I suppose I’m not really one to be poking fun at other people’s dietary habits, though. A couple of hours later I popped out to the shop and purchased a packet of Pom Bears and a small tin of peas. Every single person I passed on the pavement gave me quite a stare.

Who would have thought carrying a tin of petit pois while shovelling one’s face full of reconstituted potato snack would be so attention-soliciting. Not me.

Advertisements

It’s 10 o’clock

I’ve been posting a lot of conversations I have with my colleague Alan on this space. But that’s because my conversations with Alan at work tickle me and I just want to share them with the world. I swear I do other things in life other than talking to Alan.

Like eating. I eat a lot.

It’s 10 o’clock, and so far today I’ve consumed:

  • Weetabix
  • Greek yogurt
  • a banana
  • honey
  • peanut butter
  • cheese
  • coffee
  • more coffee

And I’m still hungry.

I’ve been watching this really terrible television show imported from America that airs every day when I get home from work (before Red gets home so that he can’t make me feel bad about my bad television-watching habits, which he’s wont to do) on that new television channel for sad, old women* called I used to be fat. These fat teenagers give up their summers – usually consisting of about 90 days – to train every day with a personal trainer and drop the flab in fantastically bad-for-you weightloss times.

What I don’t understand is how all these fat people are doing so much exercise whilst simultaneously eating dinners consisting of what I can only assume is air and water.

I mean, I cycle to work and do yoga 3 mornings a week, and I find myself wanting to eat my own arm on a daily basis.

When’s lunch?

___________________________________________________________

*called Really. Also airs shows like 16 and pregnant and Snog, Marry Avoid

Vegan Nachoooooosss!

All from scratch.

Nachos

Well, mostly from scratch.  It’s not like I rolled my own tortillas before making the chips or anything.  But I did make the chips. Impressed yet?  All recipes yield enough for two servings worth of nacho components.

Tortilla chips

  • Four whole wheat tortillas
  • Oil for brushing (I used olive)
  • a couple teaspoons liquid aminos (optional)
  • freshly cracked sea salt

Step one Cut your tortillas into chip-like shapes

Step two Brush both sides of all chip-like shapes with a bit of oil (with liquid aminos mixed in if you’re using)

Step three Place on baking sheet and crack sea salt over chip shapes

Step four Bake at 200C for 14 minutes. Flip over chips and bake for another 14 minutes.

Guacamole

  • 1 Ripe avocado
  • 1/4th of a small tomato (or more to taste), chopped
  • the juice of half a lime (or the entire lime, depending on how juicy it is and how zingy you like your guac)
  • 1 SMALL clove garlic, minced
  • freshly chopped coriander leaves to taste
  • freshly cracked sea salt

Step one Combine avocado innards, lime juice, garlic and salt in a bowl.  Mash with a fork until smooth

Step two Stir in chopped tomato. Refrigerate until serving

Tofu Sour Cream (Yields a big batch. Maybe have loaded baked potatoes for dinner tomorrow. And then mushroom stroganoff the next day. And then more nachos the day after that. And then maybe some mushroom stroganoff again.  You might have used up all the sour cream by this point.)

  • 385g Silken Tofu
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend everything until smooth. Refrigerate.

Refried beans with red pepper and onion

  • 1 small tin kidney beans (drained weight 180g)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder (more or less to taste)
  • salt to taste

Step one Heat oil over medium-high heat in a pan and chuck in your onion, pepper and garlic.  Saute for 4 minutes.

Step two Add your seasonings to coat the onion/pepper mixture.  Add your drained beans and stir to combine.  Saute for a minute or so (until the beans are heated through).

Step three Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until all of the beans have reached a sensible mashy consistency.

Compiling the nachos

1) Layer a plate with tortilla chips

2) Put the bean mixture on top.

3) Shred vegan cheese on top. (I forgot to mention, you have to buy some vegan cheese…)

4) Microwave for 30 seconds (to melt the cheese).

5) Dollop your guacamole and sour cream on the nachos.

6) Top with jalapenos.

Arriba.

Franglais Split Pea and Veggie Soup/Stew

So, I adapted this recipe from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking for One I call it ‘Franglais’ instead of Leneman’s ‘French’, because, well, I didn’t use all the ingredients it called for and rather than being bothered to cut up all the vegetables into a tiny dice, well, I just chop everything up into big chunks and throw it into a pot.  This means that instead of calling it a ‘soup’, I must call it a ‘stew’.   My adaptations to the recipe (no soaking the beans overnight, no fancy cutting skills that inevitably lead to a chopped-off finger, etc.) make this one easy and virtually foolproof.

If attempting this recipe, you must be careful to simmer it rather than letting it cook at a rolling boil, as it will lose the delicate flavours of the herbs (namely the marjoram) if you do the latter.

Franglais pea stew

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large red potatoes or the equivalent in new potatoes
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 60g split yellow peas
  • 18oz boiling water
  • 1t thyme
  • 1t marjoram
  • 1t oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • vegan butter to garnish (and add delicious tastiness)

Step one: Bring water to boil in pot.  Add split peas.  Boil covered on medium heat for ten minutes.

Step two: Chuck in the onion, potatoes and carrot, roughly chopped, and the herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and simmer on low heat for 20-25 minutes (until both potatoes and split peas are tender).

Step three: Add salt to taste.  Transfer to bowl(s) and place a dollop of vegan butter on top and allow to melt.  Eat with bread, crackers, oatcakes or nothing at all.

(Yields 2 servings)

Success!

I got six courgettes for 99p at Waitrose this afternoon, figuring I would make courgette meals for six days in a row.

And then I realised that Red and I are going back to Essex this weekend to pick up our luggage for our trip, and I therefore won’t be home to make dinners.

Crap.

So I had to compensate in tonight’s dinner.  Objective: use as much courgette as humanly possible.  Result: (mostly) Courgette and Red Lentil Dal.  Adapted from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking for One.  Served with some perfectly cooked brown rice.  The picture’s a bit crap because I took it with my phone, but the dal was a beautiful yellow punctuated by the bright green of the courgettes.

 

Courgette and Red Lentil Dal

Ingredients:

  • 2 courgettes
  • 3.5oz red lentils
  • water (for cooking lentils)
  • small onion
  • 1 tbsp creamed coconut
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3-inch piece of ginger
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tsp turmeric 
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Step 1: Put lentils in a pot and cover with water and stir in turmeric and some salt to taste.  Bring to a boil and then simmer briskly for ten minutes. After ten minutes, cover and simmer on low for another fifteen minutes.  Check lentils periodically and add water as necessary.  They should have a slightly soupy consistency by the end.

Step 2: Cut onion and chop garlic.  Sautee over medium heat in vegetable oil for 2-3 minutes, until beginning to soften.

Step 3: Chop ginger and slice courgettes.  Add to onion and garlic mixture and sautee for another 3-4 minutes, until courgette begins to soften.

Step 4: Add vegetable mixture to lentils (once the lentils have finished cooking; they should look like slop by this point).  Add garam masala, cayenne pepper, and creamed coconut and mix everything thoroughly.

Step 5: Serve with rice.

Step 6: Enjoy immensely.

(Serves 2)

 

I enjoyed mine a little too immensely, as I bit the hell off my tongue.  Note to self: eat less zealously.

Post essays

I handed in my two essays today.  I feel pretty good about them both.  Although, I think I’m way more laid back about school now than I ever was during my undergraduate years at UCF.  I don’t know if that’s because I have a lot more time on my hands to get my work done or if I’m just apathetic.  Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.  But, if I’m honest, I really don’t find this course very challenging.  All it really has required me to do has been to read texts for classes and then write papers.  And coming up with great research topics and writing papers has always come very naturally to me.  

I have to write my critical evaluation and hand it in in two weeks.  I was reading the instructional handout we got last year about it, and apparently I can either write it in prose style or as an annotated bibliography.  How many times have I written annotated bibliographies?  That sounds somehow way too easy.  I could just write up annotations on all the crap I’ve read so far for my dissertation and hand it in.  I could do that in a couple days if I wanted to.  I must be missing something.  I’ll have to investigate this further.

In other news, I’m definitely not preggo, not that I had any worries, but that just cements the idea that I’m a freak and like eating peanut butter and pickles.  

I just ate some earlier.  Mmm…