Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dr Beetroot


Dad passed me a couple of home-grown beetroots for ‘experimentation’ purposes.  The purchase of some walnuts, a Saturday night, and the presence of some vodka, made this a hot contender for the Saturday Night Hummus Party with my sister.  Recipe was originally from UK chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and roughly follows these lines…..

Beetroot & Walnut Hummus




Followed a link posted on to, and was introduced to a rather fabulous African-style peanut and vegetable stew recipe packed with spices and sweet potato.  The first attempt of this recipe at Chez Anxious worked well, so did another batch today, but this time around I dialed down the sweetness a little; as a hideous generalisation, Americans seem to use sugar in savoury dishes more than us Brits do, and a stew built around sweet potato, carrot and cinnamon, is already pretty toothsome to my palate.  Cut out the sugar, and reduced the peanut butter to one-third butter against two-thirds tahini paste loosened with hot vegetable stock.  The result was rather delicious, and I might possibly have decanted some of the sauce whilst it was bubbling away and poured it over some white rice for an impromptu late lunch.  I do think I should investigate African cookery a bit more.  The Cradle of Humankind is a massive, colourful, vibrant place, crammed with every kind of life and landscape.  There ought to be at least a couple of half-decent recipes knocking around there.

On a road to nowhere


….the full joy of Anxiety Attacks, is, not so much not knowing where they may strike, as being utterly bemused as to why the hell the full ‘AARRGHH IT’S A HUNGRY LION -FLIGHT OR FIGHT!!’ reflex is firing itself up for something utterly stupid.

Escalators.  You know, those magical moving staircase things, moving us up and down tube stations and department stores and all that? Yes, those.

A gentle jaunt through the local Marks & Spencer’s store in search of knee-length socks this afternoon.  It’s 6pm in the evening, the day-time Shopping-Mall-Rush is over. It’s quiet in a kind of staff-outnumbering-the-customers kind of way. I have to hang around for a 7.30pm appointment, so grasp the opportunity to shop for some boring essential things, like the aforementioned socks.  And I make the mistake of deciding to visit the first floor of the shop. Via the ESCALATOR. And every tiny bit of stress just flowers out and suddenly I’m trying to concentrate on breathing in and out, keeping upright (because collapsing half-way up 10 metres of escalator would be a) embarassing and b) painful), and keeping a grip of the handrail and my shopping bags.  Whilst trying to distract myself by counting slowly up to 10 and simultaneously reading any advertising signs very very seriously hello P-E-R-U-N-A C-O-L-L-E-C-T-I-O-N A-R-E Y-O-U S-T-I-L–L-U-S-I-N-G-T-W-I-G-G-Y-A-S-A-M-O-D-E-L-?-oh look I’ve reached the first floor. I have no fucking idea whatsoever how I’m going to fucking get back down again, but I’ve reached THE FIRST FLOOR without serious injury.

Amusingly enough, the 7.30 appointment is with my GP, who proceeds to tell me how much more confident and together I look…

Black Bean Thursday


Apologies for not commenting for a few days – work became CHAOS AND MAD STUFF so I’m somewhat knackered. Can I also give a very British “ALRIGHT MATE!!” to the people who have kindly popped up and ‘liked’ my posts.  Welcome aboard – hope you’ve brought a brolly, the weather’s a little changeable here!

On the plus side, lack of time/energy means I’ve been working on perfecting the ‘Mack the Knife’ recipe, because it’s a very quick option for when I stagger in through the front door of an evening; just grill for a few minutes each side until browned, plus bread/salad/baked potato/marinated slow-grilled hedgehog* or other side order of your choice.  Healthy dinner with minimum feckering-about.  This evening reached a peak of scientific experimentation with the following fillet combinations on the grill simultaneously; quorn chicken** fillet layered with tahini then soft cheese and breadcrumbs/oat mixture, fillet layered with tomato puree and harissa paste mix then soft cheese etc, and fillet layered with sundried tomato paste then soft cheese etc…..

The verdict so far is that tahini mixed with a little lemon juice and black pepper could be The Way Forward for this version.  The tomato puree/harissa paste needed more tomato and less harissa (admittedly, given how powerful harissa is, you might have to go down to the sub-atomic level for the appropriate harissa balance). The sun-dried tomato paste version works well As Is and I will certainly not be considering replacing the chicken with finely sliced mozzarella cheese AT ALL……*gibbers*

*the British version of the porcupine. Shy, retiring, likes snails, slugs, dark safe places to hibernate through the winter, and a nice cup of tea.

**quorn (mycoprotein fillets, but insert soy-protein or tofu or other fillets as availability and and personal preference allows).

…Variant On Standard Lentil Dhal territory….


Lentil dhal is one of those dishes you discover earlier as a vegetarian, being cheap and easy to make. Long acquaintance however brings contempt, and to be fair, there’s only so many times you can greet what is essentially ‘lentil porridge’ with enthusiasm. I’ve come up with a slightly different version, which retains all the usual ingredients, but is a little more textured and subtle.

the recipe….

Get Stuffed!


I can only apologise for the lack of photos on this website, because I know we all enjoy a spot of food-porn.  My digital camera is playing up, otherwise I would be happily foisting slightly-out-of-focus shots of radishes on you. Feel free to be grateful, or disappointed, as necessary.

Ah, stuffed peppers.  A vegetarian cliche perhaps, but no less tasty for it. In these cost-conscious days as well, a bit of expensive protein bulked out by some grains and veg is always worth consideration.