Monthly Archives: December 2013

Yuletide Cheer


These were my presents.

Do you think my family have noticed I like to cook……..? 😉





One of our major supermarkets had the wonderful idea of cross-matching costs against the other two big supermarket chains, and at the check-out giving you a voucher worth the difference between what you’ve bought, and what you would have paid elsewhere. Often this can only be a few pence, but a quirk in purchasing patterns meant I ended up with £5 vouchers in total (I’m Rich! RIIIICCCHHH!!).

A quick raid of the supermarket with the vouchers netted me four big packs of spices (coriander, cumin, ginger and chilli powder), 3 tins tomatoes, 3 tins chickpeas, some naan bread and a box of eggs for around £2.66.


The other issue this time of year is running down the fresh food stocks. I’ll spend most of the Xmas period either at my dad’s house or my sister’s. Time to incorporate what’s left in the fridge into something that can be eaten at work Monday/Tuesday, or frozen ready for January. A bit of scrabbling round the interwebs gave this Australian courgette bake and a tomato and cheese bake that I protein-ed up with some tinned chickpeas The few remnants; sprouts, shallots, mushrooms etc left will go into a stirfry on Thursday or Friday (depending how sentient they’ve become in the meantime – the mushrooms already look like they’re ready to attend nursery school).

And if I don’t get the chance to post beforehand, have a gorgeous, glittery Xmas, and a very wonderful and peaceful New Year. Xxx, TheAnxiousCook.


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Basil & Coriander Tofu Pancakes


A light lunch, and a break from the traditional Xmas diet at this time of chocolate, more chocolate, roast potatoes, sprouts, extra sprouts, more sprouts just-in-case and rich fruit puddings with custard.

And it’s about time that the happily re-potted Steve (my basil plant), earned his living again.

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I’ve been using one of the funeral wreaths as a Christmas decoration; an intricately-woven wicker circle with white roses, lilies and sprays of delicate powdery green fern.

But the flowers are now dying.

I’ve saved a couple of the best ones, layered them between two sheets of grease-proof paper and under a pile of books. When they’ve dried I’ll add them to the memory box. The rest go to my father’s compost heap, and then back onto the garden she loved. The wicker circle I keep. I’ll re-decorate it for next Christmas with artificial flowers and berries. Mum would have approved of that as well; she adored Christmas.

And so the circle of the year, and of life, rolls on. There’s some comfort in that.

Cheat’s Curry


For those in a hurry for a curry but no curry sauce in the cupboard. Recipe copyright(ish) of my mate Michelle, courtesy of the evening after I ended up in A&E with alcohol poisoning*, when I could finally face the concept of food.

No photo due to camera malfunction. (I’m working on it, okay? Jessops charge a fortune….)

*Yes, I’m a fuckwit. Drink sensibly, Kids.

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Ticket to Ride


I’m not sure why I have a Beatles song stuck in my head, she was always more of a Rolling Stones fan.

She died in the hospice, whilst my father and I sat either side, small-talking about the sleep we’d not managed to get over the past two months. Her eyes opened, and then she just stopped breathing. It was a privilege, and horrible, and also somehow mundane. There were offers of tea, and a nurse with a stethoscope to check that she had gone. I tried to gently slide her eyelids back down.

It’s much more difficult to do than it looks in the films or TV.

I stayed with my sister that night. We both fell asleep in her bed, in the day clothes (her) and the work clothes (me) we’d been walking round in.

Yesterday we had the celebrant round (well-groomed, lovely, a firm believer that the Moon landings were fake). Then there was the funeral director, to discuss the other arrangements. Afterwards we ordered the flowers (immediate family only, donations to the hospice otherwise). Everyone was courteous and polite, but I exited feeling like I’d been beaten with a stick anyway.

I’ve cried precisely three times. The rest of the tears just lurk, and circle like sharks.

Broad bean fritters


Awoke this morning to a sand-papered throat and clamping headache. Application of breakfast and black tea made with honey didn’t shift the issue noticeably, so I made a call to work, refilled my hot water bottle and went back to bed and to bizarre dreams of being a beauty products auditor*, interspersed with snatches of Radio 4.

Eventually I resurfaced in the early afternoon, to field a couple of calls about my mother. We agreed that if I’m potentially infectious I won’t visit tonight or tomorrow, barring serious deterioration on her part (at which point it won’t matter anyway).

My original plan for Monday night dinner had been Bibimbap, but I didn’t really feel up to something that complex. There are however some frozen broad-beans that need using up, so I had a shot at a version of Deena Kakaya’s Broad Bean & Paneer fritters – comfort food with minimal prep but a good dose of healthy green veg, spices and protein – ideal for the unwell….


*no resemblance whatsoever to my actual job in a technical field(!)

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