So yesterday was lovely, the kind of lazy summer’s day that we have seen almost sod-all of this year, what with Mother Nature trying to drown us all *shakes fist at sky*. I can only assume that the Atlantic is several hundred metres shallower due to all the water being tipped over the UK; if this keeps up we’ll be able to wade from Cornwall to New York fairly soon.
But I digress. Yesterday, I and Little Sister walked/bicycled into Tangleton town centre, through a cycle lane I didn’t realise we had (Tangleton’s attitude towards such Green activities as cycling is generally one of “fuck-off back to Glastonbury you smelly hippies”). Longer walk than I’ve done for a while, but very chilled, lots of little lanes sun-dappled through the leaves, wild flowers, blackberries and even a wild strawberry plant, growing in a church graveyard we passed through, with one perfect, scarlet berry hanging gracefully off a looped stalk. We bought some bling for mum, who wants some new necklaces for her birthday, and lots of food for a, wait for it, a BARBECUE! Repeat, it’s stopped raining long enough for us to dust off the patio set and get marinating meats and chopping vegetables, without having to worry about our drinks being diluted by the rain (see: the Queen’s Jubilee Street Party, 2012).
For the meatavarians there were chicken drumsticks in barbecue sauce, and marinated beef chunks to be skewered on wooden sticks along with button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, white-and-violet striped shallots and courgettes. I skipped the meat and had a couple of Quorn burgers, and some marinated tofu chunks (garlic and soy sauce) to go on the kebab sticks. T’was all very nice, and a good way to mark Mum having survived her first dose of chemotherapy with relatively few side-effects. She has got her normal appetite mostly back now and is enjoying hot food again, after most of a week living off mini pork pies, mild cheddar cheese, grapes, ginger biscuits and my lentil pate. (Note: to self, the lentil pate is fab heated up and mixed with Quorn bacon, on a baked potato. Recipe to follow shortly). Meal topped off nicely by watching Mo Farrar at the Olympics wipe the floor with the opposition, again.
Of course this now means the fridge is crammed with odds and ends of meat and tofu and salad bits. And I have lunch for the next couple of days to prepare. I work quite long hours, plus travel, and it’s not always the easiest environment in which to work. Therefore a decent packed lunch does a lot to raise morale half-way during the day, and helps prevent the 2pm sugar-crash where I start craving such noted health-foods as Aero bars and ready-salted crisps. I’ve got a couple of cans of Aduki beans (commonly used in Japanese food), and there’s recipe on the back of one of them for a salad including rocket, feta cheese, red onion and roasted peppers. And who am I to ignore such useful advice? Roasted some yellow and green pepper pieces, cherry toms, a couple of spare shallots, red onion and some left-over Fake Bacon in a tray at 180F, with a generous dash of olive oil, salt and black pepper. Heated the beans for a few minutes as per instructions, and then mixed with the roasted veg and left to cool. When cool will be pitched into a couple of tupperware containers with rocket salad and chopped feta, plus some crackers for a bit of carbohydrate. Hopefully it will do What It Says on the Tin, and be a delicious lunch. If not, I hope the chocolate machine is still working…..
Also put a generous amount of black beans in to soak overnight. I generally avoid dry legumes unless they’re like red and green lentils, which can be cooked straight away without soaking, because I have Better Things to Bloody Do, but I’ve struggled to find canned black beans, and a recent discovery in the lunch department has been tortilla wraps containing re-fried black beans combined with cheddar cheese, garlic, cumin and paprika, topped with salad. Will experiment with freezing some of the soaked and cooked beans as well, which might make it worth going to the bother of soaking and cooking an entire bag in one go.
Happy eating everyone!