Sorry about the gap in posts. Busy at work, plus a stinking cold, plus the run-up to the one-year anniversary of my mother’s passing, has left me reaching for the tried-and-trusted rather than the new-and-shiny. I’ve developed an ongoing throat issue as well which I’m trying to manage by cutting out alcohol, spicy and acidic foods for a couple of weeks (argghh) and as much caffeine as I can remove without becoming an active danger to other people (HULK NEED LATTE. HULK SMASH). Which has narrowed my options a little. But what’s the point of having a cookery blog if it doesn’t give you a ready-made and handy back-catalogue of tasty dishes? So I took another shot at this herby mushroom pancake, this time with feta, spinach and potato as the stuffing….
Just discovered the damndelicious blog. Gotta like a woman confident enough to give her website that name. 😉
Fancied something different for breakfast, so enlarged a zucchini fritters recipe from the website into a pancake. Fried it, then cooled and left in the fridge overnight, ready to be chucked into the oven and reheated the next morning on a baking tray lightly greased with olive oil.
One of my work colleagues dug up a screen saver of something he thought would specifically make me laugh, which was the AC/DC band logo reworked as:
Highway to Look, a Squirrel!
Not sure what he means by this, I’m sure I’m a paragon of calm serenity and Buddhist focus at work. Okay there was that discussion of the effect of large collections of kitsch garden gnomes on the male libido. But it was all done….mindfully I assure you.
I decided I didn’t have enough washing-up to do, so decided to make two rice dishes simultaneously tonight in order to add that authentic precariously-heaped-mountain-of-crockery-and-now-I’ve-run-out-of-bloody-spoons vibe to the kitchen. One a soothing but spicy pilaf main dish, the other a “brunch” according to the original recipe, although to be fair I think it’s a brunch for someone who’s much more awake mid-morning at the weekend than I am…..
Originals can be found here:
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(!)
Picked up a couple of recipes from Deena Kakaya’s website http://www.deenakakaya.com/, and as they both require red onion (and I only have one in the fridge), I thought I’d have a go at both simultaneously. One, a fenugreek-heavy tofu curry, the other a chickpea-flour pancake, staggering under the even heavier weight of sweetpotato and courgette. Enjoy.
So it’s Friday and I’ve survived another week at work, and I’ve been to the supermarket (Russian Standard Vodka! Tenner a Bottle! Cockles and Mussels Alive-O!) and then to the gym and I will be sensible and have an early night, which is why I’m up typing this at 01.40am of course.
Friday night dinners lack the urgency of week-night meals. You can stick some defrosted bean chilli in a baking tray and then into the oven, as per usual, but it’s possible then to kick back, relax, refill your drink, and experiment with home-made pancakes, flat breads or crepes as an accompaniment. Tonight’s show was originally going to come courtesy of the rice-flour pancakes I’ve touted here a couple of times before. Except I appear to have lost the knack of making these delicate crepes; what I ended up with after an hour of repeated stirring, pouring and frying would have made an excellent coconut-flavoured wallpaper paste, but was sod-all use otherwise.
Undaunted (and bloody starving) I moved onto these gram flour pancakes, also from 101cookbooks http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/silverdollar-socca-recipe.html. Fortunately these were a little more robust, and with a dash of tomato chutney, (I’d eaten the bean chilli long before), made a fine supper.
I’ve gone a bit bread-mad. My day-to-day needs are generally met by buying a job-lot of pitta breads from the supermarket and freezing them, to defrost for the breakfast scrambled eggs/lunch-time salad/handy carbohydrate-dippers for a dinner-time curry, stew or casserole. But suddenly I’m buying big bags of flour, plain and self-raising, bicarbonate of soda, yeast. Testing the milk-curdling powers of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and cider vinegar respectively, for Irish soda bread. Sidling in and out of Holland and Barratt* in a cheap rain-coat, furtively clutching a bag of brown-rice flour like I’m in a vegetarian “Trainspotting”.
I haven’t even started on the myriad forms and styles of flat-bread yet. But I intend to, oh yeessss.
I suppose it’s understandable psychologically. A cooked, grain-based carbohydrate is the backbone of so many cuisines across so much of the world. The mediaeval trencher-bread, doused in venison stew, Mexican tortillas, hard sticks of traditional French bread, wraps and pancakes and cucumber sandwiches, crusts removed. There’s something very comforting about bread, it’s adaptable, filling, keeps well, travels well, and wraps up the flavours of other foods, from the watery green cucumber, to the hottest chilli, in a smooth, easily-digestible blanket.
It doesn’t take a lot of introspection to understand why now, of all times, it seems important that I know how to make it.
*UK high-street health-food shop