Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Fall

Ok, I take it all back about feeling confident about cooking meat as a veggie.

Not that I even have to deal with the lump of dead cow that is currently scaring the living daylights out of me every time I open the fridge, but. Ew, ick.

The friend who was supposed to be hosting NYE dinner is sick, so now NYE will be a joint effort between my friend E (next door) and myself. E will cook The Cow. All well and good. But I had to go and buy The Cow from the farmshop this morning - rib of beef, 3 ribs.

Almost four kilos of cow corpse. Given the cost of it (not mine, bless E), please God the butcher didn't see a blanching vegetarian and decide to palm off the mankiest beast that had ever ended its days under a sharp implement (no, I don't want to think about it) onto me. Never mind creating deliciousness out of this for my carnivorous beloveds; all that I am going to create with this monstrosity is one very large hysterical fit.


Happy New Year, all. xxxx.

Monday, 29 December 2008

The Dragon

In the end I had a very quiet, peaceful and lovely Christmas with my mother. I cooked butternut squash with orange and pomegranate; brussels with chestnuts and roasted shallots; roasted parnsips and carrots (and one potato for her), and braised fennel. And veggie gravy. Yummy. We just chilled out and took long, cold walks along the river and watched TV (something I do rarely, and wow have I had enough of it) and it was just lovely.

This morning I made the Best Soup I Have Ever Made (until the next time). Making soup is my current addiction. Veggies are so cheap at the moment (which is scary and comforting at the same time). Parsnips, carrots and onions are 50p a bag in Sainsburys, and if I had more room in my freezer I would be a one woman soup production machine. The Best Soup I Have Ever Made was thrown together with a pack of parsnips, a bunch of carrots, 2 sticks of celery, 2 onions, some garlic, one star anise, a shard of cinnamon stick, a shake of the cumin seed pot and a very restrained one of the dried chilli, all simmered together with plain water for about an hour and then whizzed vigourously in my food processor (star anise and cinnamon removed). I really think soup is a miracle in potentia and today the miracle happened. OMG, v yum. I've got 3 lovely boxes of it frozen ready to grab whenever I want now.

Of course sometimes the miracle doesn't happen and in order to make room in the freezer for the miracle that did happen, I now have a vat of pond slime (aka celery-from-the-garden-soup-which-I-know-I-didn't-try-hard-enough-with-so-is-all-my-own-fault) defrosting in the kitchen. But... waste not, want not! But mmmm, parsnips!

Friday, 19 December 2008

The Cold

I'd have to have been superhuman not to have caught this. P came down with something absolutely disgusting in the middle of last weekend, and while I fought very hard against it with lots of lemon juice and honey and garlic and broccoli (not all at the same time), consecutive nights of him hacking and choking and spluttering all over me (I assume not deliberately) took their toll, and I feel like a walking plague. Perhaps it is the vestiges of my CR'd immune system kicking in, trying to rid my body of this bug as quickly as it can and, apparently (risking TMI here) any way it can... but my, am I not pretty right now.

Still, I should be okay by Christmas, I hope. I've taken 2 days sick and had some much needed bed time, and I have the days before The Day off work next week as well. P and I are spending it apart - he's in London because his football team are playing on Boxing Day, and I'm going to my mother's. Mum has asked me to sort out our Xmas lunch / dinnner, so I need to get that in hand.

Last weekend I cooked the anti-CRON festive dinner for P and 2 of our bestest friends. My friend T and I went to Borough Market and foraged as I planned the menu in my head, changing it depending on what looked good as we walked around.

We ended up with:

A salad of chicory, raddiccio, and frisee, mixed with sliced orange, scattered with pomegranate seeds and tossed in a light dressing of pomegranate molasses, white balsamic, EVOO and grain mustard. I stuffed a pheasant with lemon, garlic, thyme and butter; rubbed it with salt and pepper and roasted it; P did the honours for me and shredded it once cooked, and the shreds of meat were scattered on top of the salad leaves (although not mine, obviously).

Roasted haunch of venison. I had had the idea of cooking sea bass but what can I say? Walking around in the rain on a freezing cold day, Bambi looked a far more solid bet for the carnivores, and I wasn't wrong. I roasted it on a bed of jerusalem artichokes, carrots, onions, whole garlic and thyme, with the pan deglazed with red wine after the meat was removed.

I roasted plain veggies for me.

We polished off a HUGE savoy cabbage, and a romanesco cauliflower.

Yum. I'm told I am really good at cooking meat and getting the flavours right. Quite how, I don't know; I can only describe it as sort of like painting in my head, things click. But then I might just have incredibly generous and complimentary friends. :-)

But my mother is not at all a meaty person. She doesn't like fish. She also doesn't like chilli, garlic, or most spices. In fact, all she has demanded for her Xmas lunch / dinner so far are roasted parsnips. The lazy part of me is thinking about going with that, adding some extra veggies, steaming some kale, and chucking some pomegranate seeds around for that festive touch. It's only the 2 of us; any excess just seems unnecessary and unwanted work. We shall see. I guess it all depends if I am fit for human company by then.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Hunger

I don't know what is up with me lately; whether it is the cold weather, or the stress that I've been under / am under / feel all around me when I see my friends suffering and am unable to help... but my appetite has become voracious. And this really annoys me. I hate feeling hungry (if hungry is what it is); it hurts, it makes me snappy and bad-tempered, edgy, unable to settle, nervy - frankly more mad than usual. And no matter what I do, I don't seem to be able to get rid of the feeling. I feel as though I am eating all the time. Just, grrr!

I am irritated that I cannot download the version of java onto this machine that I would need to run CoM again. If I was tracking the calories or nutrition in what I am eating, it might explain why I am hungry, or feel so desparately unsatisfied all the time, even after a meal. Maybe I've got my protein too low, my carbs too high - I'm almost certainly not having enough good fats. I've been eating fruit and adding agave nectar to my yoghurt; maybe that's it. The last thing I need is to be coming up to these few weeks of parties and dinners and feel as out of balance as I do.

Today I've eaten:
55g oatmeal (I weighed that!) made with water
10 almonds
fat-free cottage cheese (let's say 100-125g) mixed with pumpkin seeds and flax seeds
2 bowls of homemade veggie soup (mostly carrot, 1 leek, 2 sweet potatoes, 2 onions, garlic, water - it made those 2 bowls plus 3 .75l containers as leftovers)
2 apples
c.175-200g fat-free yoghurt with a tablespoon of museli and some agave nectar
carrot sticks (say 150g or so)
c.75-100g smoked tofu

Dinner is going to be broccoli, zucchini, and leek, possibly some peas. Can you tell I'm trying to finish up the contents of the fridge? :-)

I don't think I've forgotten anything... Written down it doesn't look all that much - but I just can't tell any more.

Thoughts? Suggestions? (Nice ones please; I'm fragile.. :-) )

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bright Side

This promises (so far) to entertain me all afternoon (alongside the joys of coding .net, of course).

So, come on. Let's have some guilty foodie secrets in comments here. CRON or otherwise; past or present... Hmm, one of my own? Um... P would say its my prediliction for steamed broccoli with sea salt and black pepper but I hardly think that counts as a guilty secret.

In the past, I have to admit I adored Kraft Mac&Cheese. Out of the box. In all its buttercup glory. And cold rice pudding, or cold custard, out of the tin.

Couldn't bear either now, of course, but oh the nostalgia!