Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sharon Olds

"Poems come from ordinary experiences and objects, I think. Out of memory—a dress I lent my daughter on her way back to college; a newspaper photograph of war; a breast self-exam; the tooth fairy; Calvinist parents who beat up their children; a gesture of love; seeing oneself naked over age 50 in a set of bright hotel bathroom mirrors."
Sharon Olds

Monday, March 28, 2011


So the clocks have gone forward and I left the house on Sunday without a jacket. Spring is finally in the air. The chances to enjoy hearty, warming vegtable soup are almost gone so this is my last hurrah. It's vegtable soup; also known as clear the bottom of the fridge soup. I love making soup because its just do darned easy and quick, and nothing is more comforting. To be enjoyed with my cheats brown bread: I used the ready mix brown bread and added in a handful of toasted seeds and a handful of walnuts; hand crushed just before adding to the mixture, leaving nice big chunks to be crunched under melting butter.

Vegtable Soup

3 Cloves Garlic, sliced.
1 Onion, chopped roughly.
1 Pepper, deseeded, chopped.
1 Courgette, chopped.
1 Potato, peeled and chopped.
Handful of Red Lentils
Vegtable Stock
Glug of Olive Oil and knob of butter.
Any herbs you like. I used a generous amount of Oregano and Basil.

- Saute the onion and garlic in the Olive Oil and Butter (even a small amount makes a huge difference to the final taste; it imparts a richness that oil lacks). When these start to soften add the vegtables and saute for another minute or two.
- Pour over the stock; enough to cover the vegtables. Add the lentils and herbs and bring to the boil.
- I prefer smooth soups so once all the vegtables are cooked, blend it. Do a little taste test and amend the seasoning if you need to. Yum.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Thai Red Curry and Lime Rice

1 Carrot
1 Parsnip
1/2 Butternut Squash
4 Baby Potatoes
1/2 Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
1/2 Tin Coconut Milk
150ml Veg Stock
Dash of Soy Sauce
Dash of Fish Sauce

(I did mine in my slow cooker but this could easily be done on the hob with any kind of vegetables you like!)

- Prep the veg and chop into similar sizes (so they cook at the same time), place in slow cooker. Or set aside to be added to pot later.
- Fry off onions and garlic until just cooked through. Add in the Curry paste, Soy and Fish sauce, cook for another minute. Then add Coconut milk and Stock. Once this reaches the boil add to the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours. Alternately add the vegetables to the sauce and cook on a low heat until the vegetables are cooked through but not falling apart.
- For the Lime Rice, I used brown rice. Cook according to instructions and drain (if there's excess water). While it is still warm add in the zest and juice of the lime and toss to coat evenly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Almond craze

So at work we are all partaking in the giving up of something for Lent. Not for religious reasons but more so from a 'can i do it' point of view. Needless to say within a few days we were finding replacement foods using what now may be termed our new catchphrase : 'technically speaking it's not ...'. We even have charts going with weekend bonus stars ... we're really busy here, I swear.
Us humans really are hilarious; we put these self imposed rules on ourselves and then immediately go about finding ways around them, what are we like?!
I will be the first to hold my hands up and admit I am a snack addict. I love munching on whatever happens to be to hand. My excuse is that I have crazy blood sugars, which actually (no technically about it) is true. So I try my best to surround myself with more healthy fare. And this is where the Almonds come in.
I found some Almonds in my press which were not exactly the freshest and in an effort not to waste relatively good food, i threw them in the oven (180) for about ten minutes. When I took them out I tossed them with a good drizzle of Olive Oil and a sprinkling of Maldon salt, left them to cool. Easy, yes. Tasty, yes. Addictive, most definitely yes. Healthy, kind of. I brought them into work to share the 'we're not off them for lent' love and it has started a bit of a craze. Theres all sort of new toppings being explored; chilli, sugar, em salt.
This is the first time in a long time I've given up anything. Last night on the sofa reading I would have murdered a packet of Jaffa cakes or choc chip cookies. So I had a cracker instead and went to bed early. It's not like I eat that food all the time, but it's when you get a notion and you can't fulfill it. I can't wait for a quality chocolate fest on Easter followed by that distinctly nauseous feeling ... Ahhh only five more weeks to go ...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


So knowing I have a three day week this week I decided I wouldn't get too excited about lunches. So keeping it simple (i don't even have a picture!)...
Wraps with: chicken, avacado, alfalfa sprouts, rocket, spring onion, mayo.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Quinoa Salad

This is my first time ever using Quinoa. It certainly kept me full up till dinner time but I think I prefer Buck Wheat.

1/2 cup Quinoa
1/2 cucumber; deseeded, diced
2 tomaotes; deseeded, diced
Handful Chives, chopped
Handful Curly Parsley, chopped
Block of Haloumi
Handful of roast sunflower seeds
1/2 Butternut squash
1 lime

- Cut the Squash into chuncks, splash some olive oil on it and a sprinkling of chilli flakes and roast in the oven (180) for about 30 minutes.
- While thats roasting away, chop up the Haloumi into smaller chunks and saute it, so you have nice and crispy Haloumi bites!
- Meanwhile rinse the Quinoa and put into a pot with a cup of water and bring to the boil. It's done when the beads go transulcent and sprout. It took mine about 10 minutes and I drained off the excess water.
- Toss everything together with the zest of a lime. For the dressing I drizzle olive oil and lime juice over it.
- I also throw a handful of rocket on top of it in my lunch box!

(BTW- When I say cup I mean the American standard cup sizes. You can buy these almost everywhere nowadays. They make life a lot easier because theres no fiddly measuring out. If memory serves me correctly I bought my set in TK Maxx for around 8Euro and they're stainless steel.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Graphic Novel

I am currently entering the world of the Graphic Novel. It is a world that I scoffed at on many an occasion. Deriding it with a 'pah' or something less polite. I had in my head visions of lone teenage boys over-ridden with testosterone and antisocial behaviour. Surely there was nothing there that I needed to know. Luckily it turned out that was a world that I didn't need to enter.
I entered in on a slightly different path, one occupied by the book 'Maus' by Art Spiegelman. What a level to enter on! To say that I was blown away is putting it mildly. There was me and the book, a Sunday afternoon, a sofa, a blanket, lunch and even dinner. I was left reeling; complex, moving, tenacious, disturbing. Talk about blowing my ill conceived notions out of the water in one fowl swoop.
This was quickly followed up by 'A Drifting Life' by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. 'Persepolis' by Marjane Satrapi is next up and 'Fun Home' by Alison Bechdel is on the horizon.
More recommendations greatly appreciated ...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


You'll need a slow-cooker for this one ...

Tri Colour Dum Aloo

1/2 onion
1 orange pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cardamom pods
pinch of freshly ground cinnamon
1/2 inch fresh ginger
1/2 tin of tomatoes
150ml veg stock
pinch of sugar
350g baby potatoes
50g baby leaf spinach
1/2 bunch coriander

- Fry the onion until soft. In a pestle and mortar combine the spices and ginger then add to the onions. Fry for another minute or two.
- Chop the potatoes into similar size chunks and slice the pepper finely then place in the slow cooker.
- Add the stock and tomatoes to the onions and bring to the boil. Then add to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 and a half hours.
- When done add the spinach and coriander. Serve with nan bread.
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