Sunday, 13 September 2009

So what *do* you eat?!

Stop teasing us, I hear you cry, make with the food already!

I know, I know, I keep talking about food and it's making you all want steak and chips with loads of mayonnaise and some pork on top.

This morning I ate two lots of breakfast (oops) - toast with two kinds of jam, and muesli with soy yogurt. Homemade sort-of-muesli, anyway: mixed some oats with some almond meal, wheatgerm (nothing scary, just the protein part of the wheat, looks a bit like bran but yellow-y rather than brown-y in colour), chopped hazelnuts, chopped partially rehydrated figs and, of course, raisins.

Then half an hour later I ate the little pile of mini-ganache truffles out of the fridge that I'd made yesterday, having successfully resisted eating them just before bed. They were really nice. So nice, in fact, that I'm considering attempting to make larger and more complicated truffles to impress people with (and for me to eat, of course, because they are yummy). Ganache is pretty easy to make, so I reckon if I can try cutting it with chopped nuts, or a bit of mint or orange oil, dried fruit, spices, etc, I'll have something pretty goddamn good. As long as it doesn't do weird stuff to the chocolate. Oh no, I might have to practice more and then I'll have to eat the not-quite-perfect fruits of my labour, whatever shall I do.

The day before yesterday I was feeling very strung out what with my house purchase, and needed some serious cupcake dosage. Therefore that evening I made Mexican Chocolate cupcakes. They were pretty good, perhaps didn't quite hit the spot - dare I say too dense and chocolatey? - but this may have been due to a) my using brown rice flour rather than ordinary, because that's what I had, and b) not putting enough chilli powder in. The recipe said cayenne and I didn't have any, so went with chilli but was overly cautious.

Anyhoo, I ate about 4 of these throughout the day yesterday, which is actually quite restrained. Managed to give several away to staff and housemates. I'm considering offering some of my next batch to the Big Issue seller across the road as I always feel guilty for not wanting to buy his wares. Or to the occasional homeless person who comes into the shop trying to blag free clothes. 'I'm sorry sir, I can't give you any stock for free - but wouldn't you rather have this delicious gingerbread cupcake with lemon icing instead?' Surely they won't be able to resist. It could set a dangerous precedent though.

It's possible that I eat non-sugar-based things from time to time, too. (I promise I'm a mostly healthy vegan. I'm certainly a more healthy vegan than I ever was omni.) In fact I made a rather triumphant thai-style curry last night, off the top of my head. My first successful impromptu curry, I think. Having made the Mexican cakes, I had about 2/3 cup coconut milk left over (that particular recipe used coconut milk rather than soy milk). I had a vague idea of what I wanted to eat - it involved rice and vegetables and deliciousness - but only an even vaguer idea of how to achieve it. A bit of googling on Thai peanut sauce and various other coconut milk-based spice pastes, and I felt marginally more prepared.

Turns out, it was really easy. I put the rice on to boil (brown short grain, of course), poured the milk into a small saucepan to heat up, and then selected some spices. Normally when I do this I go minimalist, as I'm worried about getting the combination wrong. This time I threw caution to the wind and grabbed fresh ginger, turmeric, cardamom pods, chilli powder, tamarind paste and lime leaves (though I forgot to add these in the end). Coconut milk being oil-based rather than water-based means it's ridiculously easy to just chuck it all in, rather than the slightly annoying Indian methods of having to fry the spices in oil before adding them to the sauce. I also sloshed in a little bit of soy sauce and a drop or two of sesame oil. Then I steamed some courgette, carrot and broccoli over the rice pot for 5 minutes before mixing it all together. Conclusion: delicious, but next time just one cardamom pod rather than two...

Here's another food blog I update from time to time:

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