Monthly Archives: July 2018

Fried Food (Or a lack thereof…)

As a side challenge this month, I’ve doing something else from my Day Zero List, and trying not to eat fried food for a month. It’s been relatively successful actually, as other than one packet of crisps early on in the month, and pinching a couple of a mate’s chips in the pub one evening, I’ve managed to almost entirely avoid fried food throughout this month. I refuse to count sautéing mushrooms to make a sauce, largely because that that feels like taking things to ridiculous extremes.

I expected it to be a much more difficult challenge than it turned out to be. My reason for doing it this month, was that I felt that I’d eaten too much rubbish, what with travelling so much for work – and also being on holiday – and wanted to cut back on deep fried food in particular. I should perhaps have made it more specific – deep fried food – because while I felt the benefit of the desired decreased intake of chips in particular, what the challenge was, was inconvenient. I couldn’t have a stir-fry, or a curry for that matter. Most Mexican food was out of the window too. Many of my plans to try new ingredients were de-railed because it seemed like every cooked recipe I found, involved some element of frying, and the alternative methods of cooking I might have normally used to circumvent the prohibition proved too time-consuming with my current shift pattern. So really it’s proved to be more of a frustrating prohibition rather than a difficult or challenging one.

And it just dawned on me that the little portion of pumpkin katsu curry that I had at the sushi place where I ate dinner last night, was bread-crumbed and most likely flash fried. What a…nuisance. Which could equally well sum up this month’s food challenge. A complete nuisance.

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Beetroot Double Feature

This month I’ve been doing a mini-challenge, not just with food, but with a variety of projects. At the start of July I declared this month, ‘finish the things’ month. I’ve a bit of an unfortunate tendency to start far too many projects and not finish them, and while I’m certainly better at that than I used to be, it’s an on-going work in progress that needs regular stock-taking and attention. Mostly this month has involved finishing half-read books, watching documentaries I have book-marked in tabs and not starting new craft-projects. However, I’ve been trying to do it more generally in my cupboards, which has meant (alongside using up bottles of moisturiser & shampoo with tiny amounts left in the bottom) that I’ve been trying to cook up my cupboards rather than buying more things.

As part of my project to re-habilitate beetroot, I’ve taken to keeping one of those vacuum-packs of cooked beetroot in the fridge as emergency vegetables during winter. Quick and easy to use, lasts for months in the fridge. However, you do need to remember to actually use them, as it’s easy to forget about them once the better weather – and greater vegetable availability/variety – returns. Handily I discovered I had some giant couscous needing used up, so I picked up some feta cheese cubes, cropped some spinach from my container garden and made my summer variant of beetroot risotto. However, because I was only making enough to use up the remains of the couscous I was still left with half a packet of – now blended – beetroot. Which prompted the question: what else to make?

One of the major challenges that I’ve faced with my ’52 ingredients’ challenge, is that I end up with lots of new things to use up. It’s all well and good finding a recipe to try several new ingredients on, but I end up spending the rest of the month trying to use up the remains of said ingredients. (Most recipes involving tahini only require a spoonful or two, but it comes in a sizeable jar. I got to the point where I tried eating it on toast but that was a decidedly joyless experience so we’ll be giving that one a miss.) Which limits the options for making things with other new ingredients and so we get stuck in a vicious circle. However, while searching for other recipes for beetroot, I discovered a recipe for a selection of Summer picnic dips, one of which involved beetroot.

It’s technically called Pink cannellini and beetroot dip, however, I didn’t have cannellini beans in the cupboard but I did have a jar of black-eyed beans. Black-eyed beans and Beetroot dip has a pleasantly alliterative sound, and, I’m pleased to report, a pleasantly mellow flavour. It was a four-fold success. It used up my left-over beetroot before it could go off, it meant I tried a new ingredient (black-eyed beans) and it helped use up one of last month’s ‘new’ ingredients (a generous tablespoon of tahini paste). Which in itself would have been good enough for me, but it was very tasty and I’ve been trying it with various different things for picnic lunches.

Based on that success, I’m definitely have a bash at their hummus recipe. I’m pretty sure I’ve got some pumpkin seeds in the cupboard to decorate it with…

Picnic lunch

Categories: 52 Ingredients, being veggie, challenges | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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