Vegetables, remixed

2 May

Massive thanks go out to Sue Hall, Neil de Villiers and Will Smith for their contributions! This takes us into the top 20% of highest contributors, which is fantastic going! But we’re still a good bit away from the target. If you haven’t yet, please consider donating on my “live below the line” profile page.

Now, on to the bloggy bit of this challenge.

I confess. Today was actually a bit of a struggle. I made a crumpet for breakfast (well, sort of one at least), which I had au naturel. Not trying to sound posh here or anything. Just admitting that it sounds better than “plain”, which is what it tasted like.
2013_day04_breakfast

It was so ugly that its own mother would reject it. And that’s the better looking side right there.
I had run out of time for making anything fancy for lunch, so I figured I’d just make a quick flatbread and enjoy it with peanut butter.

Of course, it would be helpful if next time I’d remember to bring the peanut butter.

So here you go.

2013day04_lunch

I had also thought of bringing some mint to have a nice hot drink, but noooooooo. I had to forget again. So I went through the day on a prisoner’s diet of water and bread. I tried to live it up with foraged tea:

IMG_1527

… which didn’t look particularly inviting either. (Okay, it was a bit better after removing the solids, at which point it pretty much looked like a regular green tea).

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It wasn’t great, but not too bad. That is, if you happen to like tea that tastes sort of like asparagus. Okay, so it was pretty bad. Still, it was a welcome change from only water day in day out. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy a nice cold glass of water, especially on a hot summer day. Nothing like it. But I thrive on variation.

This day just had to be turned around. Supper was certainly going to have to be a bit more interesting. I’d already been telling myself, “So, what’s for supper? I know, let’s have LENTILS again. Hurray!” You can just feel the excitement.

I decided to go for a bit of a walk before thinking of dinner. Certainly that would help inspire me. And guess what – it did. I had hardly left my street or I noticed some wild onion growing about. Never knew I had some of the stuff around. So what would I eat, pasta? I already had pasta yesterday. Italian influences seemed like a good idea though. Sardinian “music paper” bread came to mind. The stuff is basically paper-thin rolled dough, baked to a crisp, seasoned with salt and rosemary. Certainly that was achievable. Lacking rosemary, a few pine needles seemed the natural substitute. You certainly don’t want them to overpower! Anyway, I gave it a go and baked it at low heat – about 160°C (too hot and it would easily burn).

And what else, pasta? Nah, not today. Some cauliflower would be nice… This dinner was starting to take shape. So, I took all my frozen mixed veg and got to work.

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I sorted my mixed vegetables by colour. That must be the most severely autistic thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Notice there’s considerably more carrot in the mixed vegetables than cauliflower or broccoli/peas. Carrot must be cheap, while broccoli and peas are obviously a lot more expensive. Since the bag only stated “Mixed vegetables in varying proportions”, I never had any idea what those proportions were. Well… Now we do.

With the vegetables sorted out, inspiration started flowing a bit better as well. There’s this dish, “gobi manchurian”, which is essentially a Chinese/Indian sweet-sour-spicy cauliflower tempura. Cauliflower, when submitted to high temperature, changes flavour considerably. I coated the cauliflower with some flour and pan-fried it with a tiny bit of oil until the flour started to brown a bit. If you’ve never liked cauliflower and you’ve only ever had it boiled – Try this. It’s like an entirely different vegetable. I realized I probably better eat my lentils, both to stay filled up and to fulfil my protein requirements. Oh well. I didn’t do anything fancy with them this time – for the first time this week. Sometimes having things plain is all the variation you need. I saved the peas and broccoli. I’ll use those tomorrow. I used about half the carrot, and decided to puree them with a bit of cardamom. That trick worked well with the swede last Monday, and I figured it would combine well with carrot, too.

Overall, I’m glad I did the sorting, as it allowed for slightly different textures and flavours than before.

So here is… my supper for today.

2013_day04_supper

Vibrant carrot puree. Delicious lentils (meh). Crispy “music paper” bread. Nutty cauliflower, which was actually enjoyable. And a sprig of wild onion to help make it look posh (Okay, I guess it didn’t work. It still looks just like a messy heap of grub). At least my day has redeemed itself somewhat. And I’ve got a crispy nibble left for tonight.

Damage done:

Flour: 10p worth
Lentils: 20p
Mixed veg:  18p
Oil, herbs, spices, salt: 10p (that’s probably generous)
=======================================
68p… More under budget than ever. I seem to be getting the hang of this.

Budget not spent yet: 58p. I’m allowed to spend it on either more groceries and/or herbs and spices. Which basically means, I can go overboard with herbs and spices tomorrow.

Then again, I probably should spread some peanut butter on that crispy nibble tonight.

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2 Responses to “Vegetables, remixed”

  1. ournewlifeinthecountry May 3, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    Sorting through your veg must have given you a happy 10 minutes, it’s something I have done myself in the past….. so why did I laugh when I saw you neat little bowls :-)

    Your ‘messy heap grub’ looks remarkably chef like and would not be out of place on a restaurant of top class, although I guess they would charge more than your daily allowance for the privilege of eating it.

    I should have asked permission (oops) but I linked to you in my Blog post the other day

    http://ournewlifeinthecountry.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/make-it-work-may.html

    So you may get a few of my Followers dropping by, don’t worry they are a pretty harmless bunch and remarkably sane considering they read my ramblings most days :-), that was why I asked permission to pinch your quote the other day, thanks for sayng yes.

    Enjoy your last day of Live Below the Line, I was happy to make my small donation and WOW I am in such good company Will Smith no less :-)

    I wonder what your next Challenge will be?

    • kleinebre May 4, 2013 at 12:02 am #

      Linking to this blog, not a problem at all. The more the merrier! Thanks again for your donation.

      My next challenge will likely have something to do with cooking from scratch, and should make for some pretty good coffee-table literature. It’s still going to take a good amount of research, though!

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