Meals – Day 04, disaster strikes

4 Mar

Coffee withdrawal today seems a bit milder than yesterday already, however I’m definitely noticing the lack of it. Because of that, I’m missing out one some opportunities.

Take breakfast, for instance.

What I had was some fresh baked bread; or more precisely, actually I baked it yesterday night and re-baked it this morning so it got all nice and warm. I didn’t end up eating my banana last night, so I used a handheld blender to mix it with milk to make a banana shake. Then I had a clementine with it for additional fruit.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable to have bread again. With some leftover company breakfast marmalade, at that. But with the milk and banana, I feel I may have missed out on an opportunity to show that bananas sometimes can be used as a substitute for egg (a trick that is well-known in vegan cuisine). I’m sure that for pancakes it would have worked as well. Oh well, pancake probably would have been less healthy than bread anyway.

By the way, interesting jam, marmalade. It’s made of sugar and orange peel – an ingredient most people consider a waste material. Sugar still isn’t a staple in my pantry so I couldn’t give it a try with the clementine peel, but it’s one to keep in mind.

Yesterday, there was one ingredient which I purposefully didn’t buy, although I could have: vinegar. In reality, I still had a nearly full bottle of the stuff in my pantry before the challenge started, bought at a different supermarket (at the same price it would have cost if I had brought it yesterday). So let’s pretend I actually *did* buy the vinegar, charge it from my daily budget as usual but keep the waste down.

For lunchtime, I intended to make pitta pockets with an avoceado-tomato salad, using the lemon thyme I got for flavour. I prepared some dough with just salt, water and flour, shaped it into two pitta breads, then popped them under the grill. Meanwhile, I halved the avocado. It was all brown. Now what? Well, it didn’t look appetising, but it still tasted all right. For colour, I decided to add a little bit of leftover cucumber (which actually I had intended to keep for supper). In the meantime it had started snowing outside. Black clouds were starting to form. Then I realised those black clouds were coming from the grill! While worrying about the avocado, I had forgotten all about the pitta breads. Both of them had puffed up perfectly, but one of it got too close to the heat source and its top had burned to a (very black) crisp. What, pictures? Sorry, didn’t take any. I’d rather pretend it never happened. I cut the burnt half off of the pita, and figured I’d make croutons out of the bottom half. I cubed it, then melted some lard in a skillet, added a bit of chopped garlic and slowly toasted the cubes in it. Popped them under the grill, keeping a close eye on them this time.

They didn’t crisp up quite as much as I would have liked. I didn’t use enough fat, obviously- that’s what you get for trying to be economical.

I’m basically a bit disappointed. If something like this would be served to me in a restaurant, I’d send it back. So I sat down and had a bite. Only to remember that I hadn’t made a photo yet.

Here it is, people – the best I could do for lunch today, considering circumstances.

Pitta pocket with avocado/tomato salad

Lesson learned – next time, make salad first, then the flatbreads. Other than that, pittas have potential; they don’t take much time to make, and once (pre-)baked, they should be a fairly practical thing to bring to work and pop in the toaster there. At least a toaster will switch off by itself after a while.

Verdict – not bad. Of course it would have been quite a lot nicer with some falafel or kebab, and some garlic sauce. I considered improvising some with milk, vinegar, salt and garlic. But wasn’t convinced it would work.

Right, supper then. Once again, I’m pretty much out of everything. The only veg I had left at this point was a quarter of an onion, a tiny bit of cucumber and four tomatoes. And then what, pasta? I just had pasta yesterday. Then I realised I had the classic chilli, garlic, ginger combo available. As I went to get my camera, I also ran into the foraged hazelnuts. Would they still be usable?

As it turns out, about two thirds of the hazelnuts were still good. roasted them for a bit, then mixed them into the mix of garlic/ginger/chilli which I had cooked up in the meantime. I also took the hint from breakfast and added some clementine peel to it. Meanwhile I boiled rice with some salt and a chopped clove of garlic was boiling away. This rice, by the way, typically turns gloopy. I don’t mind eating it, but I don’t like cooking it. It might be usable for a risotto though. Given the choice, I’d rather use basmati and arborio, respectively.

Good, lacking much vegetable matter, I decided to garnish up this dish to at least make it look somewhat nice. Here’s the result:

Garlic rice with hazelnut stirfry

In the end, it wasn’t too bad – although it looked like there was too much rice to go with the tiny little hazelnut stir-fry, the latter was quite strong-tasting. It probably was a good thing there wasn’t more of it. I probably hit my five-a-day today- I had my banana, have been munching on 4 or 5 clementines, had 2 tomatoes (one not shown above), an avocado and the whole leftover of cucumber. I’m a bit worried about tomorrow, though.

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