Thursday, 26 March 2015

What do you get if you cross kale and brussels sprouts? This

After last week's gluttony, I thought I best show you that I do eat things other than cake, in case you were wondering whether I might get scurvy through lack of vegetables.

Look, here's my proof: a great big vat of curry.

It's gobi aloo saag right there. It's been a favourite of mine since I was a kid, when my dad use to make it for us on a Saturday. I make it a bit differently to he did though - I like to roast the cauliflower before I add it into the rest of the dish (inspiration courtesy of this recipe on the BBC).

 Mr Flicking the Vs fears cauliflower (the only dinner I've cooked him which he admitted to not liking was a cauliflower curry) so this dish was pretty much mine, all mine.

Occasionally I ramble on about discovering a new vegetable, and you're probably reading this thinking: 'yeah, new to you, maybe, I've been eating monk's beard since, like, forever. Duh.' Well, here's a veggie that I reckon is actually pretty new as new goes. Do you recognise it?

Looks like a bit like purple kale, you might think. While it's not kale, there is a bit of kale in its family tree.

That bowl above is full of flower sprouts, also known as something like rosetta sprouts.
When I did a bit of Googling to work out how to cook them (which I Googled just after Googling 'what I have bought?') I found flower sprouts being talked up on a few websites as the vegetable that can get kids to like greens. How can they charm even the most hardened of green-dodgers, you may ask? It's because they're apparently a cross between kale and brussels sprouts without being too much of either. I didn't know that when I bought them, but it filled my heart with joy to read - kale and brussels must be two of my favourite vegetables in existence (and there's a lot of vegetables on my love list.)

Having stumbled on the official flower sprouts website (yep, there really is one), I decided to cook up some bubble and squeak cakes and stick a few flower sprouts in for good measure.

The end result? Sadly not as good as you'd hope. I love brussels, I love kale (is it a vegan thing?) but the reason flower sprouts are being pitched as right for children is that they don't really taste of either vegetable.

There's none of the irony tang of kale or the cabbagey fun of brussels. Flower sprouts are fine, but next time I want some green veg, I'll leave this one to the kids and pile my plate high with its ancestors.

Kale is never far away from my plate, of course. After all my sugar binge the other week, all I fancied was just a bowl of veggies. Sometimes, just roasting some and serving them with rice and lentils is all you need and all you want.

I was told once that in Japanese food should always have five colours on the plate for lots of interesting reasons. If you close your eyes and pretend the kale is black (well, it's a little overdone, so not such a massive stretch of the imagination) then I'd totally have aced the whole five. Whatever the origins of the practice, there's no denying that the more different colours you have in your diet, the more balanced diet you have.

I love yellow beetroot. I love purple beetroot too, but the yellow beetroot stain your clothes less. 
After roasting one for my veg bowl up there, I thought I'd try salt-baking another one. I've never tried salt baking anything before, but I'm intrigued to find out if it was worth the effort.

Most of the recipes I saw involved making the crust with salt and egg whites, but I found this one that was salt, water and flour. I made up the dough, wrapped the beetroot in its little briny coat and baked til the skewer I stuck in it didn't meet with any resistance.

I waited for the crust to cool and then broke it open, took off the skin of the beetroot, and tucked in. 

Aaaaaaand - it was a bit disappointing. It was SO salty. All I could taste was the salt, not the lovely beetroot underneath. Sure the texture was interesting and definitely different to the non-salt-baked version, but the taste? Yeesh. I could feel my blood pressure being pushed skywards with every bite.

Where am I going wrong? Here's a quick look at what I took out of the oven, all tips gratefully received:

And yeah, of course I didn't let a week go by without baking something to assuage the demands of my sweet tooth, the ferocious beast that it is.

I had to whip up another batch of ginger-less gingerbread biscuits. I will write down the recipe one of these days and share my lazy person's biscuit discovery. You can't go wrong with it - add a load of flour, you get a biscuit with a nice snap, add a bit less and you'll get a softer cookie type snack. What's not to love?

So, until I get around to posting the definitive recipe, you'll just have to admire these from afar.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Vegan baking gluttony: Lemon bars, smore's, and scary apple cake

Do you ever have days when everything you touch in the kitchen goes right? No? Me neither. So when I had one of those the other day, I was absolutely astounded. Let me tell you about it.

I'm a sucker for a fruit or vegetable that I've never seen before. If it's a new plant, I can't resist taking it back home to try it out. If you labelled carrots as 'orange parsnips', I'd think 'I've never had an orange parsnip, I'm totally buying half a kilo for Sunday lunch'. When the place I buy my veg from was advertising bergamot lemons, I bought a packet.

Bergamot lemons are very close in appearance to normal lemons, but dinkier and with a divot near the end. You're probably most used to them as the thing that gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive taste. I'd never seen the actual bergamot before, so I was intrigued to give them a try.

After a quick thumb of my cookbooks, I stumbled on the lemon bars from Veganomicon. After a bit of reservation about making a separate biscuit and lemon curd top, I knuckled down and got on with it.

Biscuit mixed, cooked, cooled, curd made, poured on top, stuck in the fridge for a while, while you check your watch and wish the bloody thing would hurry up and set. Final stage: stand and admire handiwork.

Here's what it looked like:

The curd top was so pretty! I used annatto rather than turmeric to colour the top, and it turned out like blown glass.

And the bergamot? It had all the tangy citrus glory you'd expect from a lemon, but with a really floral background note. It was moreish, and the lemon bars didn't last long.

The next baking extravaganza wasn't really much in the way of baking at all. I thought I'd experiment with some Rore's (I coined that name for something half way between raw and smore's, and I'm sticking to it.)

Something I probably should mention - smore's just don't exist in the UK. We don't have them. If you stopped 100 people in the street and asked them what a smore was, you might get one who knew the right answer. It's only because I hang around on American vegan blogs that I've seen smore's before.

I know you're meant to use Graham crackers for the smore's, but Graham crackers don't exist over here either! So, I thought why not make something raw to balance out the toasted marshmallows? I blended some oats, banana, walnuts, and dates and dehydrated a bit. Well, about 12 hours in the end, I think. Then got some chocolate chips, toasted some marshmallows and sandwiched them all in between my dehydrated biscuits.

I was happy with the result!

Bear in mind I've never seen a proper smore up close (nor do I know whether the singular for smore's is smore), so I've no idea if this looks like it should, but it tasted mighty fine. When the biscuits ran out, I just took to toasting the marshmallows on my gas stove and sticking them straight into my mouth.

OK, you might need to sit down for this next photo, because things get a little weird.

My other half brought me news that vegan cake had been sighted in our particular corner of South London - and not only that, he had brought some back home to try. Needless to say, I was fairly excited at the prospect, and a great chunk of apple cake was laid before me.

I tucked in.

I gagged. 

It wasn't good. It wasn't good at all. It was dry and had a chalky, chemical taste to it. It was meant to be gluten free and I have a horrible feeling that it was made my someone with not a lot of experience in vegan or gluten free cooking who had been heavy handed with the egg or gluten replacer. I know that gluten free and vegan cakes can be amazing (cf Cookies and Scream) so this was a huge disappointment. I'm hoping the cake stall in question was having an off day and I'll be going back to try them once the memory of this scary cake chunk has left me.

In general, I prefer to buy my cake from all-vegan bakeries - they're generally better (see sorry case in point above) and there's none finer than Brixton's Ms Cupcake. I used to live a lot closer to that wonderful establishment than I do now, but the other week I got an excuse to stop in. (Excuse = visiting a friend who won't let me in the door without a batch of Ms Cupcake cakes).

There were a couple of new additions (new to me, anyway, maybe not to Ms Cupcake): Nanaimo bars and red velvet oreo brownie. 

They got a bit mangled in the journey from the shop to my friends, but they still tasted fine enough to bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened vegan cake fan

The Nanaimo bar in particular was warmly received by the friend. No surprise there - a great big chocolatey, coconuty base with a river of custard and a topping of chocolate thick enough to need a pickaxe to get through. They may not have been overly photogenic when I got them home, but tasted amazing nonetheless.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Blood oranges, miso mushrooms, and a first try at potato farls

It's been a really mild winter in London this year, but I'd be lying if I said I'm not glad to see the first signs of spring coming to my kitchen.

Blood oranges are now in season, and they're a really welcome addition to regular fruit rotation. There's something really heartening about slicing open the orange and seeing that phenomenal burst of colour in front of you. So pretty.

But while I'm waiting for the rest of the spring fruit and veg to turn up, I'm going to indulge in some hearty winter cuisine with a bit of a carb overload. 

I decided that it was high time I made my first batch of potato farls (or tattie scones, depending on which bit of the world you're from). I used to eat them in my pregan days, but stopped as the readymade versions all seem to have weird and possibly non-herbivorous additives in.

Given how easy potato farls are to make, why I left it so long to cook some up at home I don't know. You have to imagine me slapping my forehead with my palm at this point for appropriate levels of exasperation. 

I started my farl-based experiments with a recipe on the Guardian appropriately entitled 'How to make the perfect potato farls'. The recipe's not vegan, but it's very easily veganisable. You could pretty much sum it up as: take some mashed potato, add some flour til you get a dough, roll out, fry for a bit. 

Once you've done that, you get these beauties:

They're so delicious and so simple to make, and they'll definitely be figuring in more of my breakfasts from now on. I reckon a few fried mushrooms and grilled tomatoes, baked beans or your favourite tofu scramble, and you'd pretty much be making the best breakfast I could think of. (Avocado too, you say? I like your style.)

And talking of mushrooms - since I started getting a veg box scheme, fungi has been making an increasingly frequent appearance in my kitchen. Don't get me wrong, I love mushrooms, but Mr Flicking the Vs hates them. He maintains they have the texture of earlobes and refuses to eat them in any form (mushrooms, that is, not earlobes, though presumably those too).  I haven't really tended to buy mushies for that reason in the past, but thanks to the box scheme sending them regularly, I've been tucking in.

My favourite new thing to do with them is miso marinated carapaccio - the recipe's on Serious Eats, from a series they did on vegan recipes by a guy who'd gone vegan for a month. The recipe's delicious, but beware, there's a lot of 'wow, gee, vegan food can taste good, wow, it's not all lentils, gee'.

That grating nonsense aside, the carpaccio's great. The mushrooms have to left to marinate in miso, soy, sugar, lemon juice, and oil overnight, and then baked. It's worth the forward planning, as the fine, deep, dark result is definitely worth your patience.

I've been turning to it as a brunch staple recently - English muffin, shredded lettuce, smashed avocado and miso mushrooms. It's heaven in two slices of bread.

Of course, I can't finish off a post without a shot of some cake I've been stuffing down my gullet, and this week is no exception.

After meandering around Shoreditch for a while at the weekend, we wandered into the food hall at the old Truman Brewery. There's a fair few good things to try there for vegans, including an Ethiopian stall, but I was immediately drawn to the Essential Vegan stall, piled high with plant-based cakes, biscuits and other sweet treats.

Despite the chocolate eclair calling to me rather forcefully, I took home a bounty cake (that's chocolate and coconut to you and me) and a slice of chocolate and pistachio. It got a bit mashed up on the way home, but luckily there was no damage done to the rather awesome taste. The glaze was fab - sticky and chocolately - and the pistacho underlayer (is that a word?) was a grown up treat. If you're in the region of Essential Vegan, get yourself down there and you won't be disappointed.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The vegan taco tray I've been waiting for and gingerbread without the ginger

Not so long ago, it was my birthday. The number wasn't a significant one, but it still freaks me out how it keeps getting bigger and bigger nonetheless.

Still, reaching mumblemumble years old was a good excuse as any to ditch studying for a day and remind myself what I used to do with free time when I had some free time.

Mr Flicking the Vs has promised me breakfast in bed. Breakfast in bed! Yes, I didn't get out of bed and go and study for literally minutes! Mr FtVs can't cook to save his life, so there was no scrambled tofu or crazy brunch muffins or any of that jazz, but Mr FtVs knows how to top a good oatcake. I asked for oatcakes with hummus, carrots, tomato and watercress, as well as tea and coffee. (Yes, both, don't judge me - it was my birthday. I'd have asked for hot chocolate too if I thought I could have got away with it.) Aaaand I even got to chow down on those lovely oatcakes with a copy of the London Review of Books for reading material. Bonus!

After I'd done all the digesting, we took ourselves off to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum. I think I've been every year for the past I don't know how long, and it's uniformly great. This year was no exception thankfully.

Then we wandered off for lunch. I fancied trying a new place for lunch, so we went to Mestizo, a Mexican place up towards Euston with a vegan menu.

"How big is the taco tray?" we asked the serving lady. "It's big," she said. We didn't opt for a starter, and we went straight to this:

A taco tray might sound like a safe and reliable option, but there were all sorts of new fun things to try out: along with nopales, there was a spot of flor de calabaza - courgette flowers, I think - and cuitaloche. I've heart about cuitaloche and its fungal delights before, but never put them in my mouth. If you don't think about the look of them, and the slightly slimy feel, then they taste kind of truffly.

Along with the cactus, cuitloche and courgette flowers, there was all the traditional taco fixings - guac, refried beans, red and green salsa, and lots and lots of jalapenos. There was a great big stack of warm corn tortillas to work our way through too, and we just about polished them off. I think we made the right decision to skip out on the starter. There were vegan tamales for dessert too, but the taco tray had done for us, so we'll just have to try it on our next visit.

At home, my notable successes have been oven based of late. For reasons I can't quite remember, I rarely cook with polenta. (I think it was because it figured in almost every vegetarian dish of the 1990s, often baked and topped with Mediterranean vegetables.) I was tempted to break that moratorium recently after a ready-made mix convinced me polenta could indeed have flavour, so I bought myself a big bag and experimented anew.

First up, a shepherd's pie type arrangement: polenta stuffed full of chilli, rosemary and garlic, layered on top of green vegges including broccoli, leeks, and chard. 

I was pretty surprised at how well it turned out. It may not have much in the way of sophistication, but it did have far more taste than I remember. I guess most things turn out well if you put enough rosemary, garlic and chilli in them. Apart from cake. That would turn out deeply wrong.

Talking of cake, when it was Valentine's Day not so long ago, I saw some rather sweet vegan cakes at Raffo and Ridgeway, and thought I should do the decent thing and take one home to Mr Flicking the Vs. Check it out - chocolate and vanilla with a raspberry and little pink hearts. 

Mr Flicking the Vs actually shared it with me, which reminded me why I liked him in the first place - who wants to go out with someone that doesn't share cake?

And to make sure there was ample cake in the house, I got cooking some gingerbread cookies. Here you go:

I saw gingerbread, but I am misleading you, dear reader, for there was no ginger in them. When I came to cook up a batch, there was no ginger in the house, I proceeded with cinnamon and allspice instead. The end result was indistinguishable from gingerbread, despite being distinctly gingerless. I wonder if the presence of all the other gingerbread flavours conned my mind into not noticing the absent of the main ingredient?

Either way, these were delicious. I used the recipe here, but added some vegan margarine and gingerbread toppers from a previous Vegan Kind box. They were great, and yes, I even shared them...

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Heavenly Brussels sprouts and brownies

Do you ever have that moment when you come home and you know exactly what you want for dinner, and nothing else will do the job?

The other day, I knew - knew - that I wanted a bowl of fried kale, red pepper, and carrot with garlic and ginger, topped with salt-and-pepper pan-fried tofu.

It was just what I was craving - a rich irony hit of kale, some smoky sweetness from the red pepper, and a crown of light crisp tofu. I got home and made it from pan to plate in about 15 minutes - it was tasty and speedy, so it went right to the top of my love list!

I was so desperate to shove this down my neck, I had but a few seconds to take a snap on my phone before I wolfed it down. This'll give you the idea:

I don't know about you, but there are days when I just want a bit of food that I can stick in the oven and forget about, and still have a decent meal when it's done. I mean, I love cooking, but sometimes  (after a full day at work and then an evening at college studying hard science) it's all a bit much for me.

Luckily, the folk that bring my veg box also sell a load of other stuff like bread, pickles and all that farm shop kind of jazz. I spotted the other day that among their standard offerings, they also sell vegan Cornish pasties. Vegans being the naturally curious type, I thought I'd give it a go.

Behold, the spicy lentil pasty:

I think what I liked most about this was the fact it was huge. And I mean HUGE. It was the size of a toddler's head huge. (Yep, I'm sorry, I'm a simple creature. The only thing that's better than good food is lots of good food.)

The other thing I liked about it was it managed to combine lots of good healthy stuff (lentils, split peas, veggies, and lots of spices) with a whacking great blanket of pastry. I tried to restore the balance with a carrot, beetroot, and pumpkin seed salad. Nothing with salad on the plate can be unhealthy, I'm pretty sure.

Back to the homemade stuff, and I got to try out a new version of an old favourite: brussels sprout tops! Yes, they're exactly what they sound like: brussels sprout tops are the leafy bits of everyone's favourite Christmastime staple. I love a good helping of brussels on my plate, whether it's the 25th of December or not. I'd never tried seen the tops on sale before though, so when I saw bunches being flogged off for almost nothing at the local market, I wanted to give them a go.

So what are brussels sprouts tops actually like? Really nice! They're brussels-y in flavour but nice and robust, sort of like spring greens. I wanted to use them up in something where their strong taste wouldn't be masked, so I fried them off with a bit of soy sauce and some shiitake mushrooms.

The result: I'm still having good thoughts about those brussels sprouts tops. If you see any at your market, I reckon you need to get your wallet out.

And keeping on with the readymade vs homemade theme, here's something that's normally readymade that I mocked up at home:

Yep, all you people that keep mentioning all the fun stuff you find at Trader Joe's have driven me to make edamame hummus. We don't have that chain here, but I remember dropping into one a few times when I was last in the US, and buying up a lot of its edamame hummus. Now, I'm the other side of the Atlantic and I don't have a Trader Joe's near me, and I still need edamame hummus.

Luckily, it didn't take more than a couple of minutes (find stuff, chuck stuff in food processor, process) to make, and the end result was, if not a Trader Joe's level of excellence, then certainly still a good mouthful. I used in it wraps for a few days, and one of my colleagues commented on how good it smelled. Take that Trader Joe's!

And it wouldn't be a Flicking the Vs post if there wasn't a portion of vegan cake to end on, and this post is no exception - behold, a brownie from Cookies and Scream in Camden. 

Working out who makes the best vegan cake in London is something that keeps me up at night but after this massive slab of chocolaty wonder, I'm going to have to give the crown to Cookies and Scream. Not only do they do cakes, if you can get yourself down to their stall, you can try out their shakes, bars, and occasionally donuts.

Not pictured: a great big cookie I troughed down before I could take a picture. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

A break from the studying, with cthulu and cake

Don't get me wrong, I like what I've been studying, but I've become far too overly acquainted with my flat. So, Mr Flicking the Vs came up with the great idea of a day out at Brighton.

I love Brighton. The sea, the walks, the choice of top notch places to get some vegan scran in.

For  a change, we decided to head down to Terre à Terre, one of the fancier options, and went for their set menu of tapas, chips, and a carafe of wine.

This is what they put down in front of us:

How fun is that? It kind of looks like cthulu is coming out of the tea cup in the middle. How could you not be excited seeing all that in front of you? I was, for sure! Terre a Terre can really pull it out of the bag when it wants to.

To be honest with you, I can't remember what everything was - I'm pretty sure there were some arepas corn cakes there, and some lovely soba noodley thing, and a really nice salsify and tempeh thing (I don't think they describe them as 'things' on the menu, that's just my memory failing me. Pretty sure cthulu involved seaweed though.)

I even got to have dessert - little cakes with apple and coconut sorbet and delicious caramel sauce to pour over the top. I felt truly spoilt. And after a carafe of wine, a bit drunk too. Pudding + wine = my idea of a good day out.

Away from the fancy restaurants, my cooking's been a bit more homely to say the least. I recently got Bryant Terry's second vegan cookbook, Afro-Vegan. Given I like the look of a lot of recipes he makes, I'm not sure why I don't use his first book more (I can only guess that the titles are quite elaborate, so when I'm flicking through it, I don't just think 'ah, that's got mushrooms or whatever in, and I've got some in the fridge, I'll just make that'.).

With that in mind, I've been aiming to cook a new recipe from the book once a week to make sure I get maximum use out of it. I've made the tomato broth with hominy already, which was pretty good, especially given I'd never made anything with hominy before and had to hunt it down. I ended up finding something that was labelled 'big corn' in my local international-food supermarket and gamble it was the same thing. It was! And it was good!

Also made from Afro-Vegan: red rice and blackened okra. Yep, the okra isn't overly blackened and the rice looks a lot like quinoa, but other than that, it was a winner. And there was some kale there for no other reason than everything is better with kale.

I'll be making both of those again and, thanks to the fact I had a truckload of blackened seasoning, I repeated the whole meal again with the addition of blackened tofu and roasted brussel sprouts that had seen better days.

The veg box turned up some red cabbage and leeks this week, which were put to good use in some black bean and leek quesadillas with red cabbage slaw.

I'm more used to pickling my cabbage or having it as a side dish with Christmas dinner with cinnamon and spices, but I thought a vegetable of such colour deserved a different treatment this time around. A quick Google later, and I found this recipe for Chinese braised red cabbage. It's a recipe I've totally fallen in love with, even though it involves star anise, which I find overpowering at times. It's got all those great flavours that you think of with Chinese food - ginger, chilli, and soy - and the red cabbage is robust enough to stand up to all of them and bring out their best thanks to a slow cooking time.

What's also great about that recipe is that you can chuck a load of things in a pan, then go do something else for half an hour - in my case, study biology for my exams this summer. Depending on how they go, I'll be off to university this summer (for the second time)! I've been having interviews over the last few weeks to try and win a place, and I just received an offer a few days ago. Needless to say, I'm over the moon - it feels like it's all been worth it.

One of the questions I had to answer in the interview was 'how do you deal with stress?' I gave a very professional answer obviously, when what I really wanted to say was 'eat cake'. Here's this week's stress buster, courtesy of Lujuria Vegana.

As ways of chilling out after too long in the books goes, I can't think of a better one!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

You've brought cake, you say?

If you want to make friends and influence people, bring them cake.

I've never written a book on how to do business, but if I was, that would be the first lesson in it. The reason I mention this is at work I deal with a lot of freelancers, and they're pretty much all great - lovely people that do good work. One of them dropped by the office the other day. He knew that I was a vegan, and clever soul that he was, he brought some vegan cake with him.

He bought some cookies and a brownie. Behold:

I quizzed him about where he picked them up, and it turns out it was a place called Lab Organic in Neal Street. It wasn't a shop I knew, so I was quite excited to find a new purveyor of vegan treats in London.

I wasn't blown away by either cookies or the brownies, alas. Both were raw treats, but didn't really do it for me on the flavour front and were a bit dry to boot. I've had some cracking raw cake before so I was hoping for a little more. Still, it was really kind of the freelancer to bring some in and I can't say I wasn't appreciative!

I don't know about you, but I always get really nervous cooking for other people. I mean, not my other half, he's used to the highs and lows of dining a la Flicking the Vs, but whenever anyone says 'why don't I come over for dinner?' I kind of panic.

I'll be honest, it's the vegan thing. None of my friends are vegans, and only one's a veggie, so I always feel like I'm on show a bit, demonstrating that, whatever you've heard, vegan food is tha shizz, it's not boring, it's not all tofu, it's not not just whole foods and lentils (though I love tofu, lentils and whole foods unabashedly) and it's damn tasty. I feel like I'm some vegan avatar.

I mean, I know I'm not. All my friends are very vegan friendly and all have cooked me super good vegan food in the past. But still, do you know what I mean?

So when Mr Flicking the Vs invited his brother and his brother's girlfriend round for tea, I got all giddy and didn't know what to make.

First up, the pudding had to be good (that's pudding in the English sense, not the US sense - we use it interchangeably for dessert). I made tiny chocolate tarts for everyone and they weren't half bad. The base was this single serve cake doubled and shared out between four ramekins and baked at 180C til done. Then there was silken tofu chocolate mousse on top, and chocolate ganache on top of that.

Here's what happened:

Seriously, this may be the best thing I have ever cooked. It wasn't hard to make and it was glorious. Even better, we were stuffed from the main course, so there were a couple of tarts leftover, and we got to eat them the next day.

I didn't photograph the rest of the meal, so you'll just have to imagine it - there were tortilla chips and salsa, guac, and Sour Supreme sour cream, then pipian, spinach and black bean quesadillas, and some Mexican type spuds.

One thing I did take a picture of - Mexican carrots!

Love those little guys. They keep pretty well in the fridge (recipe's here if you want it) and they go with a lot of different meals, so make yourself a big batch and enjoy.

My secret career change project continues apace (hopefully more on that in the next month or two - keep them fingers crossed for me!) but things have been crazy busy here, which means food creativity has gone out the window a bit.

On those days where I need to eat, but messing around in the kitchen seems all a little bit too much for me, there's always popcorn. If you think popcorn should be sweet, you are very, very wrong. Popcorn is much better savoury, that's just science. In my world, there's not much that beats nooch and garam masala as a topping. Hey, I'm not saying it's classy, and I doubt anyone will want to kiss me afterwards, but right now this is my popcorn jam of choice.

Aaaaaand here's a photo I found on my camera from the aftermath of Christmas. It might look like someone's tipped a swamp on some fritters, but it was pretty awesome.

As I remember, the fritters were leftover veg from Christmas dinner (parsnips, carrots, and potatoes) with a bit of gram flour and tumeric, topped with chard and tomatoes in a sauce made of up of spare cashew cheese.

I love it when meals like this come together from stuff that you've got lying around and never planned. It didn't take too much effort to make, it helped clean out the fridge, and it made my stomach happy. What more can you ask?