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Writer's Block: Soy Burgers Again?

If you ate school lunches as a kid, what menu item did you most dread seeing on the week's menu list? Or, if you more often brought a lunch from home, what did you hope wasn't inside your lunchbox or bag when you opened it up? What made this item so revolting for you?

Earthworms. This was the 1980s and we didn't get soy burgers (although we did an experiment in Domestic Science, cooking soya mince, and it was sort-of all right) but this new thing called a microwave oven had just appeared. The cooks at my school used to microwave pork chipolatas. They probably tasted only a little bit worse than fried ones, but they were so pink! So bendy! I still feel a bit nauseous at the memory of getting served what we kids used to call earthworms.

Boil in the bag

Boil-in-the-bag fish has become my refuge food. It lets me sleep :-) it's tasty and it's an easy option when my body isn't letting me do any cookery. Years ago, when my mental health was bad, I practically lived on boil-in-the-bag from the corner shop.

Yesterday I'd been having such difficulty with my legs and hands (I'm disabled) that I'd had to ask my OH to serve my lunch as though she were a waitress. So for my tea (evening meal) there was no question about having boil-in-the-bag fish. I wish there were a Marine Stewardship Council approved product but there isn't so I just buy the normal kind.

update on my breakfast bar

A few weeks ago I posted about how I'd set up a breakfast bar in my study, such that my crip body doesn't have to go down to the kitchen until later. It's so good that I wonder why I didn't do it years ago!

My OH exhumed an ancient teasmade which somehow managed never to have been taken out of its box, and contrary to my original plan she also brought in a small toaster. She also found a stash of readymade rye sourdough bread at the health food shop and came home with about 12 loaves of that. It freezes well and a loaf lasts me for almost a week. So I can have tea and toast up here. And fruit juice or cooked fruit.

I like the main part of my breakfast to be a protein dish. So far the most successful has been hard-boiled eggs, of which I can make a few days' supply in advance then store in the fridge. This is a good arrangement when I have work because my disability makes me tire so much more than normies do. I've also been having various kinds of cheese on my breakfast bar.

A less successful dish has been rollmop herrings. I love rollmops but it seems that they belong at later times of the day. First thing in the morning they're too acidic with all that vinegar and my stomach doesn't like that.

Greek yogurt did turn out to be lovely so thanks to those who recommended it. For me, it works best as a savoury dish so I've been eating it with olives and hummus, keeping the portion sizes down for digestibility. I think I'll try it with smoked salmon or with prawns.

What else do you think I should try? I've had to cut down on red meats but black pudding is one exception to that: I find it quite digestible. But I don't fancy eating it cold so that's not going on my breakfast bar. Instead I'm thinking of eating pate or salami at breakfast. I wonder whether organic, British products are available.

protein in yogurt

I'm grateful to an LJ Friend for informing me that there's more protein in Greek yogurt than in normal yogurt, because the Greek kind is strained to remove some of the whey. A little goofling has found me this which says that Greek yogurt contains about 1/3 or 1/2 as much protein, weight for weight, as lean meat.

I haven't tended to eat Greek yogurt but now I think it deserves a place on my breakfast bar.


What do you eat for breakfast? When and where do you eat it?

I'm finding that the word 'breakfast' means different things to different people. So many people say that they don't eat breakfast at all, but then go on to say that they have coffee and a muffin at 11 am. Or that they wait until lunchtime then have a sausage sandwich in the work canteen.

The way I say 'breakfast', everybody eats breakfast unless they don't eat at all. To my mind it's just a matter of what you call your first food of the day. Even if you eat nothing all day then tuck into steak and chips at 8pm. That wouldn't be a very healthy choice, I think, but I'd still call it your breakfast. I think it's unhelpful to assume that breakfast has to be eaten very soon after getting up or that it has to mean something like cornflakes or toast. For example, all the farmers I know work for an hour or 2 before breakfast.

Anyway, never mind the semantics. I like to eat my breakfast an hour or 2 after getting out of bed. Because of my disability it can be hard to go downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast, so I've been staying hungry and then merging breakfast and lunch into a single meal at noon. This hasn't made me feel very well.

Recently an Occupational Therapist prescribed some adaptations to my home and suggested that I shouldn't live here at all. It's a 3-floor Victorian terrace and the OT would like me to move into a bungalow and hire a visiting carer. Well, that time may come. But not just now. Instead the OT's visit inspired me to make a breakfast bar in my study, which is on the first floor with easy access to the bathroom.

Now I wonder why I didn't make this breakfast bar sooner! I've decided against any cooking of eggs up here. Partly because I have peripheral neuropathy, making it almost impossible to handle a hot boiled egg, but also because I don't want steam all over my work files. But I do have a kettle up here now and it's great to be able to make hot tea. A small screw-top jar of fresh milk keeps overnight. So does juice.

For the food, I realise how many delicious options can form part of a Continental (cooked, but cold) breakfast. I like to eat protein at breakfast so I've been having hard-boiled eggs, cooked the previous day. What else can I have? Next time I'm in a supermarket I'm going to browse the deli counter :-) I'm thinking cheeses, chicken, salami, pate, ham, herrings, shrimps, anchovies, olives, artichokes... better not scoff all of those at a single meal, tempting though it is!

Alongside the protein dish I'm eating my home made oat flatbread (recipe posted on this comm a few months ago.) Unfortunately there isn't a type of bread or cracker that I can eat from ready-made without upsetting my digestion but I'm making my oat flatbread 1-2 days in advance.

I'm also having fruit and yogurt to complete my breakfast. And all of this without having to deal with the staircase until my body's stronger :-) It takes a little forward planning but for me, this is time well spent.
What's your favorite vegetarian meal?

Leek flan is a classic and I like it very much. When I've baked my own, I've used no recipe, just quantities that look about right! For the pastry, I've generally used wholemeal flour or a 1:1 mix of wholemeal and white. Wholemeal shortcrust pastry is nicer if you put in a little baking powder with the flour but it's not essential.

I think everybody on this comm will know how to make shortcrust, but here's a recipe anyway.

Shortcrust pastry

6 oz plain flour
3 oz butter or margarine
pinch of salt

To make good pastry you need to keep it cold. Chill the mixing bowl and wash your hands in cold water before you rub the fat into the flour, just enough to make it look 'like breadcrumbs' as the books say. Then mix in a tsp or so of cold water, just enough to bind it to a soft dough. Don't knead pastry dough as that makes it toughen, just roll it out and line your lightly greased 8" flan tin.

After that, I make the flan as described in this recipe (an appropriate source of recipes for me: my allotment was described today as 'Premier League'!). Leek flan is a lovely winter meal with mashed or jacket potatoes, a root vegetable such as swedes mashed with carrots, and a green vegetable such as steamed cabbage. A mug of tea completes the joy, of course.
What's your favorite vegetarian meal?

I eat a lot of veggie food and I've been veggie, and vegan, in the past. But to tell the truth, it slightly irritates me that somebody has designated an 'Awareness Month' for vegetarianism. I bet we won't hear of a month devoted to 'awareness' of meat.

digestible bread #2

As you know I have to be cautious about eating bread. As well as the oat flatbread I posted about here, I can digest rye sourdough and it tastes great. But it's not easy to find in shops so I've been developing a recipe for it, adapted from various sources and severely testing my LJ Friends' patience with progress updates. Now it's coming out just right as a loaf or as pitta so here's the recipe. cut for lengthCollapse )

game chips

Talking about fish and chips on my own LJ page led to a few remarks about what Americans call 'chips': very thin slices of potato, fried, salted and served cold with or without a dip. Of course there are 'corn chips' too, made from what we in Britain call maize. I think that American 'chips' and our 'crisps' are descendants of game chips.

in praise of fish suppers

Do you like fish and chips? The proper British kind. Apparently they weren't British at all until the 20th century but oh my, they're here now! My OH has them about once a week and tonight she's tried a new chippy that has opened near our house. Me, I'm not fussed about chips (prefer my spuds as mash, jackets or roasties) but I did nick a bit of batter off her fish. It tasted great - hot, crisp, salty, fried but not too greasy. For me a whole fish supper (battered cod or haddock, chips, mushie peas) doesn't sit well in my stomach but the flavours are indeed good. My work brings me into contact with a lot of foreigners and I always try to find an opportunity to introduce them to the great British fish supper.