Friday, February 25, 2011

white soup and sunshine

So Little-Ms-Homemade-from-Organic-Ingredients has a confession to make: I'm craving a Tetra-pac carton of non-organic soup that I (don't-know-what-possessed-me) bought a couple of weeks ago.

And get this: it's white and you eat it cold!

I was at a grocery store we rarely go to, a) because we rarely shop at grocery stores, ordering instead from a small organic shop whose owners deliver our purchases for free as their kid goes to school in our 'hood, and b) it's a pretty expensive, fancy one. I think I was there to buy meat for Grace, since I hadn't had a chance to go to the market that weekend.

Anyway, sorry, hunger is making me digress. It's lunch time, hence my dreaming of the White Garlic Gazpacho... Which was, by the way, though not organic, All Natural! The ingredients for which go something like this: Water +/-67%, almonds, breadcrumbs, garlic. I know this sounds strange, which I think is why I decided to buy it, but mmm-mmm-mmm, it is awesome.

But hey, in googling a recipe for it just now, I see that it usually has grapes in it too. Don't recall that ingredient. So I'm going to have to try making it one day soon as we seem to be into gazpacho weather of late (it's 15C and sunny as ever right now).

Meanwhile... maybe, instead of first eating here at my desk as I work (which'd have to be beet/feta salad for the 3rd meal in a row) like I normally do and then using my lunch break to walk the G, we'll jot out now and swing by a certain store!

Monday, February 14, 2011

cupid, frozen

Photo by Karine.

just as magnolias were tickled
out of their dream state
on the verge
of stretching unfurling
soft quiet lovely,
winter snuck back
in a jealous mood
to grab hearts
that had other plans

happy you know what
from chilly

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Sometimes I wish I were not such an eco-nut. Like right now, I'm hungry and want to make red lentil dahl but am lazy to copy down the recipe. For once, I wish we had a printer.

I'm also thinking it is time I bought some clothes, as my wardrobe is getting quite raggedy. Only problem is that I prefer second hand but there aren't any good ones in Madrid. Unless you're into polyester retro nonsense.

Another thing that irks me is my inability to find affordable vegan mascara (my organic shop has one for 18 euros!) and eye pencil. This old girl has very pale eyes and if I don't mark 'em up a little (and wear some blush) people are likely to ask me if I'm well.

On the latter items, this leads me to a very frustrating story... My sister M sent me a birthday package back in December that includes said mascara and eyeliner. However, the company subcontracted by the Spanish post office to handle customs on packages STILL has my package hostage!

We have struggled for two months to get it all settled (they don't answer the phone, but occasionally reply to e-mail with very rude tone and without including a name) and we still don't have a final explanation for all the charges that add up to a total duty/handling/tax/who-the-hell-knows-what bill of 70 euros!

We found out after our initial disbelief at their unprofessional/incompetent/suspected fraudulent behaviour that they are notorious for exactly this and worse! A particularly sad story is that of a Korean student to whom her mother sent (her own!) winter clothes. She ended up paying 90 euros, they didn't release her stuff because they decided to charge her more, but she decided not to pay (not trusting that would be the end of it) so lost her money and her clothes!

Anyway, there's a whole movement against this company (Speedtrans) it seems, which is why we're fighting and I still don't have my gift, no matter how much I crave it!

But enough about that for today. Finally, I have continued this post after dinner and have decided to include the dahl recipe, since I know my fav readers like to cook! And bonus: this is easy-peasy.

A second bowl's a given red lentil dahl
(adapted from The Weather in Cascadia)

  • olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp (freshly ground) coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • (2 tablespoons hemp or flax meal, optional)
  • salt to taste
  • a few dollops plain yogurt, optional

Heat the oil and fry the garlic & ginger on med-high for a couple of minutes. Add all the spices and cook another couple of minutes.

Add the lentils and vegetable broth, and raise the heat to medium-high. When it comes to a boil, reduce to medium-low and simmer, partially covered. Continue to simmer and stir occasionally until the lentils are tender - around 15 minutes. (Add hemp powder at some point just before you're ready to serve.)

Taste and season with salt.

Ladle into bowls and add the yogurt, if desired.

If you want a lot of yogurt, as we did (a big tablespoon each) you might want to warm it first as it cooled the dahl a bit too much. We devoured ours with (microwave) baked sweet potatoes and steamed judias verdes (gigantic flat Spanish green beans). And I found a treasure in the freezer this afternoon: a brownie each for dessert!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

i wasn't hungry, until i ate

For those who don't know my secret, I eat often. I mean secret in the positive, "Ooh, that's what her secret is" sense. Because yes, I know I'm quite thin and I know eating often helps my metabolism to keep it that way.

But I digress... My point is that today around my normal morning snack time (that is about 3-4 hours after my breakfast, which this morning was toast with chestnut honey-drizzled fresh cheese and a pear), I wasn't actually hungry but went to the kitchen merely to make myself a cup of chai tea.

While waiting for the water to boil however, I saw the tin on the counter and thought, oh I'll have just one. Well one woke up my stomach and I think I ate five (they're small) and had to force myself to put the lid back on. My stomach is still growling, 20 minutes later.

Anyway, the whole episode reminded me that I must share this recipe. Those who like oat cakes MUST try 'em for they are too easy and superb.

Thyme-scented oat cakes
Adapted from Anja's Food 4 Thought

8 oz fine stone-ground oats (I used organic flaked oats, which are popular here)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
6-8 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat the oven to 375F/180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment (I just used a nice newish, unscratched non-stick one, no paper).

Whizz all ingredients except the water in a food processor, mini chopper or blender, until well combined.

Add the boiling water one tablespoon at a time. By the 5th spoon it'll start to get sticky but thick, which is how you want it, so stop putting water when it looks like a good dough consistency (I think I put 5 or 6).

Make a ball & roll it out on a floured surface while still warm (or it gets too stiff), to as thin as possible (approx 2 mm). Cut with cookie cutter, glass or a knife.

Bake 15-17 minutes until lightly coloured. Cool on rack & store in airtight container.


Peanut butter and banana granola bar squares
that are a meal in themselves!
Aside from that, I also made some rich peanut butter & banana granola squares last week (photo here) and on the weekend came pretty close to complete success in the bread department.

I made two baguettes the other night (dough had been fermenting, à la Peter Reinhart, in the fridge a couple of days) that had me doing a bit of a victory dance and taunting poor innocent Alain, who responded by saying no, he wasn't jealous of my skill, all he cares about is getting to eat the products of it!

He is quite spoiled really, as is little Ms. Whitey whose favourite liver cookies I also make, despite nearly provoking a vomiting bout every time I throw the uncooked liver into the food processor. DIS-GUST-ING!

These aren't the baguettes, they're previous, less-successful attempts at a batard (bottom)
and a funny-folded failure that didn't cook properly in the middle!