December 30, 2014

Christmas Chow Mein

They taste better than they look in this photo
Yes, I was planning to publish (and to be honest- just write) this post before Christmas. 

But you no what- it's okay. You know why? I'll tell you.

I decided to make these noodles cause I was envious of all those noodles/noodle soup recipes that you see for using up turkey leftovers. Wasn't envious of the bits of turkey floating in them at all- but the rest of the dish? NOODLES!!! (Yeah- I'm going though a noodle phase again/still). 

So I decided to make my own definitely veggie noodle dish. Christmas Chow Mein anyone? 

And you know why I deem it to be still acceptable to publish (and yeah, write) this? Cause I know people who are still eating turkey leftovers. Like, almost a week after the event! So, if they're still eating turkey- I can post me veggie Christmas noodle recipe- and this one doesn't use up leftovers from ages ago. 

I tried to stick with the Christmassy theme. I added an easy peeler/satsuma/clementine/mandarin orange cause it's Christmassy, and juicy, and a nice change of texture, and they are so intense when they're warmed up slightly! 

And the turkey noodle dishes all seem to include a sliced red chili. Now, I don't want that much heat in my noodles (baby when it comes to heat over here), and to be honest, the thought of chopping up a fresh chili TERRIFIES me. (which I think is perfectly acceptable- they're scary). So I added a chopped mini red sweet/bell pepper instead. One from this bag. See- having only three red peppers in that bag was a massive major problem! 

I went with ginger (cause I love ginger and it's a warming flavor) and you can go on all you like, but I get my ginger from a squeezy tube. Or a jar, depending which shop we're in at the time. On that note, Sainsbury's does lemongrass in a squeezy tube now. So expect some lemongrass recipes coming up. Lemongrass miso soup anyone? And I know that the freshly grated stuff is better, but a) I'm the only one who uses it and so it usually ends up shrivelled up and blugh looking, and b) it's just easier and c) I can't be bothered washing up the greater if I don't have to. 

One day, people, I will graduate to grating my own ginger. Till that day, hello squeezy toothpaste like tube!

And the five spice paste. I would have, to be honest, used five spice 'powder', but we had five spice paste and not 'powder'. Use whatever you have- but you may need to adjust the quantities accordingly. But don't leave it out completely, it adds a level of flavor, and it's warming and what you need at Christmas. 

So while people are still (STILL) eating Christmas leftovers, if you have no leftovers to eat, make Christmas Chow Mein. Or just eat it any time and think of another name for it. I place the power of naming it in your hands!

Christmas Chow Mein

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1, sliced, spring onion. Include a bit of the green but not all of it. (unless you really want to)
  • 1 handful (about 7) mange tout/snow peas/sugar snaps. Trimmed if they need trimming.
  • 1 mini red (sweet) pepper. De seeded and sliced to make mini pepper rings
  • 1 small orange citrus fruit (of choice), peeled and as much of the white stuff removed as possible. 
  • 1 serving of cooked noodles. Whichever noodles are your favorite or whichever noodles you have closest to hand. I used straight to wok fine wheat noodles. 
  • 1/2 T grated ginger. Or sqeezy minced ginger
  • Scant 1 T soya sauce. Enough to make the noodles go a darker color but not to much that it's overly salty
  • 1/2 t five spice paste/'powder', or to taste
  • Tiny bit of oil, if needed (mine didn't)

Method

  • Wash and prepare the vegetables, keeping them separate. 

  • Add the noodles and flavourings to the pan, along with the spring onion. Add a bit of oil if necessary. 


  • Cook the noodles until the flavourings are cooked - about 3 minutes. Stir to coat the noodles. 
  • Add the rest of the vegetables, and stir to coat. Keep cooking till everything is heated through, but there is no need to 'cook' the vegetables, about one minute.




December 24, 2014

Do You Believe In Santa Clause?

I believe in Santa Clause.

I believe in a man who gives a present to every child.

I believe in a man who's always jolly and smiling.

I believe in a man who works hard to put a smile on faces across the world.

I believe in a man who isn't afraid to go out, no matter how bad the weather is, cause he's got a job to do.


I believe in a man who travels the world, and appreciates it's beauty. 
A man who uses Christmas cheer to pull his slay, not fossil fuels. 
A man who's factory doesn't produce toxic waste (the elves use magic, not chemicals).

I believe in a man who doesn't make profits, and who just isn't bothered by it. 
I believe in a man who if he did, would use them to do good. 
And not just because if was a good publicity stunt.


I believe in a man who's kind to his animals. 
Who makes sure that they're well fed. 
Who makes sure that they're warm.
Who makes sure that they're safe. 
Who makes sure that they're happy. 
I know- it's a very radical concept. 


I believe in a man who's happily married. 
I believe in a couple who talk out their differences, instead of shouting. 
I believe in a couple who share the housework evenly. 
I believe in a wife who supports her husband on his most stressful day at work each year. 
I believe in a husband who says thank you the next day.
I believe in a couple who don't abuse each other.


I believe in a man who treats his workers fairly. 

I believe in a man who stands up for children's rights.

I believe in a man who knows all his charges names. 
And can spell them right. 

I believe in a man who doesn't take his bad days out on other people. 

I believe in a man who listens to what people are saying to him.
A man who's always there for you when you need him.
Who doesn't need you to tell him.
Who can be relied upon year after year.

I believe in a man who eats way to many Christmas pies.


I believe in a man who will brave the cold to see his friends.

I believe in a man who doesn't mind getting dirty going down chimneys.

I believe in a man who doesn't lie.

I believe in a man who doesn't discriminate.
A man who visits black and white.
Who visits the Far East and Latin America.
Who doesn't care if you are a millionaire or can't afford a sack of potatoes.
Who doesn't care if you get straight A's or scrape F's.
Who doesn't care if you live in a mansion or a shelter.
Who doesn't care what religion you follow.

I believe in a man who chairs a democracy.

I believe in a man who gives everyone a fair trial.

I believe in a man who doesn't force anyone to do anything, so say anything, to believe anything.

I believe in a man who fights against slavery.


I believe in a man who's never bore arms.

I believe in a man who dresses in what makes him feel good, not what society wants him to.

I believe in a man who is a much better singer than me.

I believe in a man who understands everyone.

I believe in a man who helps to bring families together.

I believe in a man who symbolises generosity.

I believe in a man who gives what he can.

I believe in a man who stands up for what he believes in.

I believe in Santa Claus.

Even when I know he isn't real, I believe. Because it's better than having no hope.
Because for one day a year, I can pretend that every things okay.

December 23, 2014

Gingerbread Oatmeal


Cake and me don't mix. I don't like it. I used to like it- (I mean- who doesn't like cake?) (Except me). But that is no longer. I just don't like cake. It's a sad a sorry truth. 

That doesn't mean that I don't like gingerbread. But because I don't like cake- gingerbread cake is out. Gingerbread biscuits just don't have the correct richness. Gingerbread latte? Would be great- except that me and coffee aren't that great buds either at the moment. Sad, I know. I've tried gingerbread hot chocolate (apparently Dad gets some weird looks asking for Gingerbread soy hot chocolate in a mug not a glass please)- but the chocolate means it's not as gingerbready as I want it to be.
So lets think outside the box here people. 

Are you thinking? 

Cause you don't have to. I've already done the thinking for you. 

Gingerbread oatmeal. Rich gingerbread flavors, no cake. 

Solves every body's problems. Unless you are my friend who doesn't like oatmeal. Then it just creates more problems.

Gingerbread Oatmeal

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup oats. (Mine were labelled as porridge oats)
  • 1 cup liquid. I used a whole cup of almond milk. You can use any combination of any type of milk and water you like.
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • Scant 1/4 t. of mixed spice (pumpkin pie spice/apple pie spice)
  • 3 dried dates. (or three medjool dates if you have any to spare)
  • Treacle (molasses). I didn't measure this. Just add as much as you like. But it's sticky and a nightmare to get of deep measuring spoons, so just go for it. You know your own tastes. You want a rich taste though, so don't scimp on it too much. It's in there for the taste as well as the sweet.
  • 1/4 cup pecan nuts

Method

  • Measure out the oats and liquid into a small pan (unless your multiplying this recipe up to serve more people- which this recipe will easily do) - the smallest pan you own should be the right size (unless you've got one of those 3 inch decorative pans) (also- if I'm not taking pictures and making it look nice- I'd use the 1/2 cup for the oats, then use it twice for the liquid)

  • Add the spices 

  • Chop up the dates into small dice, then add to the pan

  • Make a mess with the treacle and then add it to the pan. Okay- the making a mess with it is optional.

  • Put the pan onto a lowish heat and cook, stirring regularly as you do so. Just cook it until it looks to be very slightly less than the consistency that you want it to be. Cause it will thicken as it stands and becomes an eatable temperature (unless you can eat boiling hot oatmeal). (And if you're going to spend ages trying to photograph it- make sure it's quite a bit runnier than you want it). 

  • While it's cooking (though don't leave it too long or it will stick) cut up all but a few of the pecan nuts. 

  • At some point- you may want to tidy up this-

  • Mix the chopped pecan nuts into the oatmeal, transfer to a bowl, and garnish with the remaining whole (half) pecan nuts. And then it will look and taste fabulous! (Hopefully)







December 22, 2014

The One Where I Sat With Friends (Plural)

Which could also be called- at last! The end is in sight! 

Or, wow- it is really easy to get distracted on Casabento

Or any number of other titles. But it's not. It's called "The One Where I Sat with Friends", cause hey, guess what? I sat with friends. And note friendS. The 's' on there is very important. Because there was more than one of them. I know, I mean, MORE THAN ONE. I mean, it's not like I am a complete and utter social recluse or anything- it's just that I started in a different year, and you no... It felt like I was starting college again in a completely new school. Except I already knew my way around. And that I knew there would be a queue of teachers waiting for the photocopier in the Math study area. You know those American high school dramas? My life has been like that - but without the supernatural aspects. (Well...)

So, back to the main subject, which is that I SAT WITH FRIENDS TO EAT THIS LUNCH. Or was it that it is a Christmas bento and that I'm tired and that I need to post this before I go to bed?

Can't remember.


This is a satsuma orange (or was it an easy peeler) (or a mandarin) (or a clementine) (or are you really bothered?), some dates (cause we didn't have any suitable veggies), a stuffin' muffin (although it took a while get Dad to make it in the muffin cups), some Quorn slices curled up (in a desperate attempt to make it a tiny little bit cute) and a FROZEN YOGURT TUBE. You can't see it properly, but it's there. And it has Elsa on it. And yes, I only bought them cause they have Frozen characters on it. Cause I am just that awesome. (How about we play lets pretend for a bit right now?). And look, there's a little snowman flag and a snowman cupcake wrapper turned inside out so it looks more colourful!

3. RECORDING Your getting the idea, loose a star and move on.

6. PACKAGING We'll stay neutral- it only has one individually packaged item. And if I'd just put a spoon of  yogurt in there it would have made a mess. And it wouldn't of had Elsa on the front.

7. CUTENESS It's kinda cute. I used a lot of colourful, Christmas themed accessories. And an Elsa yogurt. I'll add a star.

8. PLANNING I made sure that we had the Quorn in. And I convinced Dad to make the stuffing in the muffin pan so it looked slightly better than this attempt. And I ate this bento two days on the row because we had all the stuff in so, ya know. 

9. EATING I ate it with friends people. Another star for me. 

That makes 2 stars. Any suggestions on colours people? 

And friends who I ate lunch with- you're fab :)