Today was a comedy of errors, ok a cacophony of errors when it came to cooking so I am at present ever so slightly not amused 😉
I was unable to post about a the mildly tangy Green apple soup nor the cream of mushroom & tomato soup (with some dried dandelion & burdock thrown in for good measure – hedgerow herbs very easy to pick and dry for seasoning or herbal tea) we had recently so I though I might as well post today even if it’s something simple that practically everybody can and already does. Not one for the non-carbers out there but for those who do eat carbs regularly or now and then I can at least say that as usual my ingredients are fairtrade and organic :-).
So today amongst my forgetfulness I actually remembered that we had some frozen wild spinach that we’d foraged and frozen and thought I should make use of it. Already I realized there might be problems because we were out of pasta shells and those rhomboid ones (don’t ask me to remember the names of various shapes of pasta right now as it just won’t happen lol) and mum is only really keen on those so I knew that using the twists we had left might already pose a problem. I didn’t have any choice though so I used them…
Since the pasta was frozen I left it out to defrost for a few hours and come back to it later, for those who can use as much elec/gas whenever they want it’d of course be easier/faster to defrost them in a frying pan or wok (my choice) on mid-high heat for a short amount of time so as not to overcook it. Anyway once they were ready I started cooking the excess water off in our much loved wok, I also put 2/3 of the 500g packet of pasta in a separate pot with 1/2 flat tbs of cayenne and 1/2 flat tbs of turmeric (haldi) – I left that on low-mid heat to soften the pasta and intake the spices. If you want a hotter dish it’s best to fry the cayenne with the spinach instead.
Once the excess water was gone I added oil (olive oil is preferable but we’ve only sunflower at the moment) and coriander seeds to the spinach and then realized… I’d forgotten that we didn’t have any nutritional yeast (or commonly known as ‘cheezy flakes) or sweetcorn left to add at the end. I’d also remembered that I had leftover cream of mushroom/tomato soup (that we’d eaten all of the mushrooms from ahem) which I had intended to use to make the pasta in (frugal is as frugal does and we’ve always been ‘waste nots’) and then had proceeded to forget about. Damn. So I decided to change it from regular pasta and spinach to tomato pasta by adding the passata we hadn’t finished. Hence Gold pasta to Red pasta. Usually that would mean adding more spice/herbs but I didn’t (the reason why is explained later).
The cooking was almost done when I realized ‘ah crap!’ That I’d not put any garlic powder into the pasta… So I decided to change the nature of the dish to a mildly sweet and spicy one instead by adding a handful of dried fruit (raisins, currents, sultanas) to the spinach. Including dried fruit or just raisins adds not only to the nutritional value of dishes as well as an increased digestive aid but also tastes really very nice. Note – I have small hands so a handful may be half a handful to many others. Also if raisins (and current/sultanas) are used in cooking rather than simply adding afterwards it’s best to cook them quickly as otherwise they become sticky (akin to cooking grapes which retain the heat within and hence can be very hot inside without seeming so outside resulting in a burnt tongue if not careful).
I had added the dried fruit and the pasta was sufficiently softened so I added it to the spinach to quickly stir fry everything together with a drizzle more oil. Everything seemed fine until… “It’s not chilly or spicy enough, have you tasted it?” This was after I put copious amounts of salt on mum’s serving just the way she likes it. Dutifully added some chilli (and garlic) sauce on it “it tastes awful, so much is missing, I’m not going to eat anymore. It’s so bland, where’s the chilli?” In somewhat recent times past we used to eat what others would consider extra spicy food, on top of the cayenne, garlic and ginger spice that usually went into dishes mum would have her sea or Himalayan salt, cooked in Green chillies (those skinny burn the life out of a spot in your mouth if you eat get them in the wrong place and there’s nothing you can do about it until the saliva really washes it through type), possibly chilli/spicy sauce on top and optional raw onion half. On top of my meals I would add raw garlic cloves, Black pepper, chopped raw Green chillies, raw ginger and optional raw onion half (we have cast iron stomachs and clean detoxed systems so no unsavoury side effects). Yet over the past few months we’ve been downsizing and settling on more mild dishes like the one above and she’s been consistently nagging me about my cooking being too chilli so I’ve been using less and less. Now it wasn’t chilli enough and the pasta was also apparently too ‘al dente’ – hmm… Different pasta shapes have different cooking times and admittedly since I was making mistake after mistake it wasn’t as soft as it could have been but it was not hard or chewy, mum just likes everything overcooked including rice and lentils. I’m glad she wanted more chilli though because quite frankly if I’d go on strike if I had to use any less!
Anyway she finished her serving and doesn’t want any more, seriously when I make delicious food or food that’s ‘perfect’ for her she usually refuses to eat it outright, has a tiny bit or a serving and no more as “otherwise I’d eat it all” and only somtimes will eat up to half of it. Any time I make nice food that isn’t exactly right she has so much to say about it and still leaves me to finish it! I eat her food whether I like it or not and never leave her to finish more than she wants whilst making something else to eat.
Oh well – oh an in regards to the garlic and onions, I do believe in ayurvedic principles but there are exceptions such as with garlic and onions. I don’t believe that they are not beneficial to the spiritual path or mental aspects associated with cultivating spirituality and I have abstained, eaten moderately and a lot of them over long enough periods of time to note there is no difference for me personally. I also don’t abide by the stories used by some to back up abstention i.e. some of those old ‘god’ stories within which people were punished or killed for offering them or things like lemons to certain ‘gods’. As far as I’m concerned if ‘god’ made these items then it wouldn’t throw a tantrum if offered them especially since it’s not the same as killing those not specifically designed for eating such as people/animals and saying ‘here you are God, killed your beloved creations for no reason other than self benefit, laid ’em out in a nice pile for your convenience, please bless me’. Maybe ‘god’ wouldn’t like things people have made through cross-breeding such as pineapples but I’m fine with garlic and onions (and also root vegetables which is going off on a slightly different tangent).
That said I am as always extremely grateful and respectful of my food and today’s meal. I think I’ll just make a super simple snack next time like homemade chocolate spread and non-homemade peanut butter made into balls and rolled in coconut… 😉 Whilst I’m figuring out exactly how to make coconut milk out of my coconut chips which is suitable for cooking and not just drinking. Note – for those who don’t make their own milks and those who are on a very tight budget or have simply run out of alternative milks and can’t immediately buy any more, you can make them by mixing flour (soya, coconut etc) with water and heating the mixture to smoothen if necessary. It takes a little trial and error though and I’m currently thinking about making some out of chips without wasting any.