Updated: Jan 31, 2019
"To learn and eat ten new healthy-eating recipes. These can be whole meals, or something like baking your own wholemeal bread. If the quadbike is incorporated in this, then all shopping for supplies must be done using the aforementioned."
Meal 1: Vegan Beef with Broccoli
Righto. This seems ideal during veganuary, whereby my 'diet' has mostly been sustained by vegan burgers, lettuce and some oil-based margarine, all happily endorsed by the vegan society. No need for a quad-bike, I'll just dive right into what I've already got in. It turns out I've got in two broccoli heads. Quite why, I don't know but I have. One google moment later, I discover a lovely sounding:
And so now to veganise it.
1. Finely chop 1 med-sized onion.
2. Warm oil (olive) and add onions.
3. Discover one doesn't have many of the required spices. None, in fact. Substitude 5 spice with cinnamon, Shezhuan pepper with a fresh chilli, and the rest with a pinch of saffron. Hope for the best.
4. Finely grate garlic (having removed the green spouting thing) and some ginger. Add to onions.
5. Retrieve pan lids from dishwasher and rinse under tap. This step is only necessary if one has forgotten to actually press 'go' on the dishwasher the night before.
6. Substitute steak strips for Vegan Fahita Quorn Strips, toss in carefully. Retrieve excess from the floor.
7. Add one bendy small carrot from back of fridge, and add ten medium-sized broccoli florets.
8. Discover one has no brown sugar. Use out-of-date muscovado instead and fill a ramekin to 1/3 full. Ignore the sugar police chanting in one's head. Surely, brown is healthier anyway? Liquify by adding some hot water to top of ramekin. Throw into pan.
9. Measure out in glugs approximately 1/3 of a ramekin of soy sauce. And the same again of Apple Vinegar you didn't even know you had.
10. Make a cuppa and toddle off for a bit. Feed the cat.
11. Sample sauce to 'see what it needs'. Throw in a handful of cashews to help taste and score virtue points.
12. Serve with rice. Overcooked, undercooked or perfectly cooked, as preferred.
Meal 2: Bangers and Mash
The vegan version. The mash was suprisingly palatable. Sausages less so. Veg is veg.
Meal 3: Vegan Curry
1 Slow Cooker
1 Wooden spoon
1 Chopping Board,
1 Sharp knife
Forgot to buy butternut squash. Used broccoli instead. Quite possibly the nicest curry I have ever made. Will deffo be making it in #NotVeganFebruary
Meal 4: Hidden Veg Tomato Ragu with Vegan Mozzarella
Omit celery because I hate the stuff.
Meal 5: Cat Poop on home-made Walnut and Cranberry Bread
Discovered some Vegan Mushroom Pate. Totally lush - but it comes out like one of the cat's jobbies. Smells infinitely better though. Without doubt, the nicest bread I have ever made. Only ever made bread twice before. But this, I'd make again. I ate practically the whole loaf in twenty-four hours. Has done wonders for my constitution.
Meal 6: Aubergine Stack with Vegan smoked cheese, and cous-cous.
Virtue factor: ginormous
Opportunity to perfect one's Gordon Ramsey impression: 8
Taste factor: Meh
What they don't tell you on Masterchef, is that by the time one has 'dressed' the plate, the food is cold and the cous-cous collapsing. On the plus, one learns that doing 'mis-en-plas' gives one an illusion of sophistication.
Meal 7: Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Perhaps not healthy per se, but compared to my usual double chocolate deluxe triple layered sugarfest from the local cafe, I argue that fruit desserts are one of my five a month. In my eagerness (now depleted) for Veganuary, I bought a pineapple. As it was past it's shelf-life I reasoned that it was perfect for Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
It came out as Vegan Pineapple Doesn't Matter Which Way Round Cake.
Meal 8: Vegan Meringues with Strawberries.
As above. Just as much of a disaster.
Recipe supplied by a friend who saved it from the Guardian's Vegan Special. The trouble with it was one must read the essay, for that is what it is, replete with long words describing the sensations, real or imagined, the author concocted to describe the process of making what should otherwise be a very simple dish. I guess they are paid per word, with bonuses for multiple syllable words.
1 Tin of Chick Peas. Remove chick peas.
1 pinch of salt.
Whisk the liquid, called Aqua Faba, until the National Grid runs out of electricity, or the motor burns out on one's electric whisk - which ever happens first. Add a teaspoon of cream of tartar and a ton of caster sugar slowly, whisk some more so the kitchen is thoroughly splattered. Bung in oven on the lowest temperature. Have a long bath. Catch up on last night's TV programmes. Telephone a friend. Retrieve from oven. Eat. Pray that one's jaw unsticks before lunch tomorrow.
Meal 9: Vegan Cauliflower Cheese with other roast veg.
A friend has been very poorly indeed and been convalescing with me for a few days. I know that when one is poorly, one only feels like eating what one wants. And one wanted Cauliflower Cheese, which gave me the perfect excuse to try and veganise one for me.
Having tortured myself in making a good, proper one for my poorly friend, I set about making some for me. The veg was nice. Even the brussel spouts, which ordinarily I find detestable.
Meal 10: Poorly-friend friendly and vegan-friendly, tempura veg with exquisite dipping sauce.
Following numerous remarks on my incapability as a food photographer, I have endeavoured to make this photograph award-winning in its artistry and skill. The background to this story is quite simple. Poorly-friend, currently at my abode, is only eating small morsels of whatever it is she fancies in order to help her get well. I learned she fancied Tempura. In fact, she fancied Tempura so much she remained prostrate on the sofa and suffered through endless cookery shows until she happened upon Jamie Oliver. There, with great suffrage, she learned all about how Jamie Oliver had travelled far and wide to discover the best, world-beating Tempura recipe. And here it is:
300g of self-raising flower.
Assuming he flies around the world first-class, this is quite possibly the most expensive tempura batter recipe ever created. And so to the results...