Monthly Archives: October 2011

I hate food

That’s right. You read it, you can’t unread it. I have a perpetually annoyed relationship with food. I mean, yeah eating is ok. I’m not the biggest fan, but some things taste good. There’s nothing I really go all

over (ok maybe pineapple), but I like to eat things sometimes. I have a minor weakness for toast, peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese. Yeah, really horrible stuff. This horrible stuff? It’s not like I eat it all the time, or even frequently. Grilled cheese? Been over 2 years since I had one of those. Peanut butter and jelly? Not even once every 2 weeks, and even then it’s more likely to be a bite of the kidlet’s food that she either wants to feed me or has discarded. Been over a year since a whole sandwich happened. Pineapple, every so often (once every 2 months?) I’ll buy a few cans of pineapple or a fresh pineapple and eat it. Toast, yes. That’s a vice that had been daily, but for crying out loud, it’s toast! It’s not supposed to be a bad-for-you food. Two slices a day is not supposed to prevent someone on a 1500 calorie per day diet from losing weight.

I love my vegetables. I have no problem eating my 5 a day, often in one meal. For a long time after having kidlet I’d made rice and oatmeal my staples. Fine, but nothing was happening. So I cut out the rice and the oatmeal in favor of other things. For some weeks now in an effort to slim down I’ve been making cauliflower my meal staple. Instead of noodles or potatoes or rice, cauliflower. Fine with me. But now, that hasn’t worked. At all. In fact I ate some pasta a few days in a row out of busyness and laziness and gained 5-10lbs in a week. I am so frustrated with food. It’s not like I’m nutritionally inept either. I really try to eat as well as I can. I’ve used this http://cronometer.com/ for a few years now. Before it was a web app at any rate. So there’s me counting grams and portion sizes and not finding it doing any good. And exercise. I’ve had personal trainers, I’ve been good about going to the gym and it has only been minimally helpful. I used to go 5 days a week, 2 cardio, 3 strength days. I mean, I got toned, but weight loss was minimal. Now of course with a toddler, the gym is more or less out. I bought a treadmill and I manage 30 minutes a day 1-4 days a week. Usually 2-3 days a week. It’s all depending on how napping is going and then I work 3 days a week as well. Long story short I can not figure out what I am doing wrong. Probably nothing. I suspect I’m metabolically impaired, but not much of a fix for that.  I mean, sure I’m on the sedentary side but this is ridiculous.

I’ve always kind of been a fan of the idea of people chow. I mean, it’s judged that meeting a dog’s nutritional requirements might be too complex or time consuming for the average joe dog owner, but feeding ourselves whatever, even if we are clueless is fine? Silly. Why isn’t there people chow? I mean there could be so many types.  Oh, right. Lawsuits.

When we lived in the US meal replacement was fairly regulated. You had things like Slimfast (all sugar) and then you had things like EAS Myoplex for helping your workout performance. Or diet plans that you had to pay extra to join. Even prepacked meals of real food a la Jenny Craig would be cool if you could just buy them. Real meal replacement, like that for Very Low Calorie Diets (VLCD) was under prescription only. Not so here. You can buy them at a pharmacy. And I used them when despite everything I was doing I hadn’t lost enough for our immigration application. Using those barely squeaked me under the line. I even kept the weight off for close to a year until I got pregnant. Something about only wanting to eat french fries for a few months…

I’ve been trying to get some of that baby weight off again. But no luck 16 months down the line. Nothing that’s supposed to work is. Not breastfeeding (which although it’s supposed to burn 22 calories per ounce, a.k.a. 500 calories for a exclusively fed infant has thus far failed to seem to help at all), not toddler chasing, not our swim class, not the treadmill, not having cauliflower be the main ingredient in my meal. So I’m back on the people chow wagon. Because clearly I’m doing something wrong. I mean, I’m not asking a lot. Buying clothes that are under size 20 would be cool.  I mean, at least then I could reliably shop at a normal store. I don’t really want to do the VLCD thing again. It does have risks (like dying!). So I’m eating at least a meal a day. Letting my toddler feed me if she wants to (she likes to share her food). Licking the spoon when I cook family dinner. Eating my vegetables.

We’ll just see.


Venison cauliflower pumpkin soup.

Or cauliflower venison pumpkin. Or pumpkin venison cauliflower.

I’ve been eating a lot of cauliflower. Just kind of in the mood for it, plus it’s been on special at the store. I had half a pumpkin left over from a batch of pumpkin sauce, and half a rutabaga left over from beet soup. I thought, hmm. I want a cauliflower soup. I bet it would work with pumpkin and some kind of beefy stock.

Cauliflower. I chopped the stems off but otherwise will put the florets in whole. This is probably at least 1 kg.

Venison, 2 neck chops.

Pumpkin, 1/2

Rutabaga, 1/2 large one, peeled and chopped up.

Garlic (I used somewhere between 3-5 cloves)

Cornstarch

Salt, pepper, other herbs you like.

So instead of putting everything in a pot and hoping for the best I think this needs a distinct order to it.

Venison and water and garlic first.

Got a rather nice reflection of my magnetic knife hanger there.

Let that start bubbling some then add some well whisked corn starch. Mix or smash out the lumps. I whisked 1/2 cup corn starch in about 2 cups warm water and added that.

Before corn starch:

After corn starch:

Let that cook for at least an hour.

Add the pumpkin. No need to peel, once it cooks up some the meat can be scooped right out. Cook until pumpkin soft. Scoop meat out and stir.

Add the rutabaga.

(this is a rutabaga or swede. The cut up photo is above in the ingredient list)

Cook for at least another hour. Add water to taste. The consistency of the soup at this point should be not overly thick, but not thin. Textured.

Add cauliflower.

Cook until tender, but not disintegrating. No more than another hour. Remove soup bones and put meat back into soup.

Mmmm.


Spinach encrusted oven baked oca (New Zealand Yam)

The oca is a funny thing. It’s some kind of Andean tuber. Ranges from dark red to pale yellow on the outside, and red streaked to pale on the inside. It’s sort of potato flavoured, and this recipe works well with potatoes too. The oca looks a bit  funny and noduley but has a nice flavor.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxalis_tuberosa

I’ve gotten in the habit of pureeing spinach to feed my picky picky husband. If I don’t cut things up small enough he doesn’t like to eat them. So I just toss things in the food processor. Which seems to go over well. But it also means I often have more spinach puree than I know what to do with.

This is oil, garlic salt, regular salt, pepper, spinach puree and oca spears all mixed in a bowl.

I spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350-400F (well around 200 C) for 20-30 minutes, until nicely browned.

Then they get eaten which is why there are no more pictures!


Root vegetable surprise.

This was meant to be a sort of borscht. However, I didn’t take into account that beets (or as they say here, beet root) will get mashy if roasted a bit first, not so much if they are just simmered in soup. It was still good.

I used 5 beets

1/2 rutabaga (aka swede). It was a big one.

3 potatoes, peeled.

carrots, 3-4 medium large

Leeks

garlic, 3 cloves

2 venison neck chops (this is a really common cut of meat here for lamb, pork, beef, venison. It makes a good soup bone. It’s cheap and fairly meaty).

Oil

Chop all vegetables. I also peeled everything that was peelable. Except the carrots.

Add some water, salt, pepper any other herbs and spices. Oh, and the meat.

Cook cook cook… I think I cooked this for at least 4 hours.

As I said, most things kept their shape rather well. Everything was also a charming purple color. Which was not really what I had intended. I had wanted a thicker soup, not vegetables and a broth. Not enough starch! But it was still good, and best thing was I could pick vegetables out of this for Lucy to eat.


Pumpkin sauce

I hope to have a few updates over the next few weeks at least. And a change of appearance! This blog has been long abandoned in favor of my other one. One that has nothing to do with cooking. Which I still don’t update that often, in blog land terms, but it gets some action every few weeks at the minimum.

Anyhow, I thought the Northern hemisphere going into fall and all would appreciate this recipe. This is what happens when pumpkin pie and applesauce have a delicious baby. This is a regular staple in Lucy’s diet. People here tend to see pumpkins as a more savoury item. Pumpkin pie is a foreign idea and, though even as an American I wouldn’t think it, it’s very much considered American food. So when people exclaim, ‘oh that smells so good, what is that?’, and I say it’s pumpkin applesauce all we get are funny looks. I guess it’s the cultural equivalent of putting apples and potatoes together. It’s just seen as a little odd.

I make it in the slow cooker, but if you have another preferred way you generally make applesauce, go for it.

You will need:

Apples. Several kilos or pounds at least. I usually buy whatever is on clearance or seconds or similar. After all what do we care if they are bruisey or damaged?

Cinnamon

Allspice

Cloves-ground (unless you want to be picking cloves out of your sauce or have some kind of straining cooking device)

Vanilla extract. Real or fake.

Pumpkin. Now, don’t use a jack-o-lantern one. Get a sweet cooking one. Something like a butternut squash. Or canned pumpkin. Probably 1 12 or 16oz can (I don’t remember the sizes they come in because they don’t sell canned pumpkin here, as I said, pumpkin, while very popular is eaten whole, roasted, savory, like potatoes) will do for a 4-5l (1 gallon) batch of sauce. Less for less. Same thing with the butternut squash. Probably one whole one will be fine, use half if making less.

Peel apples and cut them up into chunks. I think this was 3-4kg of seconds apples. The bags didn’t have weights on them, but there were probably 10-15 small-medium apples per bag, and this is 2 bags worth. This is a 5L crockpot.

I kind of felt like I had more peels than apple. Or at least 50/50. But the peels didn’t weigh very much.

Add your spices. I’d say a tsp of cinnamon, a dash or two of allspice, 1/tsp of cloves (a little goes a really long way with that stuff), a tsp of vanilla. I just kind of add stuff though. Nutmeg if you’ve got it. I don’t usually.

Pumpkin. No need to peel it. Just stick it in there. When it cooks you can scoop it out of it’s peel easily enough. I had to cut it up some to get it to fit in the crockpot.

Crockpot on high, let it cook for 4-6 hours. Scoop out your pumpkin,

give it a stir to mix it all up and serve, freeze, or refrigerate. It freezes well, stores in the fridge for quite some time as well.

It’s actually much oranger than that.

You can also use pears if you like, but peel them! That’s a mistake I’ve made.