Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh lovely lemons of tasty, citrus-y optimism

Yellow is the colour of optimism, yes? Then let there be lemons. I love having them in bowls about the house as much as I do flowers, and I go through a tonne of them in a week, they go in everything - sliced in hot water to drink all day, in hummus, pesto, chana masala...everything. I got this lil bowl in a sale in Anthropologie. I managed to bring it all the way home from NY in one piece, and then promptly cracked it in the sink, so it is now away from my clumsy hands, safe in retirement on a shelf in the living room.

Lunch O Boringness

Once upon a time, in a land that's far, far away (called the Celtic Tiger, if I remember correctly, it seems like a dream now but that could be because I fell in the snow this morning and banged my head on the footpath), I had a job. That job was in an office, and that office had a fairly standard lunch break from 1pm to 2pm. I was pretty nifty at the whole packed lunch thing, long before it became trendy to not fork out the guts of a tenner on some pile of salt-infested un-nutritious muck that would leave you nipping out to Spar for a Kit Kat Chunky an hour later. Generally I had some tasty leftovers to heat up from dinner the evening before (though it didn't go down very well the time I brought in salmon red curry, particularly since there was no door on the kitchen area and it was an open plan office), and then if I didn't have anything cooked I'd throw together a simple salad. When I lost my job obviously I ate lunch at home every day, I was able to cobble bits together from what was around the kitchen, and on days when my dad came from Longford to help me do DIY bits about the house I'd make a big pot of soup and some sambos for us (my mam used to phone me about once an hour to make sure that he had eaten). I started work again part-time about a month ago and haven't quite managed to get my act together on the packed lunch front. We're re-opening a community centre that has been closed for a long time, and there's no microwave, so leftovers aren't really an option. I also haven't been organised enough to sit down and plan it, so I've been resorting to a VERY boring but handy lunch of tuna wraps - trying to make it healthier by adding spinach leaves (which also gives a nice crunchiness) and topping it with chopped tomato. I make my tuna salad with mustard rather than mayo; mayo makes it a bit soggy, I find. There's a jar of Hellman's in the fridge, left over from when there were cameras and the like invading my house, but I prefer the homemade stuff, so that just gets used as hair conditioner (yes, I know that sounds nutty, but it is lovely and rich, all those eggs and oil - I find it particularly good post-swimming, when my hair is dry and chloriney). I tried wheaten wraps, but they were actually quite sweet and a little drier than the white ones. Anyhow, my culinary mission for the week is to make lunch more interesting, it really can't be that difficult. I just found a load of quinoa in the press, so first stop is salad I reckon.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

More pancakes, less economy

My day can be divided into pre-bailout horror and post-bailout horror. In the pre-BH part of the day I was a very content little bunny; in the post-BH part - well, words fail me. So I think I'll dwell on the earlier part of the day, in which there were three invaluable simple pleasures - snow, paltime and pancakes.

My friend Orlaith found someone with a shovel to dig her car out of the snow, so I dug out my old reliable Nigella Bites recipe for American pancakes. Having made them a million times, I still can't remember the recipe by heart, so it's a fairly food-covered page in the book.

Doh - mess - ticity

The only real downside of eating, cooking and baking a lot is the washing-up. So many more appealing things to do. I am in full-on avoidance mode, skipping out the door to the cinema right now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday night curry love-in

I am pretty boring: I really love staying in and eating something tasty in front of the fire, watching a movie or playing Scrabble. Since I had a teeny bit too much vino with dinner last night, and also since the month of December is going to be a bit hectic, I was more than happy to spend Saturday night on the sofa.

Full o beans

I love my food but I'm not a snob, and one thing I never turn my nose up at is beans on toast - cheap, speedy and nutritious. And look at the steam rising off them! I also like to add some seeds to take the healthiness up a notch. That said, I've been meaning for a while to do actual proper baked beans, like they do in the Cake Café, must root out a recipe from somewhere.

Garlic in the snow

I use so much garlic I figured I'd have a go at growing it, it's easy peasy and why use all that Chinese stuff that they have in the supermarkets when you can just pop out the back door for it. Lovely to look out the kitchen window and see the hardy green shoots popping out of the snowy soil.

Hanging in the A.M.

I love Saturday mornings. I'm an early riser - even if I only went to bed at 5.30am, I'll still wake automatically at 7.30am. Saturday morning is usually my morning for a big long run in the Phoenix Park, but I have a foot injury at the moment, and my physio told me to ease off on the running for a while (which is driving me a little crackers, I must admit). Anyhow, out I trot into a fresh smattering of snow, and I stocked up on brekkie food in Superquinn - an everything bagel, a tub of cream cheese, the Irish Times and, em, a Christmas tree. Anyhow - after getting myself stocked up and sorted I got back into my PJs (ginormous XXL PJs from Old Navy, snuggliest ever) and this is where I plan on staying for, well, as long as I feel like, frankly!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Bleary-eyed blueberries

I don't know if you noticed the time of my last post, but it was rather late. And I have to leg it over to Dorset Street for a training course so I need to be punctual this morning. I can never understand people who don't eat breakfast. Or, even more mystifying, people who forget to eat - WHAT?! I don't think I have ever forgotten to eat in my life. And I think that even if I forget, everyone else would very quickly remember, as I turn into a total bear if I don't get fed every three to four hours. So, I get into the habit of eating a particular breakfast, which, these days, is muesli, Glenisk natural yogurt and blueberries.

Right now, however, I suspect I am going to be late, and I really shouldn't be sitting around here taking photographs of my breakfast. Bíodh lá maith agaibh.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Technically I am just in the nick of time with this: it might be half past midnight here, but it's still Thanksgiving in the USA. The lucky, lucky Yanks, with their fabulous day dedicated entirely to eating. No manic money spending, present buying and decorating, just a load of delicious food. I was all up for cooking up an American-themed storm to celebrate, but it just didn't happen this year. So, instead, I decided to bake a pecan pie. I remember when my brother (the second one - there are four of them - I am the youngest and only girl - which could potentially explain the huge appetite) first moved to New York he came home for Christmas with a pecan pie - I thought it was the most amazing, exotic concoction ever (listen kids, I'm from Longford and this was the early nineties. And it's a pie, always a valid reason for enthusiasm). Pecan pie hasn't quite seeped into our dessert culture quite like it has in the US, but I love the sweet nutty stickiness of it, and when I saw an easy peasy recipe in the Nigella Christmas book I thought I'd have a crack at it. It involved making a pastry base, and though I was tempted to Jus-Rol it up to the max, it was actually a speedy operation: