At the beginning of the year I suffered my first gallstone attack and a scan back in January more or less confirmed that I needed to get my gallbladder removed. In the time since I’ve started going to the gym and watching what I ate. I went back to a vegetarian diet (actually I’m practically vegan these days) and I’ve lost over a stone in weight which is all great steps for healthy living in my book but I still suffered from these attacks with each one being more painful then the last. At the beginning of August my boyfriend and I went out to see a friends band one Friday night and ended up in A&E after an attack caught me off guard. Still free morphine and I was *just* well enough to go to Bloodstock the next weekend which was nice.
A couple of weeks later I ended up in A&E again only this time via ambulance and not taxi. This time I was kept in overnight and sufficiently doped up to the eyeballs (best high of my life hahaha). The next day I was asked if I would like my gallbladder took out that day. My reply “HELL YEAH!!!!” and so I’ve been recovering ever since, missing out on a trip to London and a Lady Gaga gig in the process. This is my last week on sick leave and yes it has been nice to relax and not have to worry if each mouthful of food was going to create agonising pain but fuck me I’m bored now. My flat has never been so clean, also I’m purely on the bones of my arse due to being on sick so I literally cannot wait to get back to work and earn some moolah.
This is perfect for this time of year (it’s definitely getting darker and colder). It’s perfect because you can use whatever vegetables you have in the kitchen too.
Serves: 4-6 adults.
1 tablespoon oil
2 onions, chopped
4 clove of garlic, chopped
3x 400g tins of chopped fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 can of kidney beans, drained (or ½ cup of dry kidney beans that have been soaked overnight)
1 red chilli pepper (de-seeded if you like) or 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
1 red pepper, chopped
200g of mushrooms, sliced
200g of mixed veg e.g. courgette, sweet potato, butternut squash or peppers – but anything will work.
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
½ teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
300g basmati rice
Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat for 2–3 minutes, or until it has softened slightly. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans and chilli, bring the sauce to the boil, then lower the heat so that it simmers gently.
Add the chopped red pepper, sliced mushrooms and mixed vegetables and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.
Add the cumin, coriander and paprika to the chilli and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Season to taste and serve with the rice.
As the chilli was simmering I still felt it needed a bit more *umpf* so I added a teaspoon of chipotle chilli paste and some dried chilli flakes too.
Leftover chilli tastes much better the next day – simply wait for it to cool, then keep it in the fridge in a container with a lid, and reheat it thoroughly in a saucepan. Or you can freeze it, but make sure you defrost the chilli completely before you reheat it.
I made my chilli today with carrot and courgette. It was rather delish. 😀
Also for all of you who think that vegan food is expensive then think again. I’ve just worked it out on Sainsbury’s online and this meal would have cost about £4.89 to make and that’s for anything between 4-6 people depending on how hungry they are. I went to my local greengrocers as well so it probably cost me less in honesty.
Any regular visitor to this blog will have realised by now that I like my vinyl records. My fella knows this only too well and gave me these metal beauties. The Cure album I bought from eBay which incidentally turned up on the same day.
I had a load of carrots that needed using up before they went off and let’s face it *everyone* loves Carrot & Coriander soup, plus with Autumn poking it’s head around the corner making and freezing portions of soup means you can have a homemade, comforting bowl of soup whenever you feel like.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
450g/1lb carrots, sliced (I left the skins on)
1 tsp ground coriander
2 pints of vegetable stock
large bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onions and the carrots. Cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add the ground coriander and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Add the coriander and then whizz everything up with a hand blender/blender until smooth.
I’ve been on a bit of a preserve kick as of late. In this last week alone I’ve utilised all of the jam jars I’ve collected/had donated from friends and family and am on the hunt for more (I don’t believe in buying jam jars. It’s much more environmentally friendly and cheaper to rescue those destined for the recycling bin). So far in the last week I’ve made a batch of Lime Pickle (It’s hotter than Hades, or as my boyfriend puts it “like hay fever in a jar”) and have also had a bash at making Strawberry Jam for the first time which is tasty but didn’t set properly due to a combination, I feel, of not enough lemon juice/heat. I know for next time.
Since I still had loads of limes left after I’d made the pickle (I still do actually) and since Gin and Limes go together perfectly I figured I’d conduct an experiment. I looked online and I found a lot of recipes for grapefruit and gin preserves but not one for a lime based one so I decided to have a crack at making my own. The results are fabulous even if I do say so. I have no idea if it’s safe to eat if you’re driving or not (I figured the alcohol will have probably evaporated what with the temperature of the marmalade but I’m not 100% sure and quite frankly I’m refusing to take responsibility for anything you do whilst under the influence of said preserve.
Lime and Gin Marmalade
1 kg of Limes
3 litres water
1.5 kg white sugar
100 ml Gin
This will fill about 4 1lb jars, but it is good to have a couple of spare ones just in case or a selection of big and small jars.
First of all wash the rinds of all of the fruit to remove the wax. Cut all of the fruit in half and juice them. Cut the remains into small strips and place, along with the juice, into a big pan, along with the water. Some recipes tell you to remove the pith from the fruit and to put any pips into a muslin bag (as they contain pectin) but I didn’t purely because I knew that the pith would dissolve and I only got a total of 2 pips out of all of my fruit so I decided not to bother. Bring the contents of the pan to the boil and then simmer gently for about two and a half hours. By this time the fruit should be soft and transparent and the liquid will have reduced by a third. Skim the scum from the surface every now and then.
Take off the heat and add the sugar. Stir and allow to sit for a moment to dissolve. Whilst doing this, set the oven to 150C (gas mark 2). Wash your jars in hot soapy water then rinse and place the jars upside down in the oven for 30 mins then switch the oven off (I normally leave them in the oven until it’s time to use them.
Give the fruit a good stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer. You now need to watch out for the setting point. It’s difficult to put an exact time on this as it depends on the size and shape of your pan and how much you are making but if you have a sugar thermometer use this and look out for it reaching 106C. If you don’t have a thermometer just test for the setting point every few minutes by placing a drop of the liquid on a chilled saucer, place the saucer in the fridge for a moment and then push your finger through it. If it crinkles then it’s done. Once setting point has been reached, take the pan off the heat immediately and after it’s cooled for about 20 minutes, stir in the gin. Pour and seal the marmalade into the jars immediately (be careful as this will be like molten lava). Allow to cool, then store in a cool, dark place.
No idea if I’m going to keep these for myself or give them away as presents. A lot of friends have said I should sell them but I’m not sure. Any suggestions?
I finally, after 20 years of waiting got to see the R.H.C.P. live, and in my hometown to boot. The tickets were ridiculously priced (at nearly £60) but I got to see 4 bands for that and I paid zero in transport since the Stadium of Light is about 30 minutes walk from my house. Reverend and The Makers were the band of the day for me, The Futureheads were good and it was nice to finally see them live, The Wombats I’m afraid I didn’t paid much attention too and the Chilli’s were good and I enjoyed myself. They played their cover of “Higher Ground” so I was happy.
Back in April I was shown a site for Foodie Pen Pals by one of my friends who knows how much I enjoy cooking and baking. Thinking it would be a lot of fun I signed up. I was told who I had to send a parcel for, I stalked her blog/twitter for inspiration, bought some treats and sent them off along with some home made goodies. I then sat back and waited for my parcel to arrive, only 2 weeks later and nothing. I’ve tried emailing my sender in case she’s ill or if it’s gone missing in the post and yet again, nothing.
I would have loved to post a blog entry with loads of photo’s of awesome goodies like what my recipient did but I doubt I’ll get the chance as my gut feeling is telling me to give up as it’s just not going to happen. The whole experience has left me feeling pretty upset and bitter truth be told. I work part time for minimum wage and my parcel, along with p&p cost over £18. It’s not Carol Anne’s fault as she’s been trying to chase this up as well and it’s certainly not Emma’s either. The last remaining glimmer of hope is thinking positively that something good happens in the next few days otherwise I doubt I’ll be willing to contribute towards future months. I just can’t afford to do so, both mentally and financially.
I put on a gig last week for these guys and my word. They’re better live than what they are on CD and in this day in age I find that extremely rare. There were people who had heard the music from outside in the streets coming to the gig as they liked what they could hear so much. You can buy merch here.
It’s been a good week for vinyl buying. On Thursday I treat my boyfriend to a trip to Leeds to go to the Sleep gig (he had no idea where we were going. It was EPIC!). Whilst there I bought the re-release of their Dopesmoker album (it’s one of 1000 by all accounts). On Saturday we went to Beatdown Records in Newcastle where I bought the rest. I love the Unkle remix of that Grinderman song so I *had* to buy that, I’ve heard good things about the new High On Fire album and had heard a bit of the Last Step album online and I quite like Venetian Snares so I bought that as well. I fucking love records.