Argh. I'm stinky, but it's not yet safe to shower, because I didn't get up at 6 (I got up at 7, I'm not that much of a lazybones), so there won't be any hot water until about midday. I'm not sure I can stand it much longer. I may have to risk the sudden Ice Age 1 1/2 minutes in.
Ah, I love The Age
. It has good articles in it (even when they're nicked from The Guardian
). Mostly, though, I love the weekend magazines and the "A2" (or whatever they call it these days) supplement during the week. You know, the arty sort of stuff. OK, I do end up reading a selection of articles on the website, especially now Steph emails them to me (admittedly I'd frequently read them all when I was working at the nursing home). It's everything I might read a women's mag for, without, you know, the stupid. Now the Age
website has blogs on it. It's great. Steph sent me a link to this post
in "Chew on This", one of their resident bloggers. It's about the relative cost of veges. Kind of interesting, but blatantly obvious if you happened to think about it. I suppose part of the aim is to get people to think about it. Some interesting comments, though. Steph's commented, as has daharja
(see "Leanne" towards the bottom). And check out Moron Gordon. You still need full-fat meat and dairy my arse. That's not what the research I've done has suggested. It's not even what his comment suggests! Just tacked on at the end, apropos of nothing. Even I commented this morning (as a response to Gordon), but The Age
reviews comments before posting, so I don't know when/if it's going to be up (it was very civilised. I may post it here if it doesn't get approved). Gordon really got my back up, though. Fine, be a meat eater. Just don't claim that being vegan is somehow a lesser dietary choice. Pretty much the only thing we're deficient in is B12, and that's due to the crappy quality of our soils – it's a microbial by-product, hence why meat and dairy still contain it. It's from the animals' guts. Even human gut passengers make some B12, just don't rely on it as your sole source.
I'm a bit worried about next week. We were away last weekend on a morris dancing trip (check out Steph's journal, earlymorningair
for photos), and before that we were out every night, right back to Sunday, except for Thursday, on which night we packed. Next week we have morris dancing on Monday, potentially dinner with my family Tuesday, Steph and I are hoping for a date Wednesday, Thursday we're having our Friday night swim, because Friday we have Nat's birthday (at Veggie Bar. YAAAAAAY!). Then Saturday day we have the Britannia Morris Men's ale (yearly footup ... no, wait. That doesn't translate into non-morris speak either. Yearly party) and Saturday night my best friend Jess's birthday. At least on Sunday we just have a Litha practice with Hedda and Liam. Then on that Monday, we'll have morris dancing again. Argh! At least we'll be home again on the 21st. I may have to put a note in our Google calendars. It will read: "VERBOTEN. No leaving the house." Busy, busy, busy!
I've just started my first piece of embroidery since year seven or eight, when we were supposed to do a sort of sampler, and I think I just mastered chain stitch. Just like any Google-enabled crafter, the first thing I did was search for and print out instructions and photos of stitches. Last night I did a lovely curly thing in outline stitch, which is like stem stitch but the other way around. Apparently, according to my stitch site, outline stitch was widely used in the Bayeux tapestry. This makes me happy.
Yesterday was a day of good food. For lunch, I made myself a wrap. I was craving the fake-chicken schnitzels Steph's sister eats, so I dry-fried one and had half in a wholemeal wrap with avocado, chickpea pate and sundried tomato tapenade spread on it, and fresh tomato, cos and purple lettuce and roasted pepper inside. Bloody fantastic. I had the other half of the schnitzel in another because it tasted so damn good. And if I hadn't been so lazy, I bet you could chuck some eggplant in instead of the schnitzel and it would taste even better.
Then, for dinner, I made a varient of Pim's "Rena's Aubergine in Tomato Sauce"
. I used one whole large eggplant, and fried it in water and some mushroom ketchup. Then used the half red onion in the fridge, and then I was lazy and used two tins of tomato instead of fresh (I was running a bit behind time). I was planning on making this a pasta casserole, but the only short pasta in the house was the stuff Mum-in-Not-Law bought with "Added Omega-3!" which means, yep, you guessed it, that it has fish oil in it. Still, I chucked it in a small casserole dish, and put the ground-up pine nuts and some wheat bran/husk stuff on top (what's it called? I've blanked), which is my default substitute for breadcrumbs. Absolutely delicious. Steph's only complaint was it wasn't sufficiently filling (we ate about two serves each), but that would have been solved by the pasta, or, failing that, some good ole bulky quinoa.
Then, as I was cooking that, I managed to get a apple crumble (I've been craving crumbles since Sean/Jenni served it to us at Y—— the Monday after our Penola morris trip) prepared and in the oven so it was ready after dinner. I subbed out some of the flour and put in some oats, because I wanted that texture, dammit. Then I took out some of the butter/nuttlex, since that was there to make the flour "crumby". And I used wholemeal flour, because white flour is for pussies. I also upped the apple content. It was very nice, especially when served with vegan custard. I used brown sugar instead of white, so it actually looked more like a caramel sauce. I also halved the amount of not-milk used. Overall, very, very decadent. There's even enough left over for another tonight, even after I halved the recipe! Yummyyummyyummy. It's only a modified recipe, not a brand-new one, but I might put it up on Reynard's Feast just so I can make it again. And next time, I may even increase the oats further ... I'll have to decide after I have it again tonight. Yum, dessert!
Oh, and yesterday I steamed the two smaller Christmas puddings I made Tuesday. They're my own recipe – I used the two vegan recipes I found and combined them a bit. I wanted to make sure that Steph and I have vegan treats to eat on Christmas day, and puddings are traditionally made far ahead of time. We'll probably get down to vegan rum balls and things closer to the time. I'll probably write up the pudding recipe in Reynard's Feast if they work. I have another pudding to steam today. I made double quantities of the recipe, and this will be the "full-sized" pudding for the morris Christmas. The other two are half-sized, for Steph and me as we'll probably be spending Christmas lunch apart. :(
Still, it's exciting! I bought the calico yesterday, and boiled it as instructed. The water turned this weird brown colour, which was off-putting. Still, calico-y water is good enough to flush loos with, so I tipped it into the bucket in the bathroom. The small puddings were boiled for four hours, and they went very soft! The calico was oily to touch, which I didn't expect, never having made puddings before. Still, it's just copha, so is probably very good for my hands. I'm glad I spoke to Steph's grandmother on Cup Day. She let me know about grating the copha (lard substitute) and getting the cloth wet beforehand (then I Googled and found out about boiling the fabric - makes sense, makes it sterile). The little puddings have been hanging up from the indoor clothes line all night. I just got them down. The fabric's stiff from having been essentially waxed, and the cloth around the puddings is stained dark, as it should be. They smell fantastic. After I'd bought all the ingredients (which set me back about $60–70 or so, $30 of which was the brandy), I found out that Steph's parents were planning on buying us a vegan pudding (they'd already bought a normal one)! Oh, well. It was partly the tradition (every family member stirs the pudding and makes a wish for the coming year) that attracted me, anyway. I was a little sad that Liam and Hedda ended up not being very interested, as they don't like pudding. Still, maybe they'd like MY puddings! ;)
Steph looked askance at her parents' pudding after she saw mine. "You can tell it hasn't been cooked in the fabric," she said. I'd noticed the same thing. That pudding's calico was pristine. A little poking showed plastic underneath. Hardly environmentally friendly, and NOT the way Steph's Nan used to make!
I should probably put the big pudding on soon. I have to boil its calico first. I want to get it on early, though. It'll be bigger and will require longer cooking. If only the various recipes I read could agree on a cooking time! Or at least on a cooking time per weight.