Saturday, August 28, 2010

How To Lose Weight Without Hunger - article

The following article is by my good cyber pal Erin, who knows all kinds of wonderful things to do with vegan food. It is published with his kind permission and encouragement.

How To Lose Weight Without Being Hungry All The Time

Many people find it hard to stick to a diet. There are a lot reasons for this, including social pressure from friends and family urging you to indulge in a false sense of moderation. (You know, the “Just this one treat won’t hurt” line?) But, perhaps the biggest reason for giving up on a diet is feeling hungry. However, hunger is not a requirement to losing weight!

Now, you’re probably thinking I’m going to recommend sweating it all off in an exercising frenzy, but that’s not it at all. Instead, there’s a simple, healthy, trick to what you eat that ensures you won’t be hungry and yet still consume fewer calories than you currently do (which means weight loss will follow naturally).

The secret is to consume only whole foods in their original, unprocessed state. For example, instead of a slice of apple pie, grab an apple — or even two if you want! Instead of carrot cake, some carrots.

The thing is, in both cases, the sugars in the whole foods are carried along in a complete package of fiber and nutrients, thus slowing their absorption and leaving you satiated (i.e., feeling satisfied) versus loading you up with empty calories that do nothing to physically fill you up.

Better yet, eat LOTS of green, leafy vegetables, like kale and collard greens, and cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower. These wonders of nature pack an even greater concentration of nutrients into still fewer calories, and their extra volume makes it almost impossible to overeat!

And, don’t just add them to your meals, start out your meals and snacks with these foods. Serve up a huge salad or a big bowl of bean soup with kale, and before you know it, you’ll be so stuffed you won’t even want to think about a greasy burger or sugary and fat-laden dessert. It really works. Give it a try!

By the way, you can even have “pasta” on a diet too. That’s because there exists such a thing as calorie free noodles made exclusively of fiber. They have zero net carbs and are very filling. Just add a hearty vegetable pasta sauce or stir-fried veggies and maybe some tofu for protein, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, healthy, and satisfying meal.

Erin Dame is the author of Vegan Done Light, a low-calorie, low-sodium cookbook and long-running monthly nutrition newsletter, as well as several guides on health and diet.

Getting Back To Blogging

It's been a strange summer. We've done some travelling - New York and Paris plus various places in Canada - and we've moved house, selling one and buying another within days of each other, refurnished, etc. etc. It all takes time and somehow this blog got lost in the shuffle :(

I am, however, back 'at it' as it were, and just today arranged for organic produce to be delivered to our door each week to inspire me to new recipes. With all the lovely things growing right now there's so much opportunity to eat well, whether it's simple salads and cold soups or gourmet meals.

Hope everyone has enjoyed a good summer - next weekend is Labour Day so it's officially over, I guess, then, unless you are very trad and wait until the 21st to declare the onset of autumn. If you drop by this blog, please leave a brief Hi so I know you've been here, okay? All comments (well, almost all :) but you know what I mean!) very very welcome.

Happy compassionate eating,


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Red Chard On Wheatberries, Tofu Stir-Fry Two Ways.

Simple meals: Vegetables solo or combined with others are quick and easy to prepare and full of flavour. A little tofu or tempeh can provide an interesting contrast of texture. We try to eat lots of greens.


This was a lovely twist on steamed greens. For this I used red chard, because it's so pretty (and was available at the market, let's face it!), which I cooked very lightly and treated with Japanese seasonings - rice vinegar, light soy, a little wasabi, a touch of pickled ginger and a few drops of sesame oil - all to taste. The seeds are just a scattering of sesame seeds more for appearance than anything else (although I love sesame).

This was all tossed together while the chard was still hot and placed on a bed of previously cooked (and hot) wheatberries - in lieu of rice.

Most successful, and to be repeated :)

Stir-fried vegetables with tofu are a stand-by when there's not much else hanging around the refrigerator and I lack the energy or time to make something inventive.


Obviously the squash had been previously prepared and was waiting in the refrigerator to be discovered and made the centre of attention. While reheating the baked squash in the oven, I quickly chopped bell peppers/capsicums, onions, mushrooms, celery and whatever else I had lying around and stir-'fried' (okay, cooked in a little water) them together with cubed tofu, garlic, ginger and a little light soy sauce. These were kept pretty crisp, stuffed into the hollow part of the squash then returned to the oven while we had our salad course. This is tasty and the presentation, which is no trouble at all, makes it seem rather more special than just a plain stir-fry. You could serve this with rice or another grain, but we don't usually bother except to add sometimes some steamed spinach or kale.


Another simple meal. Left-over Chinese vegetables - bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and if you have them handy some of those baby corn cobs (I didn't have them here), are added to green beans and some onion and quickly stir-'fried' (I try not to use oil, as you know) with the usual suspects - ginger, garlic, crushed chilies and light soy. There are a few walnut pieces on top for crunch and interest. Serve with rice, alone, or with some homemade bread (as below).


In our house, it goes with whatever we're serving, although we have it much less often than we used to do. I usually save it for one of those evenings when soup seems the simplest and most obvious choice.

Getting lazy you say? Too right! LOL.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rapini With Spiced Turtle Beans, Tuscan Beans With Kale And Craisins, Bean-Stuffed Squash, Oven-Baked Tofu


Way back when, I posted a variation on the bean recipe HERE - using back then soy beans rather than the turtle (or black) beans pictured here. I may have added a few extra little bits of this and that for interest, but the idea is the same: spicy hot (but not too hot) beans gently simmered with a sweetener (maple syrup works nicely, as does agave nectar, but I like organic molasses for this one to go with the rich taste of this kind of bean.) along with various spices (see recipe) to produce a delicious bean dish that keeps well in the refrigerator and can be used for a variety of dishes.

In this case, I served rapini (broccoli rabe), lightly done with a little garlic, to complete the Beans 'n' Greens meal. The contrast of the slight bitterness of the rapini with the beans is sensational.


This is an old favourite, but I can't resist adding it in here. The recipe I have posted before, as HERE, although I, like most of people reading this blog, don't follow the recipe slavishly. Using lightly cooked shredded kale steamed with a touch of onion or garlic and some dried cranberries (craisins) not only looks wonderful and is good for us, but the slight sweetness of the cranberries turns the kale into something even more special than usual. As you will have gathered by now, I love putting slightly sweet dried fruit with 'cabbage-like' vegetables. One could used chopped dried apricots here, or raisins, currants - whatever. Again, it's Beans 'n' Greens in a simple but not boring way.


Now this was nearly a disaster. I used the photo to make the point that either of these bean recipes would be good, if there are any leftovers, in all sorts of ways - on toast, on a split baked potato, etc. Our preferred way is to stuff them into a small pre-baked squash (you choose your fave) and serve with whatever other leftovers or salad seem appropriate. In this case, I had some tofu that needed to be used quickly, the baked squash and the beans (and a green salad - always have the makings of a green salad here). But it was indeed nearly or perhaps actually a disaster. I left them in the oven that bit too long and the tofu, which was also marinated and then baked, got too much heat and the edge of the squash turned a little darker than was aesthetically desirable. Wanna see my disaster in the uncropped version? Here ya go:

Not a dish I am proud of! I actually can bake tofu successfully, however (and usually don't scorch my squash). Later in the week I made tofu to go with greens (much more sensible than adding it to beans, but as I say it needed to be used) and managed bake my marinated fingers of tofu enough to get just the right degree of colour and texture.


So simple, but it is easy to answer the phone and let it over-do. This was frozen tofu (makes a different texture) lightly squeezed to removed excess liquid after defrosting, then marinated in minced garlic (you can used the dried flakes if you are in a rush), ginger (powdered is a different taste, but it works for heat), crushed or powdered chilies - totally optional - a little mirin or other sweetener (just about half a tsp, but to taste), a shake of Bragg Liquid Amino/All-Purpose Seasoning, and a little water to help it not be too strong. Marinate in a flat dish and turn a couple of times while you're preparing something else, then put in a 375 F oven for as long as it takes - it depends on how thick you have cut the tofu strips or logs or fingers - turning once. You can used a light spray of oil on an oven tray or cookie sheet or put it all on top of a sheet of parchment paper. I find the spray of oil works better.

Serve hot with a drizzle of whatever you fancy and decorate according to your whimsy. Leftovers make great additions to a wrap or, cubed, a salad. We rarely have leftovers. *sigh*

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wheat Berry Squash Salad, Cauliflower Corn Curry, Tofu and Pea Tops in Black Bean Vinaigrette

Wheatberry Squash Salad

This was a meal fairly recently (so, I'm a little behind), the recipe gleaned from a non-vegetarian cookbook by Canadian Chef Bill Jones, Chef's Salad. This one required cooked wheat berries (delicious and tender and chewy all at once) plus Squash, garlic, and a wonderful maple-sunflower dressing. We cut down on the amounts (just for two persons rather than the four to six the recipe aimed for) and did a little tickling for flavour but it was a hit even before we started messing with the recipe. Served at room temperature, the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and sunflower seed dressing, carefully blended with a little water and garlic, just enhanced the already delicious roasted squash something to shout about. We want this one again!

Cauliflower Corn Curry

This recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook - a must for anyone who loves good food from around the world. We had made it before then forgotten about it (how could that happen!) until I looked at half a cauliflower in the vegetable crisper and wanted something special. I keep a can of corn niblets up the cupboard most of the time, for 'just in case', and that was what we added here, along with the usual (Indian) things plus some chopped cilantro at the end. We made enough for four, by accident, and had the delight of enjoying it again at another meal. What I like about this one is that by cutting the cauliflower into small florets and using the already-cooked corn, it is all ready in a hurry and can be served with salad and crusty bread if the traditional rice, raitas, etc., isn't on the cards.

Tofu and Pea Tops in Black Bean Vinaigrette

This is another of Bill Jones's warm or room-temperature salads, and I must admit I had my doubts about this one - until I tasted it! - and was luckily talked out of my hesitation by my husband.

Black bean paste, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil (I used just a smidge, and only at the end, for the aroma) are put into a pan with ginger, chopped cilantro, hot sauce and a spoonful of water until looking cooked, then tofu and pea tops (pea tenders) are added just enough to wilt along with bean sprouts. Toss the lot together and garnish with cilantro and green onion. The result is a warm salad which is also good at room temperature. A very nice way to take your sprouts!!!

There's more to find in this excellent book.

For my next trick . . . . :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catching Up

This is embarrassing. I had meant to publish here what I am eating, whether or not it was accompanied by a recipe (some things are made up on the spur of the moment and don't get written down at the time), with the idea that it might make other people interested in eating our way or, at the very least, it may explain to family and friends the kind of foods we like to eat. It might also reassure a few people that there is no reason to go hungry just because you're eating vegan!

What has happened is that I've got busy about some things and lazy about others. This blog has been neglected. But here at least are some quick pix I took of some of the things on the menu in the last while, with a promise of more up-to-date postings in future.


First of all, I can't call this Miso Soup with a straight face and any Japanese cook could and should laugh me out of the kitchen. But this is a tasty way to have a healthy snack in a hurry.

There's no real recipe here. I cheated, in this case, and used a vegan miso stock cube, which has, in addition to miso, various vegetable flavourings in there to help things along. Added to this can be a number of things, but the most usual things I now add are: sliced mushrooms, thinly sliced celery, pieces of baby spinach, ginger, tamari, chilies, skinny noodles, sea vegetable of some kind and anything else I fancy, all barely warmed through let alone 'cooked to death'. There was more of the broth to add to my bowl here (and I did add it), but I photographed it as you see it so that the ingredients would show a little better. I love quick and easy things, and this certainly qualifies.


Okay, don't panic, it isn't meant to go with the soup above :) I just thought I'd remind you and myself that the Banana Bread recipes found in the excellent Barnard and Kramer cookbooks are not to be beaten. This is one that took the most bananas and is somewhat adapted from the original (but maybe not quite enough to make it fair to publish the recipe here). Lovely stuff!


I make a lot of variations on this theme, and it isn't quick although it is indeed easy. I take a varied mix of carrots, sweet potatoes, potato, whatever, and cut up smallish. Then I add onion, garlic, perhaps some grated ginger, vegetable broth or water, Bragg liquid aminos, herbs (varies), chillies (always like to use chillies), a little turmeric when the spirit moves me, and barley. This cooks, usually in a slow cooker but can be made on the top of the stove, until well and truly done, at which time I add such frivolities as vegan Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, more garlic and/or fresh chopped herbs to give zing to the dried herbs previously added to the pot, and maybe even a little red or white wine. It all depends and there truly can be no recipe, although I'll be happy to write it all down next time I make it.

A few more minutes to let the newly added ingredients spread throughout the stew, and it's ready to serve (or for that matter to keep until later - all the better as a 'leftover'.

A good variation on this is to add some cauliflower florets, chopped green beans or the like to the roots, but I prefer to keep the 'roots' theme on this one.

The whole dish is rather old-fashioned, unglamorous, thick and hearty. True comfort food.


This is almost too easy to mention, but it works just fine. I had an eggplant begging to be rescued from my fridge and I had some homemade tomato-based pasta sauce in my freezer. I sliced the eggplant thinly and baked it in the oven on a flat tray until just tender. (In the past I have simply softened the slices in a pan on the stovetop.) Thawed, the pasta sauce was put in a pan to heat. While waiting for this, I took panko crumbs (but any kind would do, I should think, as long as they're not sweet), some crushed cashews (optional), and nutritional yeast and mixed them together in fairly equal parts, along with sprinkles of herbs and spices, salt and papper - all to taste. (These mixes keep well in a jar in the fridge, by the way, if you need such toppings on a fairly regular basis.)

When the pasta sauce was warmed and the eggplant softened, I layered it in a baking dish, sprinkled with the crumb topping and popped it in the oven at about 375, covered at first and then, half-way through cooking, without its cover. This shouldn't take long - half an hour or so (keep an eye on it) until it bubbles around the edges and the top is a little crisp. Ovens vary and sizes of baking dish vary, so it's hard to be exact, but we all know when things are 'done'.

This simple casserole goes well with green vegetables or a crisp salad - or simply with crusty bread.

I've also made this with a mixture of eggplant and zucchini or eggplant and mushrooms, but I don't put more variety in there because I'm not trying to fake up a ratatouille (although not a bad idea, eh!). Red wine with this one :)

I have more photos still in the camera and I'll post again as soon as I rescue them.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bean-Stuffed Acorn Squash, Mexican-Spiced Veg on Beans, Faux Chikken Dinner


Right now I am enjoying eating the mostly greens and beans way (with some apologies to Dr Joel Fuhrman since I do enjoy my spices and other condiments). I had found a lovely little organic acorn squash at the market, had some home-cooked black beans (unseasoned) in the freezer and a lovely bunch of dinosaur kale in the crisper. This had to make a good meal.

First the squash, which I simply halved and baked, face down and lightly covered, at 350 degrees for around half an hour. While this was happening, I tossed a little onion and garlic into a pan to get the onions to a translucent state (using a little water to sautee, as usual, although I have been known to 'cheat' and use a teaspoon of oil), and added a chopped tomato. In went the black turtle) beans, about 1-1/2 cups, along with a tablespoon of tomato paste from a tube, a tablespoon of organic pure maple syrup, a squirt of Bragg liquid aminos/all-purpose seasoning, a shake or two of thyme and oregano, a sprinkle of red chili flakes and just enough water to let it all simmer while the squash baked. The kale was stripped of its coarse stems, sliced crosswise into ribbons and lightly braised with a little garlic in a very little vegetable stock with a few raisins.

This all came together before I knew it, and with a quick baby spinach and orange salad to start we had a delicious meal. You'll be seeing more of my beans 'n' greens meals in the next little while.

And this one is also about beans, pureed as I like to do sometimes now, with some mixed vegetables. Have a look:


As you see, the beans (I used lima beans here, cooked with garlic, onion, bay and a little chili) are well pureed, not too soupy but placed in a shallow old-fashioned-style soup plate for presentation rather than from need. I water-sauteed broccoli florets with some red bell pepper/capsicum, quartered mushrooms and sliced onion. These I seasoned with Mexican Chili Spice Mix with a little extra cumin and cayenne. When the beans were heated through again after being pureed, the vegetables were ready, with any liquid absorbed. I sprinkled some vegan parmesan-style cheese on top.

This next one does not, however, use beans, but there's still something green there :)


Coming home too close to mealtime meant I reached for a package of PC Meatless Chicken Breasts (the fake meat is made by Gardein, I note). Iit comes in a sealed pouch with sauce included, intended to be microwaved or boiled in the bag, but I pop it into a baking dish in the oven while I do the rest of the meal, although I'll probably reconsider that option if I'm still using it when the weather gets hot. In this case, the baking option worked fine, since I quickly chopped some potatoes and carrots to roast on the same shelf. While this was happening, a salad was in preparation and, while we were consuming that, I put on the water to steam the asparagus you see in the photo. That takes about two or three minutes while the plates are being changed and the glasses recharged.

This fake meat is very tasty, and seems to come in just a couple of flavours (the sauce, remember?). One Tuscan (i.e. tomato and herbs) and the other, which is pictured above, is Dijon (more French and with a mild mustardy sauce). Both are very good. I went for years 'not approving' of faux meats, mainly because I didn't like the taste, I think. Good products have me rethinking me stubbornness, and I do now keep one or two on hand (watching the expiry dates carefully) as a change or for emergency use. This would go well just with a big green salad too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chili Almond Asparagus

This is what we had yesterday for lunch - along with some rice and marinated tempeh - and it was so good I am going out for more asparagus so that I can repeat it tomorrow!

The recipe is not mine but was posted in May of last year on the blog of Vegan YumYum here:

Do check it out, because she gives her recipe and very very good directions, including photos, for every step. It's remarkably quick and could be on the table in 10 minutes. It makes an excellent side dish or imho a great light lunch or supper with a salad and/or some crusty bread.

Sadly, I had to deviate at the last minute from her recipe, since I was shockingly out of almonds (used cashews instead) and vegan soup stock powder. Nevertheless, the dish was superb, and I am keen to try it exactly as she intended it, although as ususal scaled down to feed only two persons.

We loved the toasty-roasty crispiness of the vegetables along with the flavour of the nuts and lemon. Truly delightful.

And that's why I'm giving this a post all of its own :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sushi Rice Salad, Avocado Carrot Sushi Rolls, Miso Soup


When I saw a recipe for Sushi Rice Salad I was unimpressed, but just perhaps it could be interesting (I thought) if I tweaked it a bit and, after all, I did have some left-over sushi rice in the refrigerator . . . .

It was sensational!

I hadn't been able to use all the rice I'd cooked for sushi, and, ever frugal about such things, I'd stuck it in the refrigerator for another day. It was therefore already seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar and salt. I carefully separated it out with a fork (it hadn't clumped together as much as I'd have thought) and put it with a tsp or two of water on low at the back of the stove to heat through. (Next time, though, I'll do it 'properly' and cook the rice fresh and keep it warm until the rest of the 'salad' is made.

I used about half a pound of asparagus, cut in thin rounds, which I stirred around in a skillet in the tiniest bit of oil for around three minutes tops. (I rather like young raw asparagus, the the recipe had said to lightly cook it so I did.) It needs to be still quite firm, I think. The avocado was diced and the seaweed chopped into small pieces. The real trick was a wonderful dressing of wasabi, tamari, miso, lemon juice and zest, and chopped pickled ginger.

With the dressing in a bowl large enough to contain all ingredients with room to toss them, I added the asparagus and avocado, mixed well, then added the warmed rice and tossed it all together carefully. The topping was some lightly toasted sesame seeds.

I found the recipe in Bill Jones, Chef's Salad (2003), which I should add is not a vegetarian cookbook but has lots of good recipes suitable for vegetarians and vegans (and others could be adapted).

I'll be making this 'salad' again and again. Wonderful!


Just for the record, I am continuing with practicing the fine art of rolling my own sushi - so quick once I got the hang of it. I'm working on getting the shape right, sort of squared off, now. These are still rather rounded, and tasted none the worse for that. It's simply strips of avocado and matchsticks of carrot together. These are of course served with wasabi, tamari and pickled ginger. I'm likely to be showing you more and more of these pretty things, so bear with me!

And finally a simple soup:


I had found some miso soup cubes that were vegan (not easy to get cubes or powder without the bonito) and wanted to give them a try. One cube for two of us worked fine, and I added some miso paste too - brown miso, as it happened. After heating the broth with a couple of 'coins' of fresh ginger, a shake of chili flakes and the sliced mushrooms ( mushrooms therefore a little less raw but still good and firm), I added the miso (which I dissolved in a couple or so tablespoons of the broth first), careful not to let it boil. Silken tofu went into the bowls with some shredded baby spinach (just a handful) and a little finely sliced green onion. Next time (which just happens to be this evening, I think) I shall probably add more tofu and also some noodles.

The thing about these kinds of soups is that they are most forgiving. Japanese style is, of course, a little at variance with my own method, but I was working for taste and enjoyment here rather than trying to copy a cuisine. Well, that's my line and I'm sticking to it :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Chilied Asparagus With Quinoa And Tofu

This way of doing asparagus is a hit in our household, since we love Asian-inspired dishes, especially the hot and spicy ones. Here I chose for lunch today to do the asparagus in the quickest possible way, stir-'fried' (without oil and just a little liquid) in a skillet with a little finely chopped ginger and garlic, a dash of low-sodium tamari, a pinch of sugar, dried chili flakes, and to finish about 1/8 tsp of oriental sesame oil put drop by drop over the top of it all. (The dish is originally from Hong Kong via Madhur Jaffrey's excellent Vegetarian World Cuisine.) Traditionally it would be served with rice, but I chose quinoa for its wonderful nutty flavour (not to mention the nutritional value). Additionally I had marinated some firm tofu slices in a little Braggs amino into which I had stirred some cayenne, powdered ginger, garlic granules and onion flakes (I like to use these dried rather than fresh versions for marinades sometimes, but it's a toss-up which I use.) I baked the tofu in the oven until slightly brown and firm. When the tofu was almost ready, we had our salad and then, while the salad plates were being cleared I tossed the asparagus around in the skillet until barely cooked - still crisp is sensational with asparagus. A good meal.

Yesterday, I did a variation on a previous idea (see my last blog entry).

Spiced Limas With Garlic Broccoli

Remember the fava beans? Well, yesterday I cooked white limas, added some dried herbs and spices (including chilies), pureed the lot and served it surrounded by stir-'fried' (as before) broccoli with garlic and just a few chili flakes thrown in for a little bit of interest. Since I had allowed the bean puree to be much thicker than I had used before, I had the fun of piling them up like pureed potatoes in the centre of the plate. The tiny spoonful of liquid remaining the the skillet from cooking the broccoli was drizzled over the beans at the last minute. This was a big hit - and of course almost any vegetable would have worked well here - just trying to get our greens, though, especially at this time of year. And our beans. Hmmmm, what bean to try next I wonder!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Belated Happy New Year!

Well here I am, after more than three months, persuaded that it is better to blog than not (for the time being, eh?). But where to resume???? I had photos that I have just junked because I couldn't remember what any of them were about - and most looked pretty boring to my eye anyway. I mean, without a recipe, what's one stew as against another? On the other hand (and there is usually one around here) this is as good a place as any to talk about food faves and food places as well as new products and restaurants.

For this post, then, I am simply going to give you a few snapshots of foods that we have particularly enjoyed recently.

OK, here's an easy dessert we make when we have the ingredients:


Obviously, one sweetens the wine a bit, adds a selection of spices and (for my taste) a little orange zest to help it all along. The icecream was commercially made, but was made of coconut milk rather than soy - something I'd not had before. We buy this when we can and have just a little with fresh fruit. Excellent.

There have also been two major vegetable 'discoveries' for me. I'm not saying I'd never had these before - of course I had - but I certainly hadn't cooked the first in my own kitchen or prepared the second in the way I've done here.

And what's that? Well, the more clear-sighted will spot that this is broccoli rabe or rapini. Lately (and I do mean since New Year) I've gone quite mad over it. Funny how tastes change.


This is an Italian dish, and I got the recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook (one I swear I'd choose to take to a desert island with me). Its quite simple, all oniony and garlicky, and the rapini is cooked separately and heaped on the pureed bean mixture (served at the bottom of an old-fashioned wide soup bowl, as above). Excellent.

Actually, we liked the fava beans (something else I'd not cooked at home, now that I think of it) enough to have them a couple of times more this month, the next time with chopped kale (not photographed - looks much the same) and after that with bokchoy and a more 'asian' hint to the flavourings.


The other thing I hadn't actually tried at home, folks, was roasted Brussells sprouts. Now this might have something to do with the 'kept-warm' dishes that awaited my after-school ramblings to my grandmother's house yea these many years ago. Her Brussels sprouts were like dark little bullets by the time I got them, and if it wasn't for the fact that I was an amenable child they might not have got eaten at all. However, a good pal on a group (thanks, Beth) assured me that I should try roasting Brussels sprouts deliberately rather than accidentally. I thought there was no way of improving on the delightful taste of this vegetable (yes, I'm one of those who love anything even remotely resembling cabbage), but I was sadly wrong and have been blaming myself for being too stubborn to try these before.


Since I try to be careful about oil, I simply sprayed the bottom of a roasting tin very lightly indeed, popped the sprouts in and rolled them around along with a little oregano, then roasted them as I was told to do: until they turned a lovely dark caramel-like colour. If you've enjoyed these, you're laughing at my amazement. If you haven't had them before, then you're in for a treat. They turn so sweet and the tiniest bit crisp on the very last outside layer. Good hot from the oven, room temperature or cold. There won't be leftovers.

And to finish of this mad post, here's my first and second attempt (don't laugh!) at making/rolling my own (dah-dah-dah-daaaaahhhhh!) SUSHI!


And . . .


There were more than a little ragged, but oh they tasted so very very good. I made some for New Year and we just wolfed down every bite and never quite got round to more than casually sampling the other snacks. I was surprised how easy it was after the first couple of times (this is genuinely the first and second try shown here - as I say, pretty ragged!) and how much better they taste being made of your own fresh ingredients in your own kitchen just before serving. Of course the adventure improves the appetite too.

I'll come back to this in future blogs (consider yourselves warned).

And now, continue to try to enjoy this new year of 2010. If you, like us, get off to a bit of a shaky start, remember there's the lunar new year (Year of the Tiger) coming up mid-February and we can all start fresh.

And as for me, I (like King Arthur and Macarthur) shall indeed return ;-)

P.S. The pic at the top of this blog? Oh, just an attention-getter and my belated New Year gift to you all. Cheeky aren't I?