Tag Archives: food

Vegetarian chili (adapted recipe)

It’s been a while since I posted a recipe, so I thought I would share this recipe that I have done a couple of times now. It was originally a recipe for “authentic chili”, although I’d argue that it’s probably still quite westernised. My version of the recipe came to divert quite a bit from the original anyway, for the simple reason that 1) I wanted it to be vegetarian. 2) The original required ingredients I simply did not have. It was a bit of a gamble but it turned out really yummy! I imagine it’s not that difficult to make this vegan if you’re so inclined. You’d have to switch the quorn for soy mince though.

Ingredients

300g Quorn mince

1 Tin of kidney beans (~400g)

2 Big red onions

7-10 Garlic cloves

2 Big carrots

3 Big bell peppers (assorted colours)

2 chilis

2 tsps of chipotle

1 tbsp of oregano

2 bay leaves

1-2 tbsps of garam masala

2 tbsps of ginger

1 tbsp of syrup or honey

800g crushed tomatoes

1 dl red wine vinegar

2½ dl vegetable stock

5 dl pale ale

Instructions

1. Heat a big pot with oil on the middle setting.

2. Cut the onions, garlic, carrot, chili and garlic finely and let them sizzle in the pot until they soften and have a nice colour.

3. Add the Quorn mince and the beans and fry for a few minutes.

4. Add the crushed tomatoes, beer, vinegar and vegetable stock. Stir.

5. Add the honey/syrup, oregano, garam masala, bay leaves and chipotle.

6. Let the stew simmer for an hour. Cut the bell peppers into medium-sized squares in the meanwhile.

7. Add the bell pepper to the stew. Allow the stew to simmer for a minimum of two hours. Enjoy!

I serve this with rice, but I imagine it would taste nice with corn bread or nacho chips as well. I’m a bit of a wuss so I eat the chili with some creme fraiché or yoghurt, even if it might be frowned upon by hardcore chili-lovers.

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Leaving London

Yup, tomorrow I’m leaving London “for good”, or at least the foreseeable future. I got two bags alá 20 kg ready to go.

I’m in general not a sentimental person. Terrified of change, yes, but not particularly sentimental. I won’t miss the flat we live in; it’s tiny and has an odd shape. I won’t miss the car alarm that goes off roughly 3-5 times a day, 24/7, outside our window. I won’t miss the pimps and their customers, or whatever they are, scaring the SHIT out of me by ringing our door bell everywhere between 8 pm – 4 am. Apparently there’s a travelling brothel in the neighbourhood, which is not quite like a travelling circus. If I had to stay here any longer I’d do a Sebastian Horsley and put up this sign:

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I will miss the copious amounts of ready-food, cheap and easily available just outside our door. We had Indian take-out from Sangri yesterday, which was fucking glorious, and we might go across the road tonight and get fancy ice-cream. The reason is that we have a jar of coins that we’ve been meaning to spend for ages and now that I’m leaving we need to get on it. Here’s some food porn for you from yesterday:

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The wine is called the Hedonist. We bought it because it had a pig on it and we had already tried the one with the cat on it.

 

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We were supposed to go to the recording of The Last Leg yesterday, but bailed out a few hours before it was supposed to take place because we were tired and both of us realized that The Last Leg isn’t that good any more. They’re too obsessed with twitter and there’s just something off about the jokes and the interaction. The cute one from the IT Crowd was supposed to be on, but it just didn’t seem worth leaving our cosy home to go out and see it.

Instead we stayed in, which turned out to be a good idea as I was super tired and fell asleep on the sofa 8 pm and didn’t wake up until my boyfriend put a toothbrush in my hand and told me to go to bed. Apparently I screamed “YOU SHOULD DRINK MY TEA OR IT WILL GO COLD” at him and then went to the bathroom. We have a tradition of always taking a photo or making a video when the other person falls asleep ridiculously early, so here’s a video of me brushing my teeth in my sleep.

So today started at 7am with half a cooked breakfast. It’s been great weather today, it was almost warm enough to walk outside without a jacket or a sweater on. We had a look around Spitsfield Market, where I found a use for the otherwise pointless habit that my boyfriend has of randomly walking off. Whenever I was bothered by a salesman and wanted to leave, I just said “oh! Where has he gone off to? Sorry, I just have to find my boyfriend, I’ll see you later”. I’ve been informed that I’m a horrible liar, but I digress.

After Spitsfield, we went around Oxford Circus. It’s was packed! So many people about today. I ended up buying something from a fancier store (it’s a gift so I won’t reveal what or where) and got one of those really nice big paper shopping bags with velvet straps like you see in Sex and The City. Nice shopping bags make me happy. I tried to google which stores have the nicest shopping bags but it seems like that’s a list that hasn’t yet been made, which is unfortunate because I’d make sure to go shopping there.

On the way back we went past Scandinavian Kitchen and picked up my favourite crisps and chocolate, so the evening has been spent consuming far too many calories with no regrets. Yummmm, transfats and salt. Hopefully I burn enough calories at work to make up for it.

Happy weekend everyone!

Manic London

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I have never…

* Bought my own socks (until last week). They just mysteriously show up in my drawer or are gifted to me. I’m starting to think that all the socks that other people lose in their laundry have found a black hole that teleports them to my drawer.

* Visited a grave on my own. I’m not religious and I don’t believe in an afterlife, or that visiting a grave is the only way to honour someone’s memory, so it never occurred to me. I’ve been thinking about doing it recently.

* Understood avocados properly.

* Bought Converse-styled shoes. I hate them, they’re ugly and uncomfortable.

* Owned a video game console or a video game. I’ve only played video games a few times, and that was only with other people.

* Bought my own holiday decorations. Not a single tinsel or ornament. I’m not really interested in decorating for Easter or Christmas, but I will do it for the sake of others.

* Been to a wedding.

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Cooking

I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking and finding new recipes. It is something that runs in my family. My mum grew up with fancy Italian and Croatian food, since her dad was Italian-Croatian. While she might not make the healthiest of food, it’s no doubt delicious. If I had to pick one thing that symbolizes her cooking it would be a sauce recipe she gave. I had searched for sauce recipes online but the amounts of milk, stock and cream varied a lot. I knew her version of the sauce was really nice so I called her and asked what she used and wrote down the ingredients. As I started cooking, I realized what her secret ingredient was, or to be more precise, the lack of ingredients. Where the other recipes included mostly milk and stock with a portion of cream, the recipe mum gave me stood out because it ONLY used cream mixed with a little bit of stock powder.  So, yeah,- not so healthy but I can’t argue that it tasted delicious.

My dad didn’t cook that much until about ~13-14 years ago, probably because mum had been a stay-at-home mum most of the time. The only think I can remember him cooking when I was a kid was pancakes, which to be honest were and still are much better than the pancakes I make. After mum became ill and the following divorce I guess he was forced to start cooking and just found that he enjoyed it. Nowadays he gets together with equally old friends and cook fancy dinners with a lot of wine and fancy ingredients like Kobe meat. Once he accidentally ordered half a kilo of Russian caviar and didn’t have any recollection of it. I think he has too much money sometimes.

As for me, cooking is something I’ve always been interested in but haven’t always been able to do. There’s the financial aspect: buying all the ingredients can be expensive, especially when you’ve recently moved out of home and don’t have all those 50 types of spices and vinegar and whatnot that you acquire over the years. It’s also not that motivating when you live alone and don’t have anyone to share the food with, which is very important to me. I recently moved in with my boyfriend, who happens to be very in to cooking himself, so these days I get a chance to practice cooking new things much more often than before. I often give him grief because he experiments too much with his recipes by adding odd ingredients or doing something so differently that he ends up ruining the food, but when I take a close look at myself I realize that I do pretty much the same thing. OK, I like to think I’m a bit more careful, but I definitely see the appeal of taking a recipe and “making it your own” by adding a new flavor to it.

I don’t think I’m very good at cooking, I just enjoy doing it and I like to try new recipes. When it comes down to it, I imagine learning how to cook is often a trial-by-error thing anyway. Since I became a vegetarian some four years ago, I’ve had to come up with my own ideas when trying to make a vegetarian replica of a non-vegetarian recipe. In many cases there’s already great recipes out there, but sometimes there isn’t, so you have to use your own judgment and then a new recipe is born. Voilá!

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My suggestion for the next diet fad

Atkinson was replaced by GI, GI was replaced by 5:2 or primal or whichever diet fad is winning. I “developed” my own diet, or maybe my diet was forced upon me by fate, poor motor skills and general body failure. My diet includes three easy steps for anyone willing to try.

1. Put as much food as you want on your plate, but make sure to drop half of the content on yourself, the table or the floor while attempting to eat it.

2. Buy a slice of cake. Get an allergic reaction halfway through and donate the remaining half to the person next to you because your mouth is swelling up.

3. Eat a delicious dinner at a restaurant. Get a massive acid reflux attack at 3 am in the morning and throw everything up.

In memory of this cake that I tried to eat.

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Bell peppers stuffed with feta, mushrooms and chickpeas

Here’s the recipe that I was meaning to post:

Ingredients:

3 Big bell peppers (any color)

1 white onion

1 egg

2 cloves of garlic

350g mushrooms

200g Feta cheese

One tin (400g) of chick peas

100g grated cheddar

Rice

Instructions:

Chop the onion and the mushrooms finely and fry until they have a nice color and the liquid has been reduced. Put the mix aside to cool off. Chop the feta into pieces and put it into a bowl, then add the chickpeas and crush everything into a mash. Add an egg and work in the onion/mushroom mix. Split the peppers in two, remove the pit and put them in the oven on a foiled baking sheet for roughly 20 minutes at 225*c. When the peppers have 5 minutes left to cook, sprinkle the grated cheese on top and let the peppers stand until the cheese has melted. Serve with rice!

If you really like bell peppers, use 6 bell peppers instead of one and gut them without splitting them in two and fill it with stuffing. They’re a bit harder to cook this way since they tend to fall over, but you can create some support for them by scrunching together the tin foil in a circle around them. Nom! Enjoy.

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A day of gluttony and calorie counting

Today I proved to myself once and for all that a very hungry small-to-average sized woman CAN eat an entire footlong from Subways. Whether she should is an entirely different matter all together though.

I have been out walking in the city today. I had to wait a little over 30 minutes for my train back, so I ordered a cappuccino in a coffee shop and sat down there and waited. Over 1 hour later and I’m home, on my couch, finishing said cappuccino. What’s up with making cappuccinos so hot that you have to wait 20 minutes before you can sip it without burning your mouth? Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you should. Or maybe I’m weird and everyone else just like their coffee that hot?

I’ve started using this calorie counting app called “FatSecret”. It’s good in the sense that it knows just how much calories a Subway Veggie Patty Footlong is (too many) and it’s pretty easy to use. It’s bad in the sense that on an average day I cook my own food using quite a lot of different ingredients, which makes registering that meal difficult. For example, yesterday for lunch I had pasta with a pasta sauce made from crushed tomatoes, red onion, garlic and cooked lentils. I also had a little bit of ketchup and cheese on top. That’s 7 ingredients that I need to find on the app one by one and estimate how much of them I ate. There is an option to “create new meal “, which means I can type “Pasta with sauce” and then enter how many calories it contains. The downside is that I can’t do this without entering the amount of proteins and fat it contains as well. I usually know which foods contain a relatively high amount of protein, but it’s difficult to specify it down to the gram like the app wants you to do. It’s also a bit confusing on how much calories you should eat per day. I have my account set on “weight loss” which means that I should burn more than I eat. The app will tell you how many calories you have eaten and how many you have left on your Recommended Daily Intake.  I *think* this is adjusted after whether you have chosen the setting “slow weight loss”, “weigh loss” or “weight gain” etc. It is however not clear, so I’m currently trying to eat less than 100 % of my calculated RDI (she says after eating a fucking footlong, lol) in case the RDI is what I should eat to remain at my current weight. It doesn’t seem to change depending on how much I exercise either.

To summarize, FatSecret is probably a good app if you don’t cook much for yourself. Correct me if I’m wrong though, because I’ve only been using the app for a few days!

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Delicious courgette and tomato stew – edited recipe

This is a recipe that I have adapted from a recipe that I found in a book. The original recipe was good, with the exception that it didn’t have nearly enough liquid in it. I’ve done it a few times and I tried it last night with my new adapted recipe, and it tasted great! I very much recommend this recipe.

Steaming courgette and tomato stew

Ingredients:

½-1 dl olive oil

2 courgettes

3 cloves of garlic

2 big red onions

2 bell peppers

5 potatoes

1kg tomatoes

800g crushed tomatoes

500 – 1000ml water.

2 tbsp chopped dill

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 tsp thyme

Black pepper

Salt

Instructions:

Chop up the courgettes and potatoes into 1cm thick slices, cut the tomatoes into quarter pieces and the bell peppers into squares. Put a little oil in a big casserole and put on medium-heat on the stove. Slice the onions and fry them for roughly 10 minutes in the casserole while stirring continuously. Add the garlic (sliced or crushed) and fry for another minute. Put the rest of the vegetables and the olive oil with the onion in the casserole and sprinkle with salt and black pepper (after your own preference). Pour in the water (saves time if it’s boiled in a kettle in advance) and the crushed tomatoes. Add the dill and thyme. Bring it to boil and let it simmer for 2 hours, or until the slices of potatoes have become soft. Stir every 20-30 minutes. Serve with a little bread. Enjoy!

 

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Grumpy Swede at IKEA

Today was spent shopping at IKEA and enjoying a lunch consisting of disappointing mashed potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam that cost £0.5. It’s not quite the same without the meatballs, I guess the meal is more exciting for meateaters.  Bought some stuff, like a clock that we will have to return because it doesn’t appear to be working. At least I got a jar of lingonberry jam (I can spot two or three lingonberries floating around in that red sugar jelly so I guess it counts as jam). I know some Swedes living abroad go to IKEA to feel at home, but it just reminds me that I’m away to be honest. Small stuff as a misspelled sign in Swedish, the traditional gravy not being quite right and the lingonberry being served in a pump. 

I don’t miss Sweden that much yet, but I wish I was able to find the following items here: Big packages of low-fat strawberry yoghurt (1 litre or more), my favorite ramen noodles, prescription-free 20mg Omeprezol, Marabou chocolate and fresh/wet yeast.

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