I collect liquid containers. Mostly for water; I have a Platypus, a wide mouth Nalgene, a Sigg bottle, a big green bottle with a flip up bite valve (can't remember the brand), a little sports cap bottle with a beagle on it and a Guinness glass on my desk at work. This is all in a bid to make sure I drink two litres of straight water a day. Now, I know there has been a backpedal on the whole 2 litres a day thing, but I need 2 litres, since my diet is pretty high in fibre and has got more so, and I definitely have the thirst for 2 litres. I find if I leave my desk and forget my bottle, I'm parched by the time I get back. Sometimes I don't drink all the water because I've had a couple of cups of herbal tea. Problem: I let the tea go cold, and it's not nice cold. Also drinking lots of cold water makes me feel cold, especially with the current dip in temperatures. So I need a way to keep my drinks warm in a decent cup. Hence my purchase in Avoca today. It's double-walled porcelain, holds 250ml and has a silicone lid with a drinking slit, so it doesn't stay hot as long as those portable coffee cups with the push down thing, but I have one of those and think it makes the drink taste nasty. This is just the right thing for sitting at my computer, not really for carrying on a journey though. In the spirit of all things new, I tried it out with some Whole Earth 'No Caf'- basically an organic barley and chicory based coffee sub, because I really need an alternative to the instant crap at work if I want to ditch caffeine for good. I drink it because I want something hot and bittersweet after my lunch. I needed something that was made up exactly the same way because it it was fussy I knew I wouldn't bother with it after a few days. The great thing is this drink doesn't interfere with mineral absorption like tea and coffee does, and I actually much prefer the taste to instant coffee. I had mine with some vanilla rice milk and a little agave nectar to sweeten. I'm really odd about the way things feel in my hand, especially pens and cups. This is gets my vote! I don't like handles on cups, I hold mine around the body normally. Probably why I get cold hands so easily, my hands are so used to hot things.
I took my usual trip to the Nutmeg (independent health food shop in Belfast), and as well as the No Caf, I got some rice malt syrup, buckwheat flour (for making Breton galettes...mmm), lazy Ezekiel bread mix from Dove's Farm and more rye flour as I'm hoping to make Dan Lepard's rye cider loaf and start up a rye sourdough again. I made it up when I got some so I wouldn't forget all about it (25g rye flour, 50g warm water in a warm place). I also got wheat berries to do pumperknickel once the starter is up and running. Dan Lepard is my all-time favourite source for any baking ideas, whether it's bread or something decidedly sweeter. His Guardian How to Bake column is wonderful. I have to say I have yet to read a recipe of his I didn't immediately put on my to-bake list. Today's marmalade Chelsea buns are now at the top- I'm always on the lookout for anything to put my gallons of pink grapefruit marmalade into. It's so delicious, but quite runny, so perfect for baking into things.
Next, I went to St George's market, mainly in the search for black kale or early purple sprouting broccoli, but kind of knew the cold frost in January would have affected them both. I didn't find chipotle either, I was looking some for boston beans. I did buy some new tea though, Suki Tea Japanese Cherry Sencha. I'm sipping some now in my mug, mmm! I must say I love green tea with something fruity sweet in it, like acai or raspberry, I grow rather tired of it alone or with jasmine. Suki sell gorgeous teas, and they're a Belfast company- hurrah!
The final trip was to the Asia Supermarket, in search of mugicha and cheap umeboshi, neither of which I found. I couldn't see any tempeh either. I did get green stemmed bok choi, kailan and sushi ginger, the Clearspring one is double the price for half the amount, I bet it's worth it, but I just want mine for onigiri or on rye bread with vegan cream cheese (looks like smoked salmon, but tastes completely different, more sea-like if you sprinkle with a little arame or hijiki). I had the bok choi for lunch dressed in hemp oil, ume vinegar and tamari toasted seeds. The dressing seemed to bring out the sweetness of the bulgar wheat beautifully. Saturday being a lazy day, I had some Goodlife nut cutlet. They're good, but I prefer the taste of Sainsbury's own nut cutlets. Probably because they're not as healthy-ha!