Thursday, 30 December 2010

Squeezing in a last 2010 post

After a two week break, I'm popping by for a quick update before the new year. It takes up so much time digging yourself out every morning, and now trying to organise getting water supplies between home time and nine in the evening. My kitchen bench is covered in bottles of water filled when the tap comes on, and the bathroom floor is the same, containers for hand washing and teeth brushing, and another for toilet flushing. Phew!
I haven't got back into working out, the weather's been odd and I daren't risk getting all sweaty in case there's not enough water for a shower before I go to work. Instead I've just been enjoying the holiday season, although I haven't overindulged to my usual degree(!)

I was off work today (and half day tomorrow, woohoo) and had my follow up appointment with the dietitian. I told her I was really very pleasantly surprised with how much better I have been feeling, and she said my tum probably just needed a break, and she says it's time to very slowly reintroduce my old favourites like brown rice, apples with skins on. To celebrate, I bought plenty of salad leaves and some of my favourite apples. I spent aaaages picking apples today!! I settled on little Empires and some delicious Egremont Russets.

Anyway, bed calls as I have an early start tomorrow.
So I will leave with my new year's resolutions:

Get back into regular working out- 2 runs and 2 swims a week seems reasonable, at least to start with.

Feed the birds. I went out and bought lots of bird seed and fat balls, and replaced some broken feeders

Get back into the way of baking my own (sourdough) bread, now that I'm eating it again

Make a delicious cake once a month on the date we (my boyfriend and I) got together (19th). We're together two years now, so cake will keep things sweet:) We're going to Edinburgh for a couple of days at the end of January to celebrate.

Work on my impatience.

Paint my nails and have a nice bath more often.

Enter and complete some sort of race

Try to keep a lid on the clutter in my house...

Until next year:)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Low fibre update

Here are some of my dinners from the last two nights to show that lower fibre doesn't mean no veggies at all- I just make sure I have white rice or pasta with them. The first is vegetables in rice with a little creamed coconut cream grated in and some thai spice mix, parsley and lime juice. I topped it off with a nut cutlet.
The second is the scraping off the tin of my leftover tofu, kabocha and chestnut pie with some pasta and rocket.
At the moment I pretty much eat no fruit and veg until my evening meal. I am hoping to gradually add some more back, but when I first did the low fibre thing I wasn't even eating whole vegetables for dinner.
If you haven't tried cutting down on whole grains and vegetables to help your IBS, I would definitely recommend giving it a go. It has worked wonders for me, although I do miss eating lots of salads and brown rice:(

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Winter festivities

I'm not a big Christmassy person, it takes me quite a while to get into the 'spirit'. Yesterday, however, I had my boyfriend's brother and his wife around for dinner in the evening so that was the incentive to put the Christmas decorations up and that got me in the mood. What I like about the time of year is indulging in the year's harvest after sprucing up the house to bed in for the cold spell. I decided to get a real tree this year and some new decorations. With the decorations sorted, I got the dinner made. First I made some bread dough and mixed in some black olives after the first knocking back. I cooked the bread first on a hot dry skillet and then into the oven for 15 minutes or so to cook through. I served the bread with dukka and olive oil and vegan cream cheese with chives (the 'Sheese' brand).
I served the bread and dips with hot spiced cider and hot berry cordial for the driver. I added Steenberg's mulled wine spice and a little vanilla extract to the cider before heating.
For the main course, I had been waiting to try out this tofu pot pie. I changed it about a lot, making an ordinary shortcrust with some turmeric in (no sweet potato). I baked a homegrown kabocha (cut in half, seeds scooped out, baked cut side down for an hour), then peeled off the skin and chopped into chunks, I filled the bottom of the pie crust with the kabocha and sprinkled over the nutritional yeast.
In went the filling, which was:
1 red onion
1/2 cup edamame
2 blocks flavoured Taifun tofu, cubed (1 smoked, 1 basil)
1/2 pint soya cream
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons herbes de provence
1 small tin cooked chestnuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fry the onion in some oil, add in the tofu, edamame and chestnuts and heat though. Then stir through the paprika, nutritional yeast and herbs and lastly the soya cream. Let everything heat through and mingle for about 15 minutes, then let it cool off before piling on top of the kabocha and putting the top on the pie. I baked it for about an hour.

As the pie was quite substantial, I freshened it up with a festive salad- toasted pumpkin seeds and 100g pecans (dry fried and a little soy sauce at the end), the seeds of half a pomegranate, half a fennel bulb, very finely sliced, 2 grapefruits (supremed), lots of rocket and baby leaf spinach. I tossed the lot up with balsamic vinegarette.
Dessert was spiced pear and almond cake with a new blueberry ice-cream (Swedish Glace brand).
Cream 250g caster sugar and 250g vegan margarine.
Beat in 3 teaspoons of egg replacer, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or other mixed spice, 200g self-raising flour, 100g ground almonds. Use some non dairy milk to loosen the batter up a bit (I needed about 1/3-1/2 cup).
Line the tin and fill with preserved pear halves, or home poached pears if you're a domestic goddess. Pour over the cake batter, sprinkle with a little demerara (sucanat) and bake for an hour. I mad the cake by topping the batter with the cake, which made it sink a bit.
Try adding the pear first and then the batter, it should stop a sinky cake. It tasted great anyway, adding ground almonds in place of some of the flour makes a cake really luxurious:)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Homegrown kabocha recipe- lazy pumpkin laksa

After two months of curing, my homegrown kabochas are ready to eat. I decided the first way to eat it would be a good old fashioned roasting.
I cut it into big slices, which was not all that easy! Even with a very sharp knife it took some huffing and puffing.

I roasted the kabocha naked for about 50 minutes and served it with these delicious King Soba noodles.

That's dessert in the background (apple and blackberry strudel made with cheaty frozen pastry)

Instead of cooking the noodles just in water, I boiled up a tin of coconut milk with two teaspoons of Steenbergs laksa mix and some boiling water (maybe a cup). The noodles take about 5 minutes, and I added a little sea salt at the end. It was pretty much a cheat version of laksa, and since it's such a cold night (lots more snow meaning I had to stay late in work to let the traffic clear), some chilli heat was very welcome.

Yum. Then I went all crazy and mushed it all up. The kabocha was kind of crumbly!? Probably because I roasted an already dense vegetable with no oil.
I thought it was delicious though, it tasted very like roasted chestnuts, sweet and kind of like waxy potatoes. I have loads left over, I'm thinking it would make a good lunch tomorrow, maybe with mango chutney in a sandwich (or even brekkie with some vanilla soy yogurt).

Despite the snow, I took part in a 4 mile fun run on sunday with my brother. Unfortunately I have no pics:( My little bro found it really tough, and while I felt ok during the run (felt really unfit at the start mind you), I didn't feel it until later that evening, my right hip was really stiff and sore all day today and I was really wheazy on sunday (I have asthma but never bother to get my prescription). It maybe wasn't such a good idea to do something like that after not running for two months! I'm not that bothered, fitness just isn't a big priority for me in the deep winter. I used to get annoyed about it, but now I just embrace the season; I stay inside more, I eat more heartily. If I put a pound or two on, that's a good thing (although any more than that and it requires a little effort, read, dieting, to shift). I'm always freezing so a little extra insulation is welcome. Once the spring comes round it always drops off and I regain my fitness. It does mean I never get really great at running because I return to a fairly basic fitness. However, it's just not worth the achey lungs in the cold air, and I hate exercising inside, unless it's swimming. I have been going to the pool every once in a while, but most evenings after work, once I get into the house I just don't want to go back outside!

How do you feel about exercising through the winter, is a year round exercise regime of a fairly constant intensity important to you? Or do you struggle to crawl out from under the duvet when the days shorten?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Snow Food

Almost two weeks since my last post and still I haven't been cooking a lot. I'm quite busy these days and when I get home it's about making something quick.
Typical lazy evening meal:

Baked mushrooms (chuck them in an oven tray and pour over olive oil, a little salt, herbes de provence and chopped garlic), toast and lemony hummus. The plate is an oily mess because I chopped the mushrooms up on it. I'm not a huge mushrooms fan, but my boyfriend is and they were on offer. I actually thought they were really nice this way. I was still hungry after that though, and had some cereal and soya yogurt a while later.

Yesterday I had a half day in work and met my brother for lunch at the Christmas market in front of the city hall. He had paella and a burger, I got a spinach pastry thing from a Greek vegetarian food stall that helpfully listed all their ingredients. I also got dolmades, but I took them home. We warmed up with Glühwein as it was snowing, and then we got fed up standing in the cold and went for tea at a nearby bookshop. Anyway, I got home a lot earlier than usual so I decided to do a slow soup. I chucked a pile of chopped roots (turnip/rutabaga, new potatoes, carrots) with onion and a leek in my big cast iron pot with some olive oil, and then after a while some lovely wintery herbes de provence, veggie stock and pudding rice(!). Near the end I stirred in some tomato passata and some sea salt. It was delicious served with just out of the oven roasted chestnuts.
Just the right meal to warm up snow frozen toes!

That soup seemed to agree with me just fine, but about 2 weeks ago I had a pureed root veg soup and my tummy was upset for days. What I'm finding is that if stick with low fibre foods, my IBS is non-existent. I've only been doing this for a month, and I've been so much better except for a risotto full of broad beans and a root veg soup. I can't believe I have gone through a whole month without brown rice. I'm going to have some for Christmas dinner though. That's how weird it's become, that healthy stuff is now my naughty treat. It does seem to be that my guts are very sensitive to significant amounts of fibre, so I'm going to keep with a low fibre diet. When I do eat something high fibre, I'm going to make sure not to combine it with another high fibre foodstuff. I think I might need to try and sneak more vegetables into my diet again to make sure I'm getting enough vitamins. Protein and fat aren't a problem, I eat either tofu or soya yogurt every day and use olive oil in my cooking. And getting enough carbs is never a problem on a vegan diet...!