Report 3 – A little Chinesey (Spring rolls and Garlic cucumber)

It’s Chinese night in the House of Kiki. Had a go at spring rolls for the first time ever. Turned out ok actually.

Here’s how I did it.

Spring Rolls

Splash of Oil

1 Carrot

5-6 Spring onions

6 Shitake mushrooms

1 tsp Cornflour

2 tsp Cold water

1 tsp Light soy sauce

1/4 tsp Sugar

pinch of Salt

1/3 of a bottle of Corn oil

1 pack Blue Dragon Vietnamese Spring Roll Wrappers

Slice the carrot, spring onion and mushrooms into really thin, short strips.

Mix the cornflour with the cold water in a bowl, then add the soy sauce, salt and sugar. Set aside for now.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the carrots, mushrooms and spring onion until soft. Add the seasoning mixture from the bowl, heat for about 30 secs, then place on a plate in the fridge to cool completely.

Wash the wok, then fill with about an inch of oil and heat until hot enough to shallow fry (ie: quite hot). Meanwhile, prepare wrappers as per instructions – place in hot water for 15-20 secs until soft, pat dry until sticky – then fill with cooled filling and roll up. Place on plate ready for frying. NB: Be sure to get rid of large air pockets, otherwise they’ll balloon up when you put them in the oil. Trust me, I know!

When oil is up to heat stick in the spring rolls for a few minutes, turning occasionally (if you can, mine kept turning back over again) until cooked. Should only take 2-3 minutes ’til they’re done.

Serve with sweet chilli dipping sauce.

Garlic Cucumber

1 Cucumber, chopped

4-5 Cloves of Garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tbsp Rice vinegar

1 tsp Sugar

Slice the cucumber lengthways, into 4 long sections, then cut out the seedy bit in the middle. Chop roughly into bit sized chunks.

Mix the other ingredients in a large bowl, then add the cucumber.

Mix, the refrigerate for a few hours – overnight if possible – until needed.

The spring rolls were easier than I expected them to be. Ok, so I had a few ‘blow outs’ (air pockets), and they stuck together when I tossed them in the oil – plus, I ended up with a wok full of used, slightly dirty, oil which I just had to decant back into it’s bottle (when cold of course) for future stir-fry use – but all things considered they were damn tasty and well worth the effort.

The garlic cucumber is something I came across in Hong Kong, and boy is it tasty! We don’t have a tradition of cold starters in the west, but let me tell you, we are missing out. Give this one a go and you won’t regret it. You can’t have too much garlic, and it benefits form a good stir now and then.

Other than that, here’s how this week has gone.

Recipes done: Spring rolls and Garlic cucumber

Writing done: None; again! I know, it’s rubbish, but I refuse to give up. One of these days my shaming myself online will result in some work. The more rubbish films I see – Avatar, Surrogates and Gamer, to name the most recent – the more I know that what I’ve got is needed and will get made; I just need to commit it to paper.

New thing done: Become a youTube star!!! Ok, not really, but I have gone online being interviewed about being a vegan (see previous post). It’s already illicited the odd comment but I won’t be replying. I’m not into having a big ol’ phisolophical (yes I know it’s spelt wrong) debate on the rights and wrongs of this, that and the other. It’s very much my thing that I don’t tell people what to do and I expect them not to tell me what to do. People get themselves all tied up in knots because they think they know what other people should do with their lives. All I know is that I know nothing, and until I do I’m dealing with my own karma and nothing else. The rest is somebody else’s problem (if they want it that is).

Ciao for now my little neolites. TTFN.

What the vegan?

Check this out. It’s a new old thing I did for some friends a while ago. Basically just me talking about being vegan and what it’s like.

It’s really weird seeing yourself on telly, and hearing yourself too. I sound like my twin brother, and I look odd (or I do to me anyway). Mind you, that’s to be expected. We generally only see ourselves in reverse (when we look in the mirror) and we can only hear ourselves in our own heads, which reverberate the sound and distort it. I just wish I wasn’t so wobbly (you’ll see what I mean).

For those who are interested there’s more on the Conscious Awakening website (still under construction).

Report 2 – Short but sweet (pilau rice and potato subji)

Not a lot to cover this week. Been one of my busy weeks in work – on shift 5 days out of 7, out the house from 10am to 9:30pm – so hasn’t been a lot going on. Managed to do some cooking though, which is pretty good, but no script writing, which is piss poor.

As you can probably tell by now, the script writing thing is a bit of a dream that I am somewhat unmotivated to follow. But! and it’s an important but, I can’t let it go. I have the ideas, I see the ideas, I work out the ideas. It’s something that interests me, and something that I enjoy doing. The boring part is sitting down and writing the bloody things. Unfortunately that’s the nuts and bolts of the whole process. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. And I lack the discipline to pursue it. However, I’m hoping that by not letting it go, by constantly bringing it up in this blog, that I’ll eventually shame myself into actually doing something. I hope so anyway, coz it’s got to beat all this perpetual vacillating I keep doing.

As for the food, check this out:

Pilau rice

Olive oil, splash of (for frying)

2 Cardamom pods, crushed

3/4 tsp Cumin Seeds

1 tsp Coriander, chopped

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Bay leaf

1/2 cup Basmati rice

1 1/4 cups boiling water

Fry the crushed cardamom pods, cumin seeds, chopped coriander and turmeric in a saucepan for a minute or so. Add the rice and mix until all grains are covered with spices. Add the boiling water, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, then simmer until all the water has gone. Remove bay leaf, cinnamon stick and big bits of cardamon pods, then let it rest in pan off heat for a minute or so before serving. Can also add some fried mushrooms at the beginning (before spices) if you like it that way.

Potato subji

2-3 Potatoes

2 tbsp Oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Turmeric

a pinch of Cayenne

2 tbsp Coriander, chopped

1/2 tsp Salt

Dice the potatoes and par boil them in a saucepan for about 8-10 minutes.

Heat a frying pan on medium heat then add the mustard and cumin seeds to hot oil and fry until they start to pop (have a big pan lid handy to stop them going all over the place). Add the turmeric, coriander and cayenne. Mix, then add the drained potatoes and salt. Stir together until all the potatoes are covered in the spicy oil, then cook for a few more minutes until done.

The potatoes are an excellent side to go with any curry meal, and the rice is a great bed for whatever you’re making. I’ve put a bit more water in this recipe than I normally would for cooking basmati as the usual 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of rice ratio came out a bit nutty. Could be something to do with coating the rice in oil first. Experiment and see what happens in your kitchen. I will get around to doing curry sauces soon. For the moment I just had to go with something simple.

So, in final summation

Recipes done:  Pilau rice and Potato subji

Writing done:  Nothing, again!, but this is the last time, I swear.

New thing done:  Bought myself a proper chef’s knife. Now this might not sound like much, but first of all let me tell you that this thing is gorgeous! It’s one of those posh Sabatier blades, should last me about 10 years, and cost over £50, which for someone as ‘frugal’ as I am is a significant step. The purpose however is the most important thing. I’m going to teach myself how to do that cool, whizzy, choppy thing the proper chefs do when they’re chopping onions and that. You know the one I mean. I know it’s a but showy offy but I don’t care, I think it’s very impressive and I want to know how to do it!


Report 1 – 2010: A Space Oddity

Well, my illustrious start was cut short rather rapidly by a very nasty case of the flu (and proper flu, not man-flu, I looked it up). I have been laid up since Monday (the 4th) all sick and achey and feeling like crap, and haven’t done a thing except basic life maintenance, like dashing through the snow for fresh stocks of honey, lemon and ginger, all week. Thank God I got my bit of cooking out the way early!

But it means I haven’t been able to do anything else. No writing, no meditating, no nothing; just cough, sweat, and feel sorry for myself. And what really gets my goat is I was doing so well too! I was going to make this the year I meditated every day. Now I can’t sit for 2 minutes without coughing. But! it is an excellent opportunity to practice my non-attachment (non-attachment to the idea of meditating) so it’s not a complete loss. Never miss a chance to practice eh?

So, to sum up…

Recipes done: Pizza dough and Basic Tomato Sauce

New Thing done: Catch the flu and get sick as a dog

Pages done: None (I’ll have to try and rectify this a bit next week).

Not a complete bust, just not the start to the year I was looking for. Let’s see how next week goes. TTFN.

Start as you mean to go on (pizza base and sauce recipe)

Well my little neolites, 2010 has started off well. Only 2 days in and I’ve managed to meditate every day this year (haha), plus I’ve finally had a random book recommendation, sparked amusingly enough by my reading Tess Of The D’Urbervilles. It’s Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World, and it’s sitting in my pile of ‘stuff to read’ as we speak. Once I’ve finished reading Tess it’ll be next.

I’ve also done my two vegan recipes for the week. Check this out:

After all the roast dinners I thought it’d be nice to take a break, so I made pizza! Here’s the recipes to make your own.

The Base

1 tsp of Dried Active Yeast

1 tsp of Sugar

1/4 pint of Warm Water

150-200g Wholemeal Flour

Dissolve the sugar in the water, then add the yeast. Whisk until fully dissolved. Cover with cling film and leave somewhere warm for 10-15 minutes until it goes a bit frothy.

Whisk again, then add flour. Mix thoroughly adding more flour if needed until a good doughy consistency is found. Cover again and leave somewhere warm for 20-30 minutes.

(use this time to prepare your tomato sauce)

The dough should have increased in size by now. Punch it down and knead again for a minute or two, then cover and place back in your warm spot. Give it another 10-15 minutes.

(use this time to chop your veggies and grate your cheese)

The dough should be ready now. Press out into a flat round on a greased baking tray, cover with tomato sauce, veggies and cheese,  and stick it in a pre-warmed oven at 190 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until ready. Eat and enjoy.

The Sauce

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp of Tomato Puree

1/2 tsp of Dried Oregano

Lightly fry the crushed garlic in a saucepan on medium heat with a little olive oil. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato puree, oregano, and some salt and pepper, and cook until it’s all gone quite mushy. Then either blend it to get it nice and smooth, or just use as is (ie: a little lumpy) like I did.

Not two very complicated recipes, but if you fancy pizza they’re what you need. Coming soon will be my nut roast recipe, which I’ve pretty much perfected over Christmas, a recipe for pilau rice, and possibly a one for naan bread if I can get it to work. Stay tuned.

Ciao ‘migos. Catch you next time.