the hard stuff

16 Apr

Today has been a particularly humpy Humpday, with a very early morning doctor’s appointment (bruises are almost all gone now!) followed by multiple customers taking their frustrations out on me all day long (it really isn’t my fault that they can’t type passwords into their computers properly), so it was nice to come home and relax to an episode or two of Breaking Bad – yes, we have finally finished watching Oz and have moved on to new pastures! My sister is coming over for dinner tonight, rather than her usual Thursday trip, as I’m unexpectedly busy tomorrow. Being so busy at work meant I didn’t have the brain-space to think about what to make for dinner, so I checked Lizzie’s Last Meal request list* for inspiration and decided enchiladas were the way forward. Just as soon as I reached a conclusion, I remembered about the gnocchi in the cupboard…

When Lizzie and I first moved into our current abode, we picked up a packet of gnocchi. It has been there ever since. A 500g packet of gnocchi is about twice as much food as we can eat together, so we needed a third person to help pick up the food-slack. And ever since I tried making gnocchi from scratch a couple of years ago, I’ve been a little leery of it in general (I honestly don’t remember cooking a more hateful meal in my life, even if everyone else thought it was tasty I’m never, ever doing it again! Actually this curry came close in terms of making me loathe cooking.) So I presented Lizzie with a choice: broccoli and pepper enchiladas or a spicy tomato gnocchi bake. She chose the latter.

P1030432*It’s a long story, best saved for another post!

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Back on the wagon

3 Apr

So earlier in the week, it was April 1st – to most people, this would mean nothing more than harmless pranks and silly news stories. To me, it was time for my Quarterly Review of New Year’s Resolutions. One of the resolutions (full list below the cut) was to post at least once a week on this blog, which I most certainly have not been doing. Bad Jenny, must try harder. (I heard this a surprising amount at school, given that I was a smartass goodie-two-shoes who rarely stepped over the line!) So tonight, with my sister coming over for her usual Thursday feeding, seemed like the perfect time to start again. The only problem is that I’ve spent the past week in pretty much constant pain, with a little bit of heartbreak thrown in for good measure, so I wasn’t exactly feeling inspired to cook. In all honesty, I didn’t want to do much more than lie in bed listening to sorrowful music and wallowing in self-pity for a week or two. The thing is, I’m not really a wallowing kinda person and I have too much to do in my sparse free time – write! sing! dance! – to spend it staring at the ceiling and waiting for something that’ll cheer me up to appear. So I got out of bed, put real people clothes on, took more painkillers and stared forlornly at the pantry in the hope that inspiration would strike.

It didn’t.

So I went for option 2 (it’s always best to have a backup or three – which reminds me, I need to back up my laptop *scurries off to find hard-drive*) – Evernote. I follow a bajillion recipe blogs and any time I find something that catches my interest, I clip it into there so I can access it from anywhere, whether it be my phone, laptop, iPad or work computer (that said, I’ve recently updated all my passwords to supersecure ones, which means I don’t know my login details for anything and can’t access my accounts from work – not the best thought out plan I’ve had!). Anyway, I love it and if you’re anything like me, finding things to read with no time to do so, it’s massively useful.

There was a recipe I’d bookmarked from Green Kitchen Stories, largely because the picture was too pretty for words, but it seemed to fit my mood just right: Haitian Corn & Sweet Potato Soup. We had most of the ingredients and I knew I could substitute the ones I was missing (real people clothes or not, I wasn’t intending to leave the house) so without further ado, have a photo. Mine isn’t as gorgeous as the original, but then I’m not a professional photographer and the scant natural light available in the evenings in the UK is currently being obscured by Saharan Desert Dust.


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le sigh

30 Mar

Well, it has been ages since I posted anything – I cannot begin to explain how crazybusy my life has been lately! – and today I have my first downtime in over a month. I was fully intending to write a nice, long, involved post with a recap of the kitchen saga, a couple of recipes and an update on how the new year’s resolutions are going.

Sadly, that won’t be happening as I am typing this one-handed and it’s too much effort to say much more than ow! I fell off my bike on Thursday night and am now sporting a wrist brace on my right hand, having likely fractured a bone there (it’s too small to show up on an x-ray), along with a supersized bruise on my knee, ouchy ribs and a black eye. I can barely use a computer, let alone cook! In fact, the number of things I can’t do one-handed is depressingly long.

So I’ll just post a few pictures with tantalising hints at the backstory for each, along with a promise that I’ll try to update a bit more frequently once I’m healed and my life has become a little less hectic (enforced rest to heal doesn’t count, in my book!). Continue reading

Keep holding on

25 Jan

It has been three days since my home was invaded by Czech kitchen fitters – three long days since I had access to food that isn’t crackers and sriacha sauce, since my floors were clean and not tracked with mud, since my cat was able to move freely around the house, since I could relax to silence rather than the sound of endless hammering…. Three days since I cooked anything more complicated than cuppasoup! It’s going to be worth it once everything is done, I am truly grateful to my landlord (who is not having a very easy time of things himself!), but as I type this from the relative sanctuary of my bedroom, I am developing quite the thumping headache and wishing I just had my kitchen back in any usable state at all. So I am bringing you a recipe from my archives of ‘stuff I cooked and never got around to typing up’, a lemony-spinachy-risottoey thing I made while also trying to write for NaNoWriMo in November:

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11 Jan

It’s 11th January and I appear to have already spent all of this month’s food budget on brandy and Baileys Chocolate Selections. Oopsie? In retrospect, it may not have been the best idea to put me in charge of money just because I do a lot of the cooking…

Anyways, today I decided to cook up a feast of storecupboard  goodies, so that we had plenty of food in the freezer ready to eat and without spending any money at all. I made jennyballs, a puy lentil salad (to use for lunches for the rest of the week) and a red lentil ragu:

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Autumn pancakes

2 Jan

Recently, I stumbled across this recipe for chickpea flour pancakes. I had bought a 2kg bag of chickpea, or gram flour with the idea in my head that I had seen loads of recipes containing it but simply not had it to hand to be able to cook them. Obviously, since buying it, I have not seen a single recipe containing gram flour – until now!

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A list of things I probably won’t do this year

1 Jan

Happy new year! How are you feeling? Head ok? Stomach in place? Memories of last night intact?

My new year was a lot quieter than last year’s, as I decided against going to a party or the pub, so had a nice night in with Lizzie (and a bottle of vodka, but the less said about that the better). Continue reading


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