Tag Archive: food


Food as commune

Changing how and what I eat has brought into stark relief the social importance of eating together. The communal experience is really what eating together is about rather than anything else.

eating-together

image from http://clipart-library.com/circus-clown.html

In many religious groups and societal groups, people eat together, fast together, share food and drink from a single container, eat from communal plates, share the sensual experience of food. Eating together is one way in which we reaffirm social bonds.

So when one person in the group is not playing along the whole dynamic is disrupted.

I saw this last night when out with friends. These are friend with whom I eat often, with whom I discuss food at length. Some of the people in the group are real foodies – two are, in fact, chefs. Some of us are enthusiastic eaters and creative cooks. We had a platter of fried bits and pieces – fish fillets and prawns included. Three weeks ago I would have been all over those prawns but last night I really had no desire. I know they are delicious but I didn’t want one.

 

‘Cummon Kim, just one’

‘You know they are good’

‘Choochoo train’ while pretending to feed it to me like a child

‘Just the one, no one will know’

 

This was all light hearted and not real pressure but it was still there. The undertone was that I was not participating, not part of the shared experience. And that didn’t sit well with my friends who wanted me to be.

I ate some of the coriander garnish off the platter to be at least seen to be participating. (And I love coriander.)

 

Then we had wors rolls and our friend who is the chef at the place had gone and got me some Fry’s sausages. He had also not used butter or ghee to make the relish so I could happily have a roll with a sausage in it like everyone else.

And that meant I was again part of the shared experience.

I was teased a little at eating soy sausages but at least I was there, doing the same thing everyone else was with food that looked the same.

 

On the way home a friend asked me how long I planned to do this for, and why didn’t I just do it when not out and enjoy the food he knows I like when out.

I didn’t feel like this was pressure or anything negative but rather a call to return to the fold, to rejoin the shared experience.

We all eat out together a lot at an establishment said friend owns. Because we are friends with the chefs we get unique and delicious meals made for us. And by changing what I eat I am excluding myself from so many experiences in the future.

 

I’m okay with that because I have never felt better. But I am also a little saddened by it. These are my people, I am their people – and I have excluded myself from the group in such a fundamental way.

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Day 4 and I woke up headache free – but tired, just really really tired. It took most of the morning to stop feeling like I had just woken up and it was 4am. But I had no headache – so that was good.

Also, I don’t know what is going on in my digestive tract. It is like cement and super glue had a baby – and it is not pretty. I know, from last time I tried this, that it’s the milk in the morning coffee that makes my tummy say heelllloooooo, not the coffee. So I guess it is trying to work out what to do now it doesn’t have the dairy irritant. Pretty gross and less than comfortable, but it has to do what it has to do.

On the plus side, I did managed to be out twice in one day and not mess up. In the morning I was in a mall and had to wait for something so I went for a coffee. I have gone from rubbish coffee with sweetened creamer to straight up, proper quality, black coffee. And I didn’t even ‘accidentally’ eat the little biscuit, pretending I may be on the Titanic and it’s the last cup of coffee I might ever have. Those women who didn’t have dessert that last night haunt me, little petit fours floating around their watery faces.

And,

and this is big,

I went to our local pub last night and saw my mates. And drank water the whole night! Yep, I felt like one of those purse-lipped prim women of old, sipping on my water surrounded by heathen drinkers! It was fine actually, but wow, semi-drunk people get really boring, really fast. We talk such repetitive shit when drinking, don’t we?

The moral high ground is quite comfy, thank you very much 🙂

We had dinner there. The chef is a friend so he does what I need for my food. Chicken, calamari and veg – and no washing up. My best end to a meal that!

I am still astounded at the effect no sugar is having. I don’t have a headache, nothing sore enough to be worthy of a title, but I am muggy of head and thought. I was not/am not even a great obvious sugar eater. I don’t add it to anything and don’t eat loads of sugary stuff. But clearly I do. All that hidden sugar I didn’t even know was there. frightening.

And tired. Did I mention I was tired?

 

My meals:

dav

breakfast was a mushroom, tomato and pork shank frittata that wasn’t so keen to come out the pan

dav

lunch was a kale, tatsio and spinach salad topped with leftover prawns

Let’s hope the tired decreases and the brain clears soon

Day 2 was not fun but that’s not the eating challenge’s fault. No siree – its mine. Well, mine and the loads of strange men wandering around my property.

Let’s go back to the evening of Day 1. I had some shaved coconut in a jar I sat and nibbled on after dinner. I may have got carried away by the fact that my until very recently very sore tooth was managing to chew the coconut and I think I ate too much of it.

So Day 2 started okay but my belly got progressively more and more bloated and sore until I wasn’t sure if it was my intestines, my lower back, my uterus or my kidneys that were sore, because everything was.

Put that with the fact that we are having work done on the house, specifically the windows, so at any stage any number of men may be peering into a window. This situation does not make for comfortable toilet trips at all.

So it seems my excretion system has shut up shop with severe stage fright.

A winning combination that ended with a rather uncomfortable midriff.

Aside for the self inflicted agony, the day was a good one. I went out before eating breakfast – rookie error – so got home at 10am hangry as hell. But I didn’t cheat and scoff down something quick and carby. Nope, I bothered to make a proper breakfast – broken fried eggs and all.

I had to modify dinner when I realised I hadn’t thought the beef livers I bought through well enough. No milk allowed and no bacon at the moment until I find one that doesn’t contain sugar, so I used pork shank and fried that with mushrooms and onion and a grated apple, and added the very thinly sliced livers. Was very nice and I am glad I didn’t just decide fuckit and use the bacon, milk. And red wine for a gravy of course. I need to make some good stock to replace the wine in recipes – non-drinkers manage so surely I can.

2 or 30 done and dusted – feeling good and will feel much better once this belly ache is gone

I am sure I just need a huge fart

 

My meals:

dav

breakfast was pork shank instead of bacon with a veggie hash and two fried eggs

dav

breakfast was similar to yesterday’s lunch – coconut crusted chicken breast with salad and home made lemon mayo

 

dav

dinner is often my favourite meal that is the worst pic of the day. a lack of natural light makes it hard to get good pics. this is the liver with pork shank, onion, mushrooms and apple on mashed potato with brussel sprouts. was delicious

I am finding it quite interesting to notice what it is i find that makes me happy every day, to look at what each image represents beyond what it actually is

So day 14 is this photo

14

it’s a lentil salad. it is a lovely salad indeed, but alone is not a moment of happiness worth recording necessarily.

what it is is one of sixty meals my less than a year old company sent out yesterday. we have gone from 2 weekly menu clients to 23 just since January.

what it is is a salad we made for only one person because she is a vegetarian and requests extra meals every week outside of our menu. so we make them for her, to her dietary specifications.

what it is is a salad for a customer who has already referred other customers to us. they placed their first order this morning

what it is is a salad photographed on top of a freezer filled with our home-made stock, and roasted tomato sauce and pasta and all the other real food we make and use in our business. we started out with the idea of using as little processed stuff as we could, and we are sticking to that decision.

what it is is a salad that shows how far we have come and how far we can still go

a good salad may make you happy, but a salad with that backstory is a #100happydays moment

#100happydays Day 12

People often tell my boyfriend he is living the dream – he gets to live with a professional cook, one who feeds people for a living.

‘aah, the wonders you must taste’ they sigh

‘i bet you eat like royalty’ they muse

‘all those experiments, in your face’ they lament

‘i wish it was me, can i come live with you?’ they ask

Well ha ha ha I say, the joke is on you

We eat a ridiculous number of packets of pop corn, a lot of niknaks, a fair amount of bread and many many meals from our local pub. Because after 8 hours on my feet cooking for others, and after we have spick and spanned the kitchen, there is NO WAY IN HELL i am making a mess again . Uh uh – not ever.

How many of you get home from work and then do it all again for fun? Maybe the two or three hookers I know, but no one else, let’s be honest.

Spreadsheets for fun before dinner – I think not.

(well, unless you are one of the hookers obviously)

Aaaaanyway, the point of all this rambling is that today I decided to make a breakfast of sorts. I do try on the weekend and muffins dirty only a few things so i can cope.

I made bacon and cheese, with cayenne pepper, muffins – and they were delicious

Served with a mint pickle I get from an Auntie in Stanger – they made me happy

#100happydays happy12

when i reinvented myself at 45 and decided to cook for a living, one of the decisions I made was to use as few processed items as possible. To this end, we make our own stock, our own breads and even our own ‘tinned’ tomatoes.

We hardly ever use our tin opener at all

Tomatoes have been stupid expensive of late so it was with great joy that I saw this when shopping

We also have a new freezer so trays and trays of tomatoes are waiting to be roasted, blitzed and turned into ‘tinned’ tomatoes with nothing other than tomatoes in them.

Delicious

2 a

braai

Braai -ing (how do you spell that?) is part of South African life. We all braai – even vegetarians with their stuffed butternut and home-made holey jerseys that smell of lentils. Even them.

My boyfriend and I have been to many braais in the 18 months we’ve been together. And we have eaten chops, steaks, wors, chicken and probably even fish and pork off the grill. But we have never had a braai – the flat owner I was renting from may have objected to coals on her laminated wooden floors.

But now we have a tiny little fake garden with the world’s smallest built-in-braai. And shopping yesterday I suddenly realised I don’t know what he particularly likes on a braai. Is he a lamb chops man? Does he like a chicken kebab with his garlic bread? Is it worth murdering a rump on the open coals to light his heart up? Or is chicken the answer? And if so – does he believe in nuking it first?

18 months into this South African relationship but living on the 4th floor means I don’t know some very basic deal-breaking info about this man.

What a person likes cooked on open flames says a lot about him. Now we have the opportunity to light our own fire, I hope he does not disappoint. If he nukes a flattie I may have to braai his ass!

This is the winning soup of the charity event really. More people picked it than any other soup as the winner. The mushroom soup was joint first only because the people who picked it felt so strongly that it should win. Quality vs quantity of votes really.

This is a crowd pleaser of note.

You need:

oil

1 chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 450g of peeled chopped tomatoes. Chop these up small as you will eat them as is.

2 tsp gound cumin, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp groun ginger, 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley

2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, or your own soaked boiled chickpeas

1 litre stock

juice of half a lemon

 

You do:

Fry the onion and garlic gently in the oil. Add the dry spices and cook until it smells fabulous. Then add half the chickpeas, the tomatoes and 800ml of the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.

Whizz the remaining stock and chickpeas to a smooth puree. Add this to the soup. Heat. Add parsley and lemon juice and serve

 

It’s so much nicer than it is difficult – a meal in a bowl

 

I am off tomorrow to buy blankets – have been too busy to do it before.

will post photos of the pile we get

I can’t find the recipe I used to make the gammon and leek soup which came third in the Charity Soup off so  here instead is the recipe for the joint first place soup.

But before that – a blanket update.

There isn’t one.

I was in Cape Town all of last week and this week my co blanket buyer and hander outer is writing her psychology masters mid-year exams so i have to wait for her before we can go spend the money and start dishing out the warmth. But this will happen next week. and photos shall follow.

 

But – back to the soup

Wild mushroom soup with sage

(only i bought the mushrooms from Pick n Pay and didn’t have sage)

You need:

25g butter

1 chopped onion, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 6 fresh sage leaves (if you can find them. i couldn’t so i used parsley. a different taste but it was still delicious)

1 Tablespoon flour, 1 litre veggie or chicken stock. (I have bought a bottle of organic veggie stock which i don’t for one second belive is really organic but it is much less salty than normal stock so i think worth it)

750g of assorted mushrooms. (I used a mixture of brown mushrooms, button mushrooms and those fancy shmancy mushrooms you get at Pick n Pay now.)

120ml of white wine (like anyone ever measures the wine they put in food), 120ml double cream (i used plain yoghurt)

salt, pepper and parsley to garnish

 

You do:

Melt the butter in the pot you will cook the soup in. Gently fry the onion and garlic until the onion softens. about 4 minutes-ish. Add the flour and cook for a bit. Then add the stock slowly, stirring away. Add the chopped mushroom and bring to the boil. Here I went my own way because i was making the soup in advance. I added all but one packet of those skinny mushrooms with the little ball heads. They look like these enoki mushrooms but I don’t remember that that was what PnP called them.

 

Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer with the lid on for about twenty minutes. It is surprising that it really does take that long for the mushrooms to get soft.

Use a food processor or wand to whizz the soup up. It never gets completely smooth but whizz until it is as you like it. Ten minutes before serving I added the rest of the mushrooms  and a handful of chopped parsley, and allowed the soup to simmer. Then I added the yoghurt and the recipe asked for the wine at this stage. I didn’t much fancy raw wine in the soup so I left it out!

I know – shocking!

Once the yoghurt was added you can’t let the soup boil, so warm it through, season with salt and pepper and serve with a parsley garnish.

Was a very filling, creamy, rich and delicious bowl of soup.

 

 

Last night I had a little gathering at my home to collect blankets and raise money to buy more blankets for cold homeless people in Durban.

It was a wonderful success in many ways – we collected 10 blankets, R1100 to buy more blankets, 1 person landed up under the table giggling and 3 of the guests tried to use  mind power to fly the couch home.

I made 4 soups which everyone enjoyed. There was much conversation about soup strategy and how best to attack the options, about which flavours should be eaten in what order, and about how to make sure you had enough space in your tummy to try all four.

Votes were cast and soups rated

in fourth place was spinach & coconut soup

You need:

2 tsp oil

1 chopped onion, 2 garlic cloves, 2 green chillies. I used seeds and all and could have used an extra chilli.

2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp tumeric, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. All of these are rough amounts. When I make the soup again I will use more of each.

600ml stock, 600ml coconut milk, juice of 1/2 lemon. Again I will use more next time.

500g spinach. This is a lot of spinach! More than one bunch – almost all of two.

salt

You do:

Heat the oil. Add onion, garlic and chillies. Cook gently for a while – like 4 minutes or so until the onions are getting soft. Stir in the spices and then add the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil and then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Clean and shred the spinach. Add to the liquid and cook for a few minutes until the spinach is wilted. The recipe requires you remove 2/3 of the soup and blend in a food processor and then add to the original soup. What I did was use my wand blender and whizzed the soup up until it was the kind of smooth I like. You will never get all the spinach whizzed up so don’t expect a completely smooth, even coloured and textured soup.

Once the soup is smooth enough for you, add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Heat again if necessary and serve. The recipe called for coconut shavings to serve but I have no idea where you would these from and the soup was fine without them. You could possible use desiccated coconut.

I served the soup with french crusty bread.

This soup may have come 4th out of 4 but it was not a loser. Was very nice – the rest were just better.

Recipes 3, 2 and 1 will follow over the next while. As will pictures of the blankets etc

No photos cos we forgot – and then continued to forget as we drank wine, ate soup and giggled