Saturday, November 29, 2008

solo dining, simple thoughts and a request

While I am beavering away elsewhere (slaving over a hot Macbook when not at my day job) I have been keeping notes on how I am eating for these few weeks while I am home alone. Perhaps its because documenting it publicly will deter me from eating my style of “junk food” something involving tuna and/or noodles every, single night.

Am amazed I got through a whole week without making a Spanish omelette….though there is always tonight!

A week of meals for one for scratch

Food that can be put together quickly and involves a minimum of washing up

Vietnamese style rice noodle salad
Rice noodles, cucumber, spring onions, grated carrot, lots of herbs (Vietnamese mint, ordinary mint, coriander) with fish sauce/palm sugar/lemon or lime dressing plus a can of tuna.

If you are looking for a recipe, here’s a similar salad, made this time with smoked tofu.

Notes: warm night, shockingly tired at the end of the busiest week of the year – I haven’t made this salad with tuna for years. The balmy weather reminded me.

Stir fry
Tofu, carrots, zucchini, asparagus, ginger, garlic, rice noodles (again!) and a beaten egg ‘omelette’. Flavoured with fish sauce and roasted sesame oil.

Notes: I can’t count the number of stir fries I’ve made in this wok alone (I bought it in 1988 from memory) and every one of them is different, such as this one with seaweed or my favourite with prawns (made in someone else’s wok).

Potato and salmon salad
Potato, blanched asparagus, red onion, cornichons, sun dried tomatoes and capers plus a can of red salmon. Dressing 1/2 vinaigrette with mustard, lemon, garlic, olive oil and 1/2 Thomy mayo carefully combined.

Note: I couldn’t have more noodles – no no no.! The spuds were tasty and emotionally satisfying.

A quick an easy one with spices, vegetables, basmati rice and smoked trout.

Notes: I don’t usually make this for one but had picked up one of those skinned and boned smoked trout fillets from the supermarket.

More on kedgeree making here.

Pasta with Zucchini
Gluten-free pasta with red onion, garlic, ribbons of zucchini, cherry tomatoes, olives and preserved lemons.

Notes: YUM! I had an overpriced zucchini, tomato and lemon pasta at the local pub recently and it seemed a good use for the preserved lemons. I reckon my version, which wasn’t swimming in an excessive amount of olive oil, plus the addition of olives was much better. And of course, it was gluten free and dramatically cheaper than their measly serving for $19.99.

This meal featured fewer vegetables than I’d usually have but I’d eaten Sri Lankan curries for lunch – dhal and two other veggie curries, so amply met my quota.

Egg salad
Boiled eggs, parsley (used lavishly like a green vegetable), gherkins, sun dried tomatoes, red onion and mayo.

Notes: Vegetables, tofu and rice for lunch, so felt I’d had my "dinner". I’d not usually make egg salad as a stand alone meal but it made a simple supper (as the Brits would say)

Vegetarian red curry
Five vegetables plus tofu made with a freshly opened packet of mae ploy curry paste and coconut milk aka curry in a hurry.

Notes: A no-brainer dish this one. It uses up end of the week vegetables admirably and there’s always enough for at least two nights. Curry is about the only meal I can face having two days in a row. Night two I cooked up some of the wholemeal type grain and bean mix from the Asian grocery, interesting combo but it went fine with the curry.

Simple thoughts

No howlers please (well not this time). I was in melt down mode last night and it occurred to me that working every day without a break is not the makings of a simple life. Self-imposed deadlines can be unrealistic if a little downtime is not woven in. Having more than a week working without a break is not good for the creative juices.

Today I took myself on an artist’s date to the Sisters Market in Brunswick to look at some local craft. I can see I am going to be hopelessly out of fashion this season, not having a baby as an accessory (unless such things can be ecologically rented like the local flexicar service, for when you don’t want to own a vehicle but just want use of one by the hour every now and then). Then coffee with a friend and a wander down Gertrude Street soaking up more art.


Speaking of simple, in lieu of howlers I would like some help. If you’ve got a minute, could you tell me in comments (or email if you’d prefer) what would make your life more simple? I’m loving asking this question of total strangers. I’ve noticed women tend to ask for small things, like having someone do their ironing. No matter how big or small, what would make life easier and less complicated for you?


I’ll be back next time I’ve earned a break.

Princess Prissy Paws doing a spot of gardening

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Blogger docwitch said...

no Howlers - I promise!

I didn't make it to the Sister's Market after all : (
Events conspired.

Those meals of yours look great! I'm going to pinch some of them for my summer weekly meal plan, (I sound more organised than I actually am).

How do I/can I make life simpler? It's often a question I struggled with. Sundays have become the day where I try to slow everything down and consciously switch off. I try not to go anywhere, buy anything, or have stuff on.

Instead, I like to be a homebody and read, bake and craft, write letters (on paper, with a pen!), with music playing and no tv. Me and my family closing the door on the world and just quietly being together without expectations, work or chores. It's rejeuventing.

6:03 pm  
Blogger docwitch said...

I meant to say "it's often a question I struggle with". No past tense involved!

6:04 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Doc: thanks for that & btw I'm pretty sure everything I cooked was gluten-free.

6:09 pm  
Blogger Wendy said...

Those meals really do sound lovely and light. It may be -1oC here just now but I'm not in stodgy mood mode this year. Still craving dishes like yours.

And what would make my life simpler? If I lived closer to my job or if I got a job closer to my home, I'd have an extra hour and a half to myself each day, could walk Marco myself at lunch and would probably save about £200 per month.

So do it, you say? Love where I live and love my school!

7:19 pm  
Anonymous Duncan | syrupandtang said...

Madam! Get back to the keyboard. None of this writers' need-a-break stuff'n'nonsense. More pain, more gain! And, if in desperate need of a fashion accessory, go and buy one of those abominable cacking, peeing and crying dolls! Bruise your finger tips on the keyboard now! We expect results.

12:08 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Duncan - you are absolutely bloody right! I was battering my fingers to bloody stumps on the keyboard as you posted that. Though it may be necessitating a short triage break :)

So what would make your life simpler mister?

12:30 pm  
Blogger Johanna said...

Those meals look like you are eating well and simply too - I love the look of the zucchini pasta because I have neglected preserved lemons.

All I can think in response to your question is: if only there was a simple easy answer to what would make my life simpler, I could tell you!

12:47 pm  
Blogger Zoe said...

The absence of cigarette cravings.


8:14 pm  
Blogger Single White Female said...

My life would be simpler if I wasn't so fussy.
I guess that is something that is helped slightly by being vegetarian – limits my choices at restaurants and eating locally – if it’s not local it isn’t a choice (including wines). It doesn’t help with the way the washing has to be folded though :)

3:38 pm  
Anonymous Dani said...

My life would be simpler with no in-laws. None. Get rid of the lot of them.

Other than that, I would live closer to the local shops/school to cut walking/cycling time and my dearly beloved would be more environmentally on board. Oh and just occasionally, someone else would do the freakin' dishes.

5:39 pm  
Anonymous kitchen hand said...

No newspapers or magazines through which you waste your life having to trawl through badly-written rubbish printed on acres of dead forest looking for the occasional well-written gem.

7:31 pm  
Anonymous Lucy said...

Okay. Have given this simplicity idea of yours some thought.

I can't think what would make my life simpler than it's becoming, but I can tell you some of the things I've done to make it so this year.

1) I would never give up my cleaners. They sweep through the place once a fortnight, cost very little in the larger scheme of things and do a much better job than I ever could. (I contemplated getting rid of them recently then remembered that they have families and need jobs too.) I've given up other 'luxuries' in order to have a clean, liveable home.

2) Shopping only when neccesary. Shopping as a hobby is not a hobby. I hated it for a long time - it felt so empty - and now only shop when things have holes, etc.

3) Sleeping well (or better). I go to bed earlier than I used to and wake up feeling much more refreshed for it. Proper sleep is the best way I've found to make everything simpler!

4) Learning to recognise when I need help. My natural tendency is toward that Protestant Work Ethic of working until one burns out and never complaining. Asking for that help is the next step - it seems to require some bravery...

5) Excercise. It's brilliant. Makes everything from breathing to working to laughing simpler. A walk in the sunshine is free.

9:54 am  
Blogger david santos said...

Excellent menu! Gat, no!

4:50 am  

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