Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Work with it Wednesday

Oat Cover Crop image by Flickr user David Bradbeer

'Focusing on a food you don’t love and learning to love, or at least tolerate, it.' - Vegan Month of Food 2013, Official Prompt.

Argh! Time to come clean, there are very, very few vegan foods I won't eat and enjoy. While in the States I did say to B, 'If I ever see another plate of vegan cheese it'll be too soon.' But on the whole, as long as it doesn't taste/feel too much like meat, I'll eat it.

My mum tells me, as a kid I never liked meat. I'm not totally sure this is an indicator of some kind of proto-veganism. My grandmother lived with us for most of my life and she sure did make some interesting 'meat' experiences available to us. There was often tongue, not sliced tongue, a whole tongue, on a plate, in all it's goose-bumpy glory. We ate sweetbread. I'm still not sure what 'sweetbread' is. When I asked my mother would say, 'Oh, it's some sort of gland.' I've been too scared to look it up. But I just did, and she was right. It's the thymus, but sometimes it's the pancreas and we ate them deep-fried like they were going out of fashion. We had steak and kidney stew. While I was in San Diego B had a 'chicken' wrap and the 'chicken' had the texture of kidney. Yikers. My grandmother loved tripe and onions. No one else in the family would eat it, so she'd often cook it if my parents were away on a Sunday night. My grandmother also used to fry us luncheon sausage for breakfast, which was delicious. But the breakfast dish that stands out above all else, is what she called 'Mock crab'. It was an egg and a tomato and you threw them both in a saucepan and kind of scrambled them together. A friend told me the other day she was a 'snout to tail' eater and I that's always how I remember my grandmother, although, she wouldn't eat pork. I'm not sure why. I know she wasn't allergic to it, because my mother would often cook pork mince and tell my grandmother it was beef. I think it was something to do with pigs and how they were dirty. My Uncle Gavin had a pig, it's name was Garfield, we went to visit the pig, we fed it and scratched it and loved it. A couple of months later Gavin arrived at our place with some bacon. 'How's Garfield,' I said over lunch. Gavin chewed for a minute, 'Perfect.' My mother threw out the rest of the bacon after he left. But, yes, this isn't getting us any closer to 'Work with it Wednesday'.

I never used to like porridge. I like the idea of porridge. It's cheap, it's warm, it's one of those great breakfasts that keep you going until lunch but no matter who cooked it or how I had it I just didn't like it. I've tried it a lot of different ways, I've added cinnamon and grated apple. I've cooked it with soy milk, without soy milk. I've added nuts and seeds and brown sugar and white sugar and agave and yoghurt and bananas and fruit and salt and no salt and still I used to have to gag it the whole way down - for complex carbohydrate's sake. Recently, I've tried to not eat things I don't like. It doesn't work for me, I always begin, stoically swallowing down the 'food that is good for me' and half an hour later grabbing a packet of chips or a piece of toast, which is usually what I wanted in the first place. So, I stopped eating porridge. Toki loves porridge, it was one of the first foods she ate. One morning I was making her some porridge and it suddenly took my fancy - it was way simpler porridge than I would normally make myself, 1/3 cup of oats, 1/3 cup of water, 1/3 cup of soy milk. I figured I'd give myself a plate too, if I didn't like it she would polish off or I could just compost it. I asked her what she was having on hers and she said, 'Hm. Maple syrup.' So I put some maple syrup on my share and then some more milk. It was really nice. I realise now that I was making the porridge way to complex and often way to sweet. Also, my servings were too big. I know that sounds strange but the huge bowls of porridge I'd been serving myself felt like a chore rather than a pleasure. Lately, Toki and I have been making pink porridge, we add a handful of frozen berries before we cook the porridge and it goes pink and is yum.

Speaking of pink, another vegetable I have a bit of trouble with is beetroot. I really like the taste of it roasted, grated raw, in soup but the mess just puts me off. It looks like murder! My friend Helen peels and cuts her beetroot underwater. She also sometimes uses the pink to dye things. The other great thing I discovered about beetroot, as I made piece with its pinkness, was that the green stuff that comes with beetroot, the bit that grows out of the ground, is really nice tasting. It's great in soups and stews.

Oh also, if anyone has a good mung bean recipe, I'd love that. I like mung dahl (split and peeled mung beans) but no matter how I cook mung beans I just don't enjoy them. I always but them in bulk with great intentions but end up sprouting them. Actually, does anyone know how you make mung dahl out of mung beans?

Okay, in honor of oats, here's a great recipe for stove-top granola. This recipe comes from the stupendous Amanda Reid, she of the Quinoa Loaf recipe. Amanda catered a retreat a few years back and was kind enough to send me her recipes from the weekend. I LOVE this recipe because, you know that thing, when you really want muesli but you haven't got any muesli and it will take a while to make muesli and yeah, it's often a bit sweet when you toast muesli and anyway, this is the antidote to that. I cook this in my cast iron heavy fry pan, which is one of my favourite things and it is really nice.

Stovetop Granola
(Serves 4)

1c rolled oats

1/3 c walnuts, chopped

1/3 c sunflower seeds

1/3 c shredded coconut

2 cardamon pods, slit at end

2in cinnamon stick

1/3 c raisins

1/3 c ground flaxseeds

Toast oats, walnuts and seeds in large pan, stirring constantly for 5mins.  Add coconut and spices, stir for 10mins.  Remove from heat, remove spices.  Add raisins and flaxseeds.
What foods do you not love and are learning to love, or at least tolerate, it?
My friend Sarah sent me this great new vegan food website (is it a Tumblr? It looks like a Tumblr). It's called Thug Kitchen and it's funny and delicious. Which is the best combination. Keeping with the oat theme, here's a way to chug your breakfast Strawberry Oat Smoothie.
Also, can someone talk to me about Steel Cut Oats? I've been too scared to ask anyone because I feel like I should know, but I feel brave today because I've been reading Thug Kitchen biatches - baha.


  1. I discovered some oat groats at the health food shop last weekend, and cooked up a batch yesterday. Holy, moly they're good! Took a longtime to soak and cook them, but they tasted super nutty and delicious. I really like my oats with almond milk. Mumm, I love oats!

    1. Oat groats! They sound yum, I will keep my eye out for them. I have heaps of Buckwheat groats. I'm not sure I like them. Toki eats them raw. Any ideas?