Daily Archives: April 20, 2015

Eat From the Larder Challenge 2015 – Week Three Wrap-Up

Why, yes, I did just post the Week Two wrap-up post. Can you tell I’ve had other things to do?
So Week Three involved being out of town for more than half the week. It was my mother-in-law’s 65th birthday (the whole poly-clan went down, and she was delighted to see all of us!) and then my wife and I went to Toronto for the Feminist Porn Awards and to hang out with a lovely friend who will be moving there soon and needed to do some sleuthing for housing and possible jobs. It was a really, really wonderful time and we got to see a bunch of people who we never get to see enough. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
What that means in practice, in terms of Eating From The Larder, is that we ate slightly more than half of our meals at restaurants this past week and, of the meals we ate at home, we had things like toast-and-marmite or scrambled eggs or steamed pre-fab dimsum buns instead of Actual Food Made From Scratch.
It also means that I bought some groceries. Specifically, I bough a bag of little crispy-bread things[1], two bottles of juice, and two fancy chocolates (dark chocolate with caramel and sea salt, specifically) to take on the train with us and share with our non-boozy friend so that we could all drink a toast together. In retrospect, I didn’t need to buy two bottles of juice, and I could have cut up the bread I’d made and packing it into an empty zip-lock bag (becoming somewhat mythical around here) would have done the trick for most of that. So poor form on my part there. I have no regrets about the chocolate, though.
Home-cooked meals have been minimal and have relied heavily on pre-fab stuff:
Rotini with bacon, goat cheese, and jarred tomatoes / tomato sauce.
Rotini (again) with tomato sauce, sausages, and frozen chard.
Toast and egg dishes for breakfast (that’s not going to last – If I’m lucky, I’ve got two eggs left…)
Frozen dim-sum buns
Home-made buns with butter and other spreads.
Something that did work out really well was the red-lentil “hummus” that I made for the train ride. I would have liked to bring more than 1C of it on the train (though not being able to do so meant that my lovely wife had a work-lunch already made for this morning). I’ll have to try and remember the recipe – red lentils + bone stock (so not vegan) + raw garlic + sesame oil + soy sauce + heaps of curry powder + nutritional yeast + basil IIRC. I’m quite pleased with it, and will try to make it again (or a vegan version there-of) next time I need to make a pot-luck contribution.
One thing I’m running out of, that I failed to think about going into this, is yeast. Which doesn’t mean I’m in trouble on the bread-making front. I’ve got enough left to make another batch of bread (on my to-do list for today), and even if I didn’t, I’ve made enough bread here in the past six months that I could probably start a sour dough starter in my kitchen without too much trouble (and, hey, maybe that’s my next DIY step, who knows…), even without opening a window on a sunny day. None the less, it’s something I’m noticing.
Things I bought this week, which made it an Eat From The Larder “Failure”:
1L wine in a tetrapak
1L apple juice
~1L random juice blend
1 bag of “baked crisps” or whatever they were called
2 chocolate bars
More restaurant meals than I particularly care to count, but let’s say…. seven or eight? Plus a few Train Snacks (coffee, cheese croissants, wine & beer (on the train home), and 3 servings of pringles, iirc).
So. That was Week Three.
Week Four should involve getting back on track in terms of creating from-scratch stuff like coconut-curry dal, pan-fried fish cakes (tuna + corn meal and egg, provided I’ve still got an egg – I wonder if I could use mayonaisse as a binder…), salad nicoise (probably omitting the egg in that one), and maybe some kind of light-but-filling fish stew like this one (to use up some of my salsa and stock, among other things).
Wish me luck!
Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Eat From the Larder Challenge 2015 – Week Two Wrap-Up

Eating from the larder continues. This week has been pretty easy, honestly, although it isn’t hurting that people keep inviting us over for meals and/or showing up at our house with snack foods.
Although I admit, we’ve eaten frozen perogies three times in the past seven days. >.>
This is not going to get any easier.
Monday the sixth – Was rotini with lemon-pepper tuna, the last of the fresh tomatoes, a diced onion, and lashings of butter.
Tuesday the seventh – My wife went on a road trip with her GF (and ate Road Food for dinner – we are totally okay with dinners out, by the way, I just need to make sure I don’t default to restaurants All The Time. More on that later) and I had potato-cheddar perogies with a dollop of yoghurt.
Wednesday the eighth – Perogies again, this time with a half-cup jar of tomato sauce and lots of parmesan cheese (have I mentioned that parmesan cheese is a wonderful thing?)
Thursday the ninth – I had a chicken sandwich at a local cafe while working on a story submission. My wife at fancy cheese (QP After Party again) and crackers, and just kind of made do. This was, I realize, a total failure on my part to make anything resembling an Actual Dinner. I also came to the conclusion, on this particular day, that I’m eating a LOT of toast and jam at the moment. Gosh, I wonder why… This is also the day that I discover my latest loaf of bread has gone mouldy (which is what I get for putting it in a bag before it fully cools down – twit that I am). Woops.
Friday the tenth – Breakfast (we ate breakfast!) is fried eggs, and it’s delicious! I make another loaf of bread (a big round one, in one of my cast-iron pots. I also make a vanilla & red-currant coffee cake (with the a rather, um, blackened brown sugar topping – woops) specifically to serve with some of the black currant curd I still have lying around. We have perogies AGAIN for dinner – this time with a one-cup jar of bruschetta mix plus a heap of parmesan cheese and a package of “mild Itallian” sausages. We also have guests drop by and bring us a giant box of fancy, chocolate-covered cookies, which is really nice of them, and which helps stretch dinner to feed three (out of five – the cookie-bearing guests having eaten before they came – thank goodness). I hadn’t expected my wife’s GF to be dropping by, too. Woops. We have 10 eggs left, and I’m starting to feel the need to ration them. :-\
Saturday, the eleventh – We were invited out for dinner at my wife’s other GF’s place, so that meal was covered. My wife and said GF spend the morning having an out-of-the-house date which included lunch out. My breakfast was more toast (YAY!) with marmalade (courtesy of a friend of my wife’s) and most of my day involved Entertaining. Red currant cake was had (and it was lovely), and so was (gifted) ice cream and (equally gifted) fancy espresso-balsamic vinegar. Guh. 😀
Sunday, the twelfth – is warm and bright and sunny, and I’m loving it! I expect the temperature will drop once the evening gets going, but for the moment it’s glorious. We had guests over for breakfast and fed them pancakes ft half wholewheat and half white flour + a half-cup jar of crab apple jelly, one egg, a glug of maple syrup, veggie oil, the dregs of a couple of jars of jam (a teaspoon or two each of marmalade and apricot butter), a handful each of frozen red currants and frozen serviceberries, and water. They worked out really nicely. We spent the afternoon putting raised-garden-bed frames together (more on that later), and then I made iced tea (three different kinds, but they all have a couple of ingredients in common) to drink in lieu of lemonade on the patio. Tonight, I’ll be making dinner – probably for 4-6 people (fingers crossed) – and it’s going to be red-lentil-and-chickpea dal made with a tin of coconut milk, some onion, some frozen greens, frozen diced eggplant, and maybe some reconstituted mushrooms. My plan is to make some sort of peanutbutter-sesame-tumeric-soyasauce-vinegar-syrup… thing… to mix with the coconut milk and call a curry-sauce (although, yes, I do realize that saying “curry sauce” is technically redundant). There will be cake (possibly with black currant curd) and iced tea for dessert. 🙂
So it’s going pretty okay, so far. I’m not feeling grouchy and hard-done-by or bored and anxious about our food situation. We’re out of milk (though I will be getting more of that) but we’ve got nine eggs left, and lots of cheese. The only thing that’s really hitting me right now is my lack of meat. Don’t get me wrong. I have heaps of tuna lying aorund. But I’ve got one roasting cut (a rabbit, that I’d honestly like to save for Beltane – which is a Friday, so…) and one stewing cut (a beef heart, plus two pig kidneys, which will likely be cooked together as some kind of “steak and kidney” casserole/braise along with onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and carrots. I’m seeing a lot of “paella” style dishes (think tinned tuna, fried brown rice, onion, garlic, and some frozen veggies), in our future along with salad nicoise and a tuna melt or two.
I do notice that, as typically happens when I’m trying to clear out the preserves cupboard and/or when I’m in a position to not (be able to) buy groceries for an extended epriod of time, I’m eating a lot more sugar than usual. Regularly baking snacks like cookies and cakes (instead of snacks like savoury cheese tea-biscuits or super-healthy applesauce muffins or something). This isn’t a big deal – most of the sugar in question comes from fruit butter or, at the very least, jam (which, which it IS very much a sugar product, also involves a heap of fruit, which helps) rather than the granulated white stuff.
Next week we’re out of town for 4/7 days, so we’ll see what that looks like. I predict a lot of restaurant meals, and buying some juice for the non-boozing friend who will be joining us.