Sunday, 30 August 2015

In Which I Try My Hand at.. Spiralising

I want to eat healthily, I really do. I enjoy healthy food, but I also enjoy.. everything else. All the time.
I'll paint you a little picture; last night (well, last night as I write this, probably 10 years ago by the time it finally gets posted), there was an incident. Just as I was settling down to sleep, I heard a flutter. From years of living in the countryside, I've developed a pretty incredible skill. It's an in-built daddy long legs radar. So I turned on the light and, lo and behold, there he was. The evil bailiff come to kick me out of my room. And he succeeded. I ran. And spent the night in the spare room. I'm not even ashamed, it's a super comfy bed. But anyway the point is, I was awake in the middle of the night. As I made the trip from room to room it suddenly struck me that I wanted a mugcake. And that I deserved a mugcake after being so rudely evicted. So I had a casual bed mugcake. At 2am.

It's that sorta thing.

I'd been meaning to invest in a spiraliser for so long. I'm not at all an advocate for cutting carbs - if I don't eat carbs I'm tired and hungry and just binge. So I love spaghetti and quite frankly, anything in moderation is fine. But I just found the idea intriguing. And I like gadgets. But like most things, it was added to the list of  'one day I will..' and forgotten about. And then my friend got one. A real life person I know, and not just through Instagram. So I journeyed to her house to sample. We had zoodles with a mascarpone and tomato sauce, and I bought one from Amazon there and then.

This is the model I opted for:

I can't take credit for any part of that decision making; it was as a result of Sophie's thorough research. And I'd seen it in action. It did the job. She assured me she'd read zillions of reviews and it came out on top. So yup, decision made.

My first take was a mild disaster. Whilst just peeling off the protective sticky plastic from my chosen blade, I sliced a huge chunk out of my finger. It hurt, and then I was at a disadvantage having to do everything one handed from then on. I then, in an unrelated accident, tripped over a step as the zoodles were boiling and pulled off my toenail, so it really was just a disastrous half hour of blood and plasters and kitchen roll. I'll spare you the photos.

So, let's move onto take two.

I bought fresh courgettes for this one, which did seem to help. The thing itself is pretty easy to use, the only frustration being that as well as spirals, the blades simultaneously produce little crescent moon shapes as well, like so:

The setting options are either crescent moons, crescent moons and large spirals, or crescent moons and thinner spirals. Tbf it really doesn't make a difference. It just looks slightly less pretty.

It's still not really as easily as the tutorials make it look, because I did find you have to push quite hard to stop whatever you're slicing from dislodging, but eventually you're left with:

at which point it's easy, just whack it in a pan with some boiling water and leave for a while. They do actually cook pretty quickly, and I guess it's personal preference as to how hard you want them, but they do get kind of watery and soggy, so less boiled is a bit better. This time, after they'd simmered, I put them into a frying pan to dry them out slightly, and added some olives, tomatoes and pesto. During my previous, less successful attempt, I added mushrooms too. I'm obviously still at the experimental stage, but anything that expels water as it cooks isn't particularly helpful. Unless you're adding a lot of sauce.

One of my jobs at the moment whilst my dad is away is to water the greenhouse and pick and eat all the ripe tomatoes as they appear. The fact that I get to eat them all is probably the only reason I remember to it, but the ones that are ripening at the moment are really cute and miniature, and made the overall dish look really pretty.

So there we have it.

Overall verdict; much better and will definitely make again. I devoured this in about 2 seconds. It was completely amazing.

A spaghetti alternative is really is not. It's just a completely different experience. In the above form anyway. But eat it simply for what it is, and it's pretty darn good.

For take three, I was slightly more ambitious and opted for sweet potato fries. I was a little dubious that the contraption could even handle cutting it but, it just about did. It was a bit of a faff because it mangled a lot at the end and kept dislodging and I eventually gave up and just roasted the second half of the potato. It was a pretty large one, though. And I was hungry and impatient.

Anyway, what it did yield I sprayed with some low cal mock oil spray, doused in a teeny bit of actual oil, sprinkled with paprika, salt and pepper, and threw in the oven.

They cooked a lot more quickly than I was expecting and did end up a liiittle burned, however, were really good. I mean really.

I am so good at this cooking lark.

Friday, 28 August 2015

In Which I Start Breaking the News

So, picture the scene.

It's a Monday evening. I'm still at work. Yes, until 9pm. After arriving at 9am. Things are bleak.

Then *ping* (not really, my phone is permanently on silent, more like *flash*) and up pops an email.

Oh, it's from my new job people.

They want me to start on the 5th of October.


So, the rest of this week has been a bit of a blur of 'omg how do I sort everything out in 5 weeks? I need a FLAT. I need to hand my notice in. Oh God I need to get those boots fixed that I pulled the zip off about 18 months ago'.

5 weeks might seem like a long time, but oh my god it is not.

And my dad clearly sent a group text out within about 12 seconds of me telling him the news, because I received a sudden surge of 'wooo well done' texts from family members. Thanks, Dad.

So, in no particular order, I have begun tacking -

  • Throwing out clothes that I don't wear. To make room for new ones obv. This is deciding whether they're ebay-able, charity shopable, clothes bankable, binable etc etc.
  • Buying the new clothes. Cue trip to Meadowhall in T-12 hours. I need a coat. I need shoes. I need some smart trousers. And just new everything in general.
  • Getting my tablet screen fixed. I stood on it about 2 years ago. It's time. £67 pounds down and the UPS guy came and collected it from my office. My colleague asked what I was doing, I explained, 'Oh, but couldn't you have just bought a new one off eBay for that?!' Shh. No.
  • Getting my KG boots fixed. They were probably under warranty when I first ripped the zip off. That was again, about a year ago. Now it means asking round cobblers' to see whether that's something they do. (Is it??)
  • FINDING A FLAT. This is taking up far too much of my time at the moment. I'm sending Sarah 800 links a minute which she definitely doesn't have time to click on. But frustratingly, they're all either available right now, or they get let before I could ever get there to view them. I called about one today that had been up for 54 MINUTES. Nope. Gone. And then the guy went on a 14 minute sales pitch without taking a single breath about every single other property they have on offer before I could get a word in to be like 'yeh.. thanks.. I'm at work so.. bye'. Current plan is to drive down the weekend before, schedule 7 million viewings. And pounce.
  • Trying to shop myself buying homewear. This is by far the most difficult task. WORLD MAP PRINT BUNTING!! No. You don't even have walls yet. Stop it.
  • Getting my roots done. Oh god, when am I even free to fit that 10 hour trip in.
  • Seeing all my favourites before I leave. This sucks. Two of my best friends in the world are here and I am going to miss them so so so so much. This is soppy and silly but WAAAAH. 
  • Trying not to be a fat whale. 'Treat yoself/new job' chocolate is acceptable ONCE. Not every day. I don't really need the extra expense of having to buy new clothes AGAIN in two weeks when I go back up a clothing size. Take me back to the motivated me of two months ago, plz.
  • Handing in my notice. That one's been done. It's not something I've ever done before, and it's actually pretty nerve wracking. I hate letting people down and all my files will have to be reallocated to other members of the team, which makes me feel bad. Does everyone feel like this when quitting a job, or am I just ridiculous? Like 'ooh, I don't want to put them out, I'd better just stay here forever and rot in misery so that other people stay happy'. But it's done. Noone seems to have taken it personally. And I'm now on the wind down. 4 weeks to go, and one of those I'd already booked annual leave in for anyway.
  • Packing. I need boxes. Where do you get boxes from? EBay? Your dad? My dad can source me some boxes. That's dad work.
So. That's all the word vomit I have right now.

It's going to take a lot of coffee, and a lot of office cake. But the end is in sight.
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