Thursday, 17 April 2014

Amaranth porridge with berries

There's something that happens when I'm about to get on a plane. I always manage to either miss my flight or create some kind of unnecessary drama. Even when in other areas of my life I feel calm and content, the time comes to catch a flight and something inevitably goes wrong. I should be in Athens right now, but I'm not. I wouldn't say I'm London either. I'm occupying a space in between two worlds, neither solidly in one nor the other. Like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland, I'm just not all there. Or here. Some would argue that this is a natural state of affairs for me and they'd have a point, yet at this moment in time this quality is so pronounced that I feel like parts of me could easily just disappear like they do to that cat. Yet like him, I'm quite enjoying it. I'm using this strange space to look at my life  objectively and make some small yet important changes, to experiment with how I normally do things. In my everyday life I'm often too busy in the action of doing to take a step back and reflect on how I could improve the process. There are infinite ways of doing things, why do we get stuck in one mode like machines I wonder... Some things just work so there is no need to change them, yes, but other things don't work, yet we get stuck in a habit - those are things I'm targeting right now. One habit that I have no intention of changing for the time being however, is porridge for breakfast. That's working out very well. There are so many variations that I can't see myself getting bored. I made this one with amaranth grains and berries the other day. It's a grain I've never used before and was a bit puzzled by, yet it turns out that it makes a brilliant porridge, less stodgy and sticky than oats
I cooked it first in lots of cold water. I'll be honest with you, I wanted to use it for a salad, yet I quickly noticed that it was turning into a porridge-like consistency and went out and bought some quinoa for the salad instead. I think the grains are actually too small for a salad and also I cooked them in too much water to allow them to separate. But for a porridge they were perfect. So the next morning I took a spoonful of the cooked amaranth and diluted it with plenty of almond milk. I allowed it to simmer, along with a handful of raspberries and blueberries, a pinch of salt and some honey for around 10min, until the raspberries disintegrated completely. Then I  added a bit more almond milk to reach a consistency I was happy with. Amaranth is completely new to me in this form (I've tried the leaves before), it has an unusual taste, neither sweet nor savoury, it's lost somewhere between the worlds just like me, so it needs strong, decided flavours that push it in either one direction or the other... I think I've just managed to empathize with a grain

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A rowdy springtime salad

The sun is shining and London is in a good mood. This is the positive side of living somewhere where the weather in unpredictable - when the sun does come out, the whole city is on a natural high. My friend, Ash, tells me that in Australia, where she comes from, good weather is expected and because of this it makes no difference at all to peoples' mood... here, everyone is just so damn grateful for any bit of sunshine they can snatch, that when it does come out, and especially on a day when it is needed, during a picnic or barbeque, London acquires a festive atmosphere. Luckily, our sun dances worked last weekend and our star came to the annual cherry blossom picnic. This is the fourth year we congregate under the cherry blossoms in Victoria Park and do our version of Hanami
This year I made a spicy and colourful salad, which was dubbed "rowdy salad" by Ashley. It's the most fitting name for it considering the pink radish, purple carrots and fresh chillies. Did you know that all carrots used to be purple? This is something new that I learnt last weekend. I thought the carrots I bought were a hip novelty, in fact, they were a return to the old ways. The world works in spirals, everything is a continuation or a development, nothing is really lost - I like that

Ingredients

Quinoa, cooked
Alfafa and broccoli sprouts
Radishes, chopped finely
Fresh red chilli, chopped finely
Purple carrots (or normal carrots), grated
Avocado
Virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
Garlic salt
Black pepper