My Foodie Adventures

Making up healthy recipes as I go along...

Date: 19th January 2016

One Man Tea Party: An Introduction

This is, hopefully, going to be my most regular feature here on my blog.

A review of tea.

When I just typed those words, I nearly closed my laptop through boredom.

“A review of tea”.

“A review of tea”?

God, that sounds as though it will be the most banal set of words ever set down or a pretentious musing on the many layers of flavour that steeped leaves can bring to your palate.

Well, guess what. It probably will be!

Actually, the truth is that I have recently become quite taken with tea. Mainly herbal, fruity, non-caffeinated ones. This is because of three reasons:

  1. From Sunday evening to Friday I don’t really drink
  2. I don’t really like soft drinks. The main problem I have is that they are too easy to drink. A pint glass lasts me an inordinately short amount of time and then I’m sat there without a drink and I can’t be bothered to get up and get one
  3. I have to drink something. Heaven forfend, I sit on my sofa feeling parched

With this in mind, I tend to sit in my flat watching entire series of shows as though someone is going to take them away from me, drinking about four pints of different flavoured teas.

It’s actually much more enjoyable than it sounds.

So, if you find yourself in the tea section, baffled by the superfluous choices of flavoured teas, take a look through my reviews and you should be able to find the mug for you.

Or just read it and wonder, at what point in my life I thought “Hmm, a tea blog. People will definitely want to read a tea blog”. Whatever works for you…

*The mug in the image up there has been in my possession for over 10 years and will act as the constant in my tea tasting sessions. It has the capacity of over two and a half normal mugs because I really don’t know how to do things to a normal level*

Return to Form: Sri Lankan Roast Beef

Now that I have displayed my contrition for not updating a blog about food, how about we put all of that mess behind us and continue?

Excellent.

So, as I mentioned before, one of my gifts this Christmas was a subscription to The Spicery. It is an online service whereby you sign up (or your brother signs you up, dependant upon your circumstance) and they send you a recipe with the necessary fresh herbs and spices every month.

My first foray into the entire endeavour was with a Sri Lankan Beef Smore.

If you aren’t aware of what a smore is (I wasn’t) then I shall elucidate. It is, essentially, a combination between a beef roast, a stew and a curry. And it is quite delicious.

It became a perfect start back on my blogging track, despite the fact I don’t like following a recipe.

The instructions were clear, the spices were pungent and I bought too much beef. All in all, a resounding success.

You may have noticed from my description of The Spicery that I didn’t mention anything about ingredients. The subscription only supplies the spices and recipe, but that shouldn’t be a turnoff for anyone considering taking it up. If I were to buy the whole thing from scratch, the spices would be the hardest thing to find and I had most of the ingredients in. In fact, I think I only had to buy:

  • A cabbage; because, let’s face it, why would I own a cabbage?)
  • Some more red onions; as I had, only the day before, used the last of mine to make fajitas)
  • A large piece of topside beef; the recipe called for 1kg so I bought 3kg as I am often wont to do

The other ingredients such as garlic and rice, I already had plenty of.

With my ingredients in hand, I set to work. Diligently following the instructions, I: marinated my beef, cooked my spices, chopped differing sizes of onion and so on and so forth. It was quite an experience to be actually following instructions. It took a lot of the pressure off.

The preparation of this particular meal took around 15minutes and the meat took over 2 hours to cook; which, if you have been following my blog at all, you will notice is my perfect amount of time and effort.

Once cooked, I served it with the sides that they had supplied the spices for and enjoyed an extremely tasty, authentic taste of Sri Lanka. One which I probably would have never tried of my own accord.

I took the leftovers into work to share my Christmas gift with everyone and to show my brother I was actually using the gift. Turns out, I hadn’t cooked the beef for long enough…

*Quick note about the picture* I attempted to take a picture of the dish as a whole but it is essentially a stew. Have you ever tried to take a good picture of stew? I honestly don’t think it’s possible. It’s just a thick brown liquid with meat in it. So I opted for a dazzling image of the (under)cooked beef because that is magnificent.

First, an Apology. Then Food…

Before I return to sharing my dietary habits with you all, I feel I should apologise to the handful of you who were even mildly put out by my lack of blog updates. Suffice it to say, I am aware that an explanation is probably in order.

The first straw that didn’t quite break the camel’s back was the fact that my phone broke. That may not sound like much of a big deal, but the camera on that thing was/is amazing. I couldn’t afford to fix it for a while and every other attempt I made to take pictures with another device were met with sentimental cynicism. Yeah, they were all right, but my phone would have been  better.

I later realised that this was the closest thing I had to a salient reason for giving up. The truth is…

…I had an existential crisis. I had set up this blog as a “Foodie Adventurer”, despite the fact that I hate the word “foodie”. I felt as though I was living a lie, who am I to call myself such a thing?

“Why call it that then?” I hear none of you asking.

Thank you for asking, imaginary person I just invented. The truth is that I didn’t. This blog was a gift from my brother who knows that I have always enjoyed cooking and can form a sentence when pressed. I don’t feel like a “foodie”, I feel like a hungry person who wonders what happens when I cook random thing A with whichever spice I end up grabbing hold of.

I am not even close to a “foodie”. I don’t much care about food on a day-to-day basis and I only really eat when I’m hungry. I am the definition of a lazy chef.

I can’t remember the last time I actually chopped an onion. I peel it and blend it. Same with garlic.

 

I regularly set rice at the lowest cooking temperature so that I have longer before I’m forced to get up and sort it out.

I have my toast lightly warmed because I’m too lazy to stand and wait for it to be crispy and golden brown.

But recently, a few things seem to have struck me.

My laissez-faire attitude towards the culinary arts is my forte. I may not be a “foodie”, but I can cook. I’m a lazy chef who somehow manages to make pretty decent meals. I like flavours from around the world because I’m curious as to what they taste like, I just don’t feel like putting a lot of effort in.

Also, I am an adventurer. In one evening I have overthrown a dictatorship in Kirat, brought justice to the streets of Gotham and rescued a kidnap victim from the slums of Brazil. Later on, after a couple of drinks, I brought down The Empire with little more than a lot of rage and a shiny stick.

I am an armchair adventurer. I have traversed entire worlds from the comfort of my incredibly cushioned sofa.

This realisation gave me a new lease on life and a new passion for cookery.

As though they had heard me, my family met my new found vigour with appropriate gifts. My brother bought me a subscription to something called The Spicery. Which is a company that sends you spices and a recipe from some far-flung corner of the world every month and you simply follow the instructions. It is amazing and I highly recommend. (I will do a review every month of the recipes)

My Mother bought me a spiralizer (so everything I said about that in a previous blog, discount it as the ravings of a lunatic) and a recipe book for it.

My Grandmother bought me a mussels pan. Despite the fact that I’m pretty much certain that I’ve never even mentioned shellfish in front of her, I was still very touched.

So I resolved myself to returning to form in the New Year. I have since fixed my phone and recovered some of the joy I felt cooking.

I will return to form. I will be the [lazy]Foodie [armchair] Adventurer once more….