To liberally paraphrase Elton John, Saturday night’s alright for writing essays. It has to be. I shouldn’t even be here, but I’ve allowed myself a break from wrangling Renaissance English. It’s not a good sign when I can’t even understand any of the essay questions…I can’t be hating on this though, even when it means I’m stuck behind the computer typing feverishly all weekend. How could you possibly dislike a play (Jonson’s The Alchemist) which contains the phrase: “Thou look’st like Antichrist, in that lewd hat?” (which makes me long to find something fitting the description of a lewd hat.) Of course you couldn’t. But still, 2500 pithy, succinct, brilliant words need to be produced asap.
Don’t even get me started (truly, I said plenty enough in the last post) on the interim photographs I’m supposed to present on Wednesday for my next photog assignment, which is, just for kicks, worth 20 percent of the final grade of said assignment. Who knows when I’ll have time to do them, between classes, essays and work – perhaps if, Yorkshireman-style, I get up half an hour before I go to bed and work for 29 hours, I might just get it done.
Now, I know using the microwave to actually, y’know, cook, basically means you forfeit your right to consider yourself a decent human being in some circles. Oh, I won’t lie, I don’t think the microwave is that brilliant as a sole means of producing meals. It sure helps though.
When I was younger – maybe ten? – there was a lengthy stretch of time where we didn’t have an oven for some reason and we cooked all our meals with an electric frypan and the microwave. I still remember this amazingly good “feather pudding” that Mum used to whip up occasionally, golden syrup on the bottom and sponge on top…anyway, snapping out of that radioactive haze of reminiscence, surely a microwave can’t be that bad if it managed to produce something like the chocolate pudding pictured above. This pudding is just stupidly chocolatey and rich. And it cooks in 5 minutes…literally.
Microwave Chocolate Pudding (from Nigella’s How To Eat)
- 120g butter
- 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 100g light brown sugar
- 1t vanilla extract (if it’s essence then don’t bother)
- 125ml cream (yes, cream)
- 40g plain flour
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 3 eggs
Butter a 1 litre bowl generously. In the food processor, whizz up the chocolate till it is in rubbly, small chunks. I’m warning you, this will make the most unholy sound, so be ready. Don’t make this beside a sleeping baby or in a monastery or something. Add the butter, whizzing again, and the sugar, and then the rest of the ingredients. Scrape into the bowl, cover tightly with microwave safe clingfilm. Cook on high for 5 minutes, or until set – it might take an extra minute or so as ovens vary, don’t put it in for too long though or it could turn to delicious rubber. Remove from the oven, pierce the clingfilm and then cover the bowl with a plate and sit for ten minutes. I don’t know why, this is just what Nigella says. Who am I to argue. Serve. Feel your thighs expanding with every mouthful.
I was obviously seriously frazzled while writing my last post as I didn’t even add a “Lentil Power” tag to it though we had demonstrably consumed lentils. We haven’t had any since, but I did make another dish from Jill Dupleix’ Lighten Up. This book has proven to be very useful, I mean, I wasn’t that fussed when I first flicked through it at the bookshop but I have used it heaps so far.
This is a very, very simple lamb tagine. On Thursday morning Tim and I went to the store to spend a grocery voucher I got given for my birthday (thanks Mum and Dad! We’d be eating dust otherwise…”zoom in on my empty wallet.”) We took a calculator to make sure we didn’t go over and were very discerning and frugal, but I found some stewing lamb for very cheap so bought a heap of it to make various slow-cooked things over winter. This recipe involved sauteeing an onion, carrot, and lamb with various spices – ginger, tumeric, paprika, saffron – before stirring in honey, dates and dried apricots. I didn’t have the apricots, and I added some spinach at the very end, but I think it doesn’t matter too much. I served it over an earnest pile of brown rice and it was delicious. Not terribly innovative – I daresay I could have come up with this on my own eventually – but a simple, unfussy combination of flavours that take care of themselves and taste reliably good together.
Above: While we are in vaguely North African mode, I give you Pasta with Sauce A-la-Marrakesh, from The Accidental Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer. I soaked the chickpeas on Thursday night (proactive lady is proactive) and simmered them as soon as I got home from work on Friday. The spaghetti sauce is made up of all sorts of good things – tomatoes, (tinned in my case), a shake of cumin, cinnamon and tumeric – I added a diced carrot but completely forgot the flipping flaked almonds even though I knew that I had some. Welcome to my brain.
So the production of Rent in Palmerston North (two hours from here by bus/train) got a positive if disappointingly vague review, and I gotta say that I feel honour-bound to see it, if only because it’s there, you know? How it will pan out I don’t know. I am a little concerned that from the promotional picture I saw, Collins looks rather old and white and Mark appears to be balding (Levin 1, PN 0) but…maybe it was badly lit or something. “We’ll see, boys!”
In other news, Paul managed to come within pit-spitting distance of my Tetris score (he got to level 41, I got level 45) proving once again that the Vincent genes are pure, distilled excellence. Tetris has become so entrenched in our routine that I composed WWF-style stage names for us: Paul “The Suth” Sutherland, Laura “Two Hands” Vincent, and Timothy “Tim” Herbert. Aw, I need to get out more. Can’t though, because of all these essays and assignments…which brings me full circle. Have a good weekend!
PS: 10,000 hits! I’m a real blogger!