Thursday, 21 June 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Little Green Riding Hood (1974)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

For the last few weeks we have been looking at humorous versions of Little Red Riding Hood. Today we look at one of my favourites entitled Little Green Riding Hood by Gianni Rodari. 

Gianni Rodari was an Italian writer and journalist whose most famous work was Il romanzo di Cipollino (The Adventures of Little Onion) which was a children’s book about political oppression.

According to Wikipedia:
In a world inhabited by anthropomorphic produce, Cipollino fights the unjust treatment of his fellow vegetable townsfolk by the fruit royalty (Prince Lemon and the overly proud Lord Tomato) in the garden kingdom. The main theme is the struggle of the underclass against the powerful, good versus evil, and the importance of friendship in the face of difficulties.

Rodari was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for children’s literature in 1970.

Little Green Riding Hood is a delightful little tale about a grandfather trying to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood to his increasingly exasperated grandchild. We get the sense that he is tired of telling the same tale over and over and messes up the details for a bit of fun. It never fails to delight me as this was a game I played with my dear old dad where he repeatedly gave the “wrong” punchline to my jokes which made me squeal with laughter.

Image result for cricket and other friends
This short tale was featured in the very first issue of Cricket magazine (My story The Changeling Child will be featured in the October issue this year!) and was also released on the Cricket audio LP Cricket and Other Friends with the part of the grandfather being played by the delightful Old Cricket (Clifton Fadiman.)

I have found an audio recording of Little Green Riding Hood from Cricket and Other Friends and I would highly recommend listening to it. It is delightful. I have also included the text below if you’d just like to read it but do have a listen.

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a little girl called Little Yellow Riding Hood."
“No! Red Riding Hood!"
“Oh yes, of course, Red Riding Hood. Well, one day her mother called and said:
'Little Green Riding Hood--’"
“Sorry! Red. 'Now, my child, go to Aunt Mary and take her these potatoes.’"
“No! It doesn't go like that! 'Go to Grandma and take her these cakes.’”
“All right. So, the little girl went off and in the wood she met a giraffe."
“What a mess you're making of it! It was a wolf!"
“And the wolf said: 'What's six times eight?’”
“No! No! The wolf asked her where she was going."
“So he did. And little Black Riding Hood replied-"
“Red! Red! Red!!!"
“She replied: 'I'm going to the market to buy some tomatoes."'
“No, she didn't. She said: 'I'm going to my grandma who is sick, but I've lost my way."'
“Of course! And the horse said-"
“What horse? It was a wolf."
“So it was. And this is what it said: 'Take the 75 bus, get out at the main square, turn right, and at the first doorway you'll find three steps. Leave the steps where they are, but pick up the dime  you'll find lying on them, and buy yourself a packet of chewing gum."'
“Grandpa, you're terribly bad at telling stories. You get them all wrong. But all the same, I wouldn't mind some chewing gum."
“All right. Here's your dime." And the old man turned back to his newspaper.

Stay tuned next week for a much less amiable children’s storyteller.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Coconut Lime Sauce Noodle Bowl

Hello lovelies! It is that time of year when you want to eat lighter foods as the thought of standing over your cooker makes you want to cry.

Or maybe that's just me.

We eat lots of noodle bowls this time of year as they come together quickly and taste good cold. The noodles I buy are brown rice noodles from Tesco that come in little nests. You pour boiling water from the kettle over them and 4 minutes later....pasta is done. Just about as long as it takes to stir fry the vegetables.

We do several variations of these with mostly the same vegetables, just a different sauce. And that's absolutely OK.

This one has quickly become a favourite and seems to make it into the rotation more than the others. If you use 2 noodle nests, it makes enough for 4-5 bowls. Perfect for two greedy vegans (with some leftovers.)

Coconut Lime Sauce Noodle Bowl

crushed garlic (we use about 4 cloves)
a TB of peeled and chopped ginger root
100g curly kale, destemmed and torn into bite sized pieces (about 4 cups)
half a pepper, sliced into strips
half a carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 noodle nests
2 TB sesame seeds (for garnish)

165ml coconut milk (I buy these tiny tins of coconut milk that are this size --see picture below--but this is roughly a half a cup plus a few TB coconut milk if you can 't get it in wee tins like me)
3 TB lime juice (from a bottle is fine)
1/2 tsp liquid sweetener (I use Golden Syrup)
1/4 tsp salt
2 TB tamari/soy sauce
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1. Make your sauce and set aside.
2. Tear up your noodle nests and put them in a small pot and boil your kettle.
3.  In a large pot cook your garlic and ginger in a splash of oil or water until the kettle boils.
4. Pour the boiling water over the noodle nests and set your time for whatever the package directions say--mine say 4 minutes. When done, drain the noodles and set aside.
5. As soon as you add the water to the noodles throw all the ingredients in a large pot and cook until softened. You may need to add a splash of water to help the kale along.
6. When it is ready, add the noodles and the sauce and heat until the sauce is bubbling.
7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Image result for full moon coconut milk
We have discovered these wee tins of coconut milk that are 4 for £1 at B&M Bargains. They are 165ml and perfect to add to a recipe. No more having to separate the coconut milk, freeze the other half or remember to have a second coconut recipe later in the week.

Stay tuned next week for some more quick and cool summer recipes.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl (1982)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

Last week we looked a short, funny version of Little Red Riding Hood by James Thurber. I feel sure that today's version by beloved British author Roald Dahl was influenced by Thurber.

Undoubtedly you know Roald Dahl. He is considered one of the best loved modern British children's authors having written such works as The Witches, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,  Fantastic Mr Fox, the BFG and The Twits just to name a few. He is also responsible for his unsettling tales for adults entitled Tales of the Unexpected which were adapted rather badly for the small screen. (They really are crap. Read the stories. They really are genius.)

He was born in Wales to Norwegian immigrants, served in the RAF in WWII and wrote one of the best short stories about his experience as a fighter pilot entitled Beware of the Dog. He wrote two cracking biographies of his life entitled Boy and Going Solo which really are ripping yarns.

This poem comes from his hilarious collection of fractured fairy tales entitled Revolting Rhymes. 

We have this on audio CD, but I have found it on video where someone shows the pictures while the CD plays. It is read by the wonderful actress Prunella Scales (Sybil faulty from Faulty Towers) and  her equally talented husband the actor Timothy West.

It is best known for delighting school children who dissolve into giggles at the way he rhymes the words flickers and knickers. (Knickers being underwear, specifically ladies underwear for my American peeps.)

You can see how he is clearly influenced by Thurber's version.

That's all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a Riding Hood of a different colour.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Spicy Sour Chickpea Chaat

Hello lovelies! I am a sucker for a free magazine. I will read recipes, tips and tricks, product reviews, enter competitions. I like to look at every recipe and see how I can "veganize" it.

Liking to bring home free magazines is slightly at odds with my Zero Waste initiative.  It is one of those things I am try to reconcile.At least  I can cut out interesting letters for craft projects and then recycle it.

Tesco do a decent free magazine and have recently added a Vegan logo to mark out appropriate dishes. There are several in each issue (more every time they publish) and I want to be able to try them and then feedback to the company about the fact that someone likes them and would they print more please.

This recipe caught my eye for it's simplicity (and I have simplified it even further using Mint Sauce as a cheat), colourfulness and looked like the perfect recipe for when the weather gets hot and you can't be arsed to turn on the stove for very long. It also cooks in less than 15 minutes--also perfect for a hot day after work when you are tired.

We've eaten it twice and you can easily throw in some cooked pasta or boiled potatoes to stretch it even further, but it makes a very generous 4 bowls. (5 bowls with added pasta or potatoes)

The recipe called for you to puree a 30g pack of mint and a 30g pack of coriander with a chilli and the juice of a lime. I didn't want to faff about with all that blending (not to mention the non-recyclable plastic bags around the fresh herbs), so i just subbed 3 TB mint sauce from a 55p jar and a TB lime juice from a squeezy bottle. And you know what? It was FINE.

The recipe also called for some pomegranate seeds. The only ones I could find cost £1 for a tiny single use plastic tub. Not doing that. I ended up buying frozen ones where you got 200g for £2. Yes, it still comes in a plastic bag, but I will get about 15 meals out of it. When it runs out I would probably replace it with dried cranberries, but who knows. They do add a pop of juicy sweet/tartness.

The recipe also called for one chopped tomato. One. I could only find anaemic looking ones loose and if I wanted some nice juicy red ones I would have to buy them on a plastic tray wrapped in crinkly plastic, so i just subbed 4 sun dried tomatoes from a jar.

Spicy Sour Chickpea Chaat

200g/1.5 cups frozen sweetcorn, defrosted (you could use a tin of sweetcorn that has been drained, but I always keep frozen on hand for quick meals) 
1 onion, chopped
4 sun dried tomatoes, blotted with paper towels and cut into little bits (or snipped into pieces with the scissors).
Half a pepper, chopped 
Half a cucumber, chopped
½ tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp garam masala
1 tin Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
3 TB mint sauce
1 TB lime juice

1. Defrost the corn in boiling water, drain and set aside.
2. Cook the onion in oil or a splash of water until softened.
3. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes and spices and stir to coat.
4. Add the sweetcorn, pepper, cucumber, chickpeas and pomegranate seeds and heat until pomegranate seeds are defrosted (if using cranberries, just take off of heat.)
5. Stir in the mint sauce and the lime juice.

That's literally it. It takes no time at all and you only have to heat it up to cook the onion. Mint Sauce is a Godsend. You can throw it over boiled potatoes or mix it into plain soya yogurt for a mint raita dip. And it's cheap. This Tesco jar cost 55p and makes 2-3 meals.
Tesco Mint Sauce 185G
I just wish it didn't say "delicious with lamb." Grrr...

But anyway, give this a go. It is really fresh tasting and summery.

We need a bit of that here in rainy Wales.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--The Little Girl and the Wolf by James Thurber (1939)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

For the past three weeks we have looked at versions of Little Red Riding Hood written in dialect. Now we are going to look at some more humorous versions of our tale.

This week we start with the classic  The Little Girl and the Wolf by James Thurber. Thurber was a cartoonist and one of the most famous humorists of his day. He was also well known for his short stories such as The Catbird Seat, The Night the Bed Fell and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (twice made into films.) His terrific use of satire was highlighted in such works as The Unicorn in the Garden. He was also the author of several wonderful children's books The 13 Clocks and The Wonderful O. 

Interestingly, he was virtually blind in one eye due to a childhood accident where his brother shot him in the eye with an arrow while they were playing William Tell. He also suffered from Charles Bonnet syndrome where a person with a loss of vision suffers from complex visual hallucinations. Because of his failing eyesight, his cartoons had an eerie, wobbly feel to them.  He once wrote that people said it looked like he drew them under water. Dorothy Parker, a contemporary and friend of Thurber, referred to his cartoons as having the "semblance of unbaked cookies." (according to Wikipedia.)

Image result for thurber little red

The Little Girl and the Wolf 

One afternoon a big wolf waited in a dark forest for a little girl to come along carrying a basket of food to her grandmother. Finally a little girl did come along and she was carrying a basket of food. "Are you carrying that basket to your grandmother?" asked the wolf. The little girl said yes, she was. So the wolf asked her where her grandmother lived and the little girl told him and he disappeared into the wood.

When the little girl opened the door of her grandmother's house she saw that there was somebody in bed with a nightcap and nightgown on. She had approached no nearer than twenty-five feet from the bed when she saw that it was not her grandmother but the wolf, for even in a nightcap a wolf does not look any more like your grandmother than the Metro-Goldwyn lion looks like Calvin Coolidge. So the little girl took an automatic out of her basket and shot the wolf dead.

(Moral: It is not so easy to fool little girls nowadays as it used to be.)

Stay tuned next week for a Revolting Rhyme.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

What We Ate Wednesday--Vegan Philly "Cheesesteak" Pasta

Hello lovelies! I take my food inspiration from where I can get it. I read all sorts of recipes (not just vegan ones) and sometimes I see something and think, "I can make that vegan!!"

This was the case when I saw one of those quick cooking demo recipe videos that people post on Facebook. This was posted by someone I know who was a meat eater, but I was fascinated by the recipe. It was for Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Pasta Shells.  I kept looking at it and thinking, "I could substitute lentils for the ground meat!" and "I could just use vegan cheese sauce made with nutritional yeast!" And most importantly of all, "I could just use regular GF pasta rather than faff about with stuffing the filling in giant pasta shells."

Ain't nobody got time for that.

I have a recipe for Savoury Lentils that I adapted from Dreena Burton's cookbook Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. I thought it would make a terrific ground beef substitute. The cheese sauce in the video was made half with milk and half with beef broth. I could just make a beefy stock with tamari/soy sauce and Marmite. (or rather Tesco Brand Yeast Extract, because real Marmite is owned by Unilever who tests on animals.)

We had it and it was OUTSTANDING. weirdly, it reminded me of Chef Boyardee from my childhood. The lentils make enough for two meals, so once we had lentils with roasted broccoli and lemon roast potatoes, but the second day we had it as Philly Cheesesteak.

I think from now on we may just have to have it as Philly Cheesesteak two days in a row. It was that good.

Vegan Philly "Cheesesteak"  Pasta
1 cup of brown or green lentils
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp mixed herbs/Italian herbs
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp whole grain mustard like Grey Poupon
1/2 tsp Blackstrap molasses (optional, but adds depth of flavour)
2 cups of vegetable stock 
1 tsp Marmite or yeast extract
2 TB tamari/soy sauce
5 oil packed sun dried tomatoes, blotted and snipped into bits
salt and pepper to taste

1. Put everything in a medium pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed and the lentils are soft. About 30 minutes.
2. Put half the cooked lentils aside to cool and refrigerate for another meal the next day.

While the lentils are cooking:
1. Cook the (GF) pasta according to package directions. For two people I used 1.5 cups pasta.

In another pot cook:
one onion sliced into rainbows
one sliced green  pepper 
2 TB tomato puree/paste
1. When ready, add half the lentils and heat until piping hot.

While the onions etc are cooking make the cheese sauce:
1 TB vegan butter
6 TB nutritional yeast flakes
1 TB (rice) flour
1/2 cup non dairy milk (I used soya milk)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp Marmite or yeast extract
1 TB tamari/soy sauce
1/2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, smoked paprika
1.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
2. Whisk remaining ingredients together in a small jug and slowly stream into melted butter.
3. Heat until bubbling and thickened, stirring constantly. It will be a dark orange sauce.

In your pot with onion, green pepper and lentils add the cooked pasta and hot cheese sauce and stir to coat.

This is so good. Comfort food at its best. It really reminds me of eating Chef Boyardee from a can, but in a good way.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Fairy Tale Friday--Ladle Rad Rotten Hut (1940)

Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I'll begin.

For the last two weeks we have looked at poems in dialect. The first week we looked at a poem in Hoosier dialect from Indiana, then last week we looked at one in Yiddish.

 Anguish Language is a whole different ballgame.

Image result for ladle red rotten hut
According to Wikipedia:

The Anguish Languish, an ersatz language constructed from English language words, was created by Howard L. Chace, who collected his stories and poems in the book Anguish Languish (Prentice-Hall, 1956).[1] It is not really a language but rather a homophonic transformation created as a work of humor. 

Example: "Mural: Yonder nor sorghum stenches shut ladle gulls stopper torque wet strainers." This means: Moral: Under no circumstances should little girls stop to talk with strangers.

Chace offered this description: "The Anguish Languish consists only of the purest of English words, and its chief raison d'ĂȘtre is to demonstrate the marvelous versatility of a language in which almost anything can, if necessary, be made to mean something else." His story "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" is "Little Red Riding Hood" re-written with similar-sounding words substituting for the original folk tale. A professor of French, Chace wrote "Ladle Rat Rotten Hut" in 1940 to demonstrate that the intonation of spoken English is almost as important to the meaning as the words themselves.

If you struggled with the last two weeks of dialect, this may be harder. Personally, I find this one the most fun as you really can make other words sound like English if you put the right intonation and inflection in.

To help you I am including a video where someone recites it. But why not give it a go and try to read it yourself before you listen?

Ladle Rad Rotten Hut 

Wants pawn term, dare worsted ladle gull hoe lift wetter murder inner ladle cordage honor itch offer lodge dock florist. Disc ladle gull orphan worry putty ladle rat cluck, an fur disc raison, pimple colder Ladle Rat Rotten Hut.
    Wan moaning, Rat Rotten Hut 's murder colder inset.
    "Ladle rat rotten hut, heresy ladle basking winsome burden barter an shirker cockles. Tick disc ladle basking tutor cordage offer groin-murder hoe lifts honor udder site offer florist. Shaker lake! Dun stopper laundry wrote! Dun daily-doily inner florist, an yonder no sorghum-stenches, dun stopper torque wet strainers."
    "Hoe cake, murder," resplendent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut, end tickle ladle basking and stuttered oft.
Honor wrote tutor cordage offer groin-murder, ladle rat rotten hut mitten anomalous woof.
    "Wail, wail, wail," set disc wicket woof, "Evanescent Ladle Rat Rotten Hut! Wares are putty ladle gull goring wizard ladle basking?"
    "Armor goring tumor groin-murder's," reprisal ladle gull. "Grammar's seeking bet. Armor ticking arson burden barter an shirker cockles."
    "Oh hoe! Heifer gnats woke," setter wicket woof, butter taught tomb shelf, "Oil tickle shirt court tutor cordage offer groin murder. Oil ketchup wetter letter, end den — oh bore!"
    Soda wicket woof tucker shirt court, end whinny retched a cordage offer groin-murder, picked inner windrow, an sore debtor pore oil worming worse lion inner bet. Inner flesh disc abdominal woof lipped honor bet, paunched honor pore oil worming, an garbled erupt. Den disk ratchet ammonol pot honor groin-murder’s nut cup an gnat-gun, any curled ope inner bet.
    Inner ladle wile, Ladle Rat Rotten Hut a raft attar cordage, an ranker dough ball. "Comb ink, sweat hard," setter wicket woof disgracing is verse.
    Ladle Rat Rotten Hut’s entity bet rum, end stud buyer groin-murder's bet.
"O Grammar!" crater ladle gull historically, "water bag icer gut! A nervous sausage bag ice!"
    "Battered lucky chew whiff, sweat hard ," setter bloat-Thursday woof, wetter wicket small honors phase.
    "O Grammar, water bag noise! A nervous sore suture anomalous prognosis!"
    "Battered small your whiff, doling," whiskered dole woof, ants mouse worse waddling.
    "O Grammar, water bag mouser gut! A nervous sore suture bag mouse!"
   Daze worry on-forger-nut ladle gull's lest warts. Oil offer sudden, caking offer carvers an sprinkling otter bet, disc hoard-hoarded woof lipped own pore Ladle Rat Rotten Hut an garbled erupt.

That's all for this week. Stay tuned next week where we explore some humorous versions of this tale.