Wednesday, 31 July 2019

What We Ate Wednesday--Lemon Spaghetti

Hello lovelies! This recipe came about because we had a leftover lemon that needed be used up.

A lonely leftover lemon.

I looked at the luscious lonely leftover lemon and thought, "What can we do with you, little guy?"

Then I stopped alliterating.

I thought about the fact that we used to love Lemon Chicken and considered making a lemon sauce to drizzle over chickpeas. Because when you think about the meat you like to eat, what is it that *really* tastes good? Is it the meat? No. it is the sauce. The sauce is what is so good. So put that sauce on something else and save someone's life.

I was out of rice and potatoes, so i thought we could do some sort of lemon pasta. I started googling and stumbled up this: LEMON SPAGHETTI WITH SPINACH  from Vegan Heaven. I had kale in my fridge (I tend to always substitute kale for spinach anyway) and we had everything else. I thought I would add some sun dried tomatoes for a contrast in colour and a pop of flavour, but other than that I stuck to the recipe.

I also really liked that this was a one pot meal. It does cook really quickly especially if you kale is ready to go. We've had this twice...both after a long day at work and it was quick and easy.

It also is the perfect time to use those small tins coconut milk that are 4 for £1 at B&M Bargains.

Also, this works great with GF spaghetti too.

Lemon Spaghetti
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
2.5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk (one of those little tins in perfect)
juice of one fresh lemon
zest of one lemon (zest before you juice )
half a packet (GF) spaghetti (250g) 
salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
3-4 cups kale or spinach, destemmed and torn into bite sized pieces 
sun dried tomatoes (optional, but good)
1 tsp starch like tapioca or cornflour mixed with 1 TB cold water (optional for a thicker sauce)

1. Cook your onion in a splash of water until softened. Add your garlic and cook for a minute more.
2. Add your lemon juice, coconut milk and veggie stock and bring to a low boil. Break your spaghetti in half and add it to the pot and keep stirring every minute or so to make sure it is all submerged.
3. Reduce heat a little, keep stirring pasta so it doesn't clump together. It may take longer than normal for pasta to cook.
4. When pasta is al dente, add the kale or spinach and optional starchy slurry to thicken sauce. Keep stirring until pasta is cooked all the way through and greens are softened then add the lemon zest and optional sun dried tomatoes and add salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.

That's it. One pot...about 20 minutes...lemony slurpy pasta goodness.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Fairy Tale Friday--Maria Wood (Italy, 1877)

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

This week we look at another version of Maria wood collected by British traveller and folklorist Rachel Harriette Busk in her 1877 book Roman Legends: A Collection of the Fables and Folk-Lore of Rome. According to Wikipedia:

She collected tales from Italy, Spain, Mongolia and elsewhere. Her collection included folklore, supernatural events, legends of saints, and humorous anecdotal material.

This tale begins with a more devious mother than last week. This mother knows full well that the shoe is enchanted and won’t fit anyone else. She tells her husband that is free to marry again as long as the shoe fits while secretly congratulating herself on the fact that he won’t be able to. I suppose she hadn’t counted on her daughter, though.

Our story bears more similarities to last week’s version of Fair Maria Wood, but also a few key differences. The easiest distinction is that last week our heroine was simply a beautiful young woman in a wooden dress, but this week our heroine is in a full wooden animatronic old lady disguise. After asking for the traditional host of dresses, each more beautiful than the last she says, "but now you must send for the most cunning artificer in your whole kingdom, and let him make me a figure of an old woman just like life, fitted with all sorts of springs to make it move and walk when one gets inside it, just like a real woman."

It is in this disguise that she escapes and lives in a hut on the forest as a hen wife taking care of the poultry for the royal family. When she approaches the palace asking for a job, other servants try to shoo her away, but the prince takes pity on her and finds her a job as a hen wife. He often stops to gossip with her when he passes by her hut during one of his hunting expeditions.  This seems as though he has a soft heart for the old lady, but his true nature is revealed when she asks to go with him to the Carnival festino. He shouts at her and cuts her with his whip. The next day when she asks again to go with him, he strikes her with his boot and the last day when she says, “What'll you say if I come to it in spite of you?  He slaps her and replies, "You incorrigible old woman! You provoke me so with your nonsense, I really cannot keep my hand off you."

And so, despite the abuse when she is disguised as a helpless old woman, she continues to try to woo him at the festino in her beautiful gowns. Also like previous tales we have read, she tells him that she is from the countries of Whipblow, Bootkick and Slapland when he asks where she is from. In the end, he is pining for his beloved and is near death. She comes, in the guise of her old lady, offering to make him broth that will cure him. The prince (despite being near death) has enough energy to shout at her again and tell her she is a stupid old lady whose broth can’t cure him. He eventually wears himself out with all the shouting and she manages to get him some broth with the ring in it that he gave her. Well that cures him out of funk right away and they get married that same day.

I am always wary of people who do not treat children, animals and the elderly with respect. The fact that he will abuse an elderly woman because she dares to ask him a question does not bode well for their marriage. I fear when she grows old and wrinkled, he will replace her with a younger model.
Image result for wooden carved old  woman

Maria Wood source

They say, there was a king, whose wife, when she came to die, said to him, "When I am dead, you will want to marry again; but take my advice: marry no woman but her whose foot my shoe fits."

But this she said because the shoe was under a spell and would fit no one whom he could marry. The king, however, caused the shoe to be tried on all manner of women; and when the answer always was that it would fit none of them, he grew quite bewildered and strange in his mind.

After some years had passed, his young daughter, having grown up to girl's estate, came to him one day, saying, "Oh, papa; only think! Mamma's shoe just fits me!"

"Does it!" replied the simple king; "then I must marry you."

"Oh, that cannot be, papa," said the girl, and ran away.

But the simple king was so possessed with the idea that he must marry the woman whom his wife's shoe fitted, that he sent for her every day and said the same thing. But the queen had not said that he should marry the woman whom her shoe fitted, but that he should not marry any whom it did not fit.

When the princess found that he persevered in his silly caprice, she said at last, "Papa, if I am to do what you say, you must do something for me first."

"Agreed, my child," replied the king; "you have only to speak."

"Then, before I marry," said the girl, "I want a lot of things, but I will begin with one at a time. First, I want a dress of the colour of a beautiful noontide sky, but all covered with stars like the sky at midnight and furnished with a parure to suit it."

Such a dress the king had made and brought to her.

"Next," said the princess, "I want a dress of the colour of the sea, all covered with golden fishes, with a fitting parure."

Such a dress the king had made and brought to her.

"Next," said the princess, "I want a dress of a dark blue, all covered with gold embroidery and spangled with silver bells, and with a parure to match."

Such a dress the king had made and brought to her.

"These are all very good," said the princess; "but now you must send for the most cunning artificer in your whole kingdom, and let him make me a figure of an old woman just like life, fitted with all sorts of springs to make it move and walk when one gets inside it, just like a real woman."

Such a figure the king had made and brought it to the princess.

"That is just the sort of figure I wanted," said she;" and now I don't want anything more." And the simple king went away quite happy.

As soon as she was alone, however, the princess packed all the three dresses and many of her other dresses, and all her jewellery and a large sum of money, inside the figure of the old woman, and then she got into it and walked away. No one seeing an old woman walking out of the palace thought she had anything to do with the princess, and thus she got far away without anyone thinking of stopping her. On, on, on, she wandered till she came to the palace of a great king, and just at the time that the king's son was coming in from hunting.

"Have you a place in all this fine palace to take in a poor old body?" whined the princess inside the figure of the old woman.

"No, no! get out of the way! How dare you come in the way of the prince!" said the servants and drove her away.

But the prince took compassion on her and called her to him. "What's your name, good woman?" said the prince.

"Maria Wood is my name, your Highness," replied the princess.

"And what can you do, since you ask for a place?"

"Oh, I can do many things. First, I understand all about poultry, and then --"

"That'll do," replied the prince; "take her, and let her be the hen-wife, and let her have food and lodging, and all she wants."

So they gave her a little hut on the borders of the forest and set her to tend the poultry. But the prince as he went out hunting often passed by her hut, and when she saw him pass, she never failed to come out and salute him, and now and then he would stop his horse and spend a few moments in gossip with her.

Before long it was Carnival time; and as the prince came by Maria Wood came out and wished him a "good Carnival."

The prince stopped his horse and said, his young head full of the pleasure he expected, "Tomorrow, you know, we have the first day of the feast."

"To be sure I know it; and how I should like to be there; won't you take me?" answered Maria Wood.

"You shameless old woman," replied the prince, "to think of your wanting to go to a festino at your time of life!" and he gave her a cut with his whip.

The next day Maria put on her dress of the colour of the noontide sky, covered with stars like the sky at midnight, with the parure made to wear with it, and came to the feast. Every lady made place before her dazzling appearance, and the prince alone dared to ask her to dance. With her he danced all the evening, and fairly fell in love with her, nor could he leave her side; and as they sat together, he took the ring off his own finger and put it on to her hand.

She appeared equally satisfied with his attentions and seemed to desire no other partner. Only when he tried to gather from her whence she was, she would only say she came from the country of Whipblow, which set the prince wondering very much, as he had never heard of such a country. At the end of the ball, the prince sent his attendants to watch her that he might learn where she lived, but she disappeared so swiftly it was impossible for them to tell what had become of her.

When the prince came by Maria Wood's hut next day, she did not fail to wish him again a "good Carnival."

"Tomorrow we have the second festino, you know," said the prince.

"Well I know it," replied Maria Wood; "shouldn't I like to go! Won't you take me?"

"You contemptible old woman to talk in that way!" exclaimed the prince. "You ought to know better!" and he struck her with his boot.

Next night Maria put on her dress of the colour of the sea, covered all over with gold fishes, and the parure made to wear with it, and went to the feast. The prince recognized her at once, and claimed her for his partner all the evening, nor did she seem to wish for any other, only when he tried to learn from her whence she was, she would only say she came from the country of Bootkick.

The prince could not remember ever to have heard of the Bootkick country, and thought she meant to laugh at him; however, he ordered his attendants to make more haste this night in following her; but what diligence so ever they used she was too swift for them.

The next time the prince came by Maria Wood's hut, she did not fail to wish him again a "good Carnival."

"Tomorrow we have the last festino!" exclaimed he, with a touch of sadness, for he remembered it was the last of the happy evenings that he could feel sure of seeing his fair unknown.

"Ah! you must take me. But, what'll you say if I come to it in spite of you?" answered Maria Wood.

"You incorrigible old woman!" exclaimed the prince; "you provoke me so with your nonsense, I really cannot keep my hand off you;" and he gave her a slap.

The next night Maria Wood put on her dress of a dark blue, all covered with gold embroidery and spangled with silver bells, and the parure made to wear with it. The prince constituted her his partner for the evening as before, nor did she seem to wish for any other, only when he wanted to learn from her whence she was, all she would say was that she came from Slapland.

This night the prince told his servants to make more haste in following her, or he would discharge them all. But they answered, "It is useless to attempt the thing, as no mortal can equal her in swiftness."

After this, the prince fell ill of his disappointment, because he saw no hope of hearing any more of the fair domino with whom he had spent three happy evenings, nor could any doctor find any remedy for his sickness.

Then Maria Wood sent him word, saying, "Though the prince's physicians cannot help him, yet let him but take a cup of broth of my making, and he will immediately be healed."

"Nonsense! how can a cup of broth, or how can any medicament, help me!" exclaimed the prince. 

"There is no cure for my ailment."

Again Maria Wood sent the same message; but the prince said angrily, "Tell the silly old thing to hold her tongue; she doesn't know what she's talking about."

But again, the third time, Maria Wood sent to him, saying, "Let the prince but take a cup of broth of my making, and he will immediately be healed."

By this time the prince was so weary that he did not take the trouble to refuse. The servants finding him so depressed began to fear that he was sinking, and they called to Maria Wood to make her broth, because, though they had little faith in her promise, they knew not what else to try. So Maria Wood made ready the cup of broth she had promised, and they put it down beside the prince.
Presently the whole palace was roused; the prince had started up in bed, and was shouting, "Bring hither Maria Wood! Quick! Bring hither Maria Wood!"

So they ran and fetched Maria Wood, wondering what could have happened to bring about so great a change in the prince. But the truth was, that Maria had put into the cup of broth the ring the prince had put on her finger the first night of the feast, and when he began to take the broth he found the ring with the spoon. When he saw the ring, he knew at once that Maria Wood could tell where to find his fair partner.

"Wait a bit! There's plenty of time!" said Maria, when the servant came to fetch her in all haste; and she waited to put on her dress of the colour of the noontide sky.

The prince was beside himself for joy when he saw her and would have the betrothal celebrated that very day.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a tale from Portugal of a Princess who would not marry her father.

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

What We Ate Wednesday--Bounty Bites

Hello lovelies! This dessert came about as so many things do for me--in a dream.

I was dreaming about candy (as you do) as well as advertising jingles from the 70's (as I do...not sure anyone else does this.) I was dreaming about the old commercials for Mounds and Almond Joy. Do you remember those?

Sometimes you feel like a nut,
sometimes you don't.
Almond Joy's got nuts.
Mounds don't. 

I was dreaming about Mounds and how they compare to the British equivalent the Bounty Bar.  

Basically I was dreaming about chocolate covered coconut. Mmmmm...chocolate covered coconut. 

I know you could probably make a sticky coconut centre that you covered in chocolate, but in my dream the sticky coconut was stuffed into dates and then coated with chocolate, so that is what I did. 

So these are like a sticky coconut with a layer of caramel then covered in chocolate which made it taste quite a lot like German chocolate cake. Mmmmmmm.....

Bounty Bites
100g dark chocolate bar, chopped small
1 dozen big, soft dates
1/2 cup desiccated coconut (divided)--you will make some into sticky coconut filling and the rest will be sprinkled on top 
1 TB sticky liquid sweetener like agave or golden syrup
2 tsp coconut oil

1 Make the sticky coconut filling. In a food processor combine 1/3 cup plus 1 TB shredded coconut with the liquid sweetener and coconut oil and whizz to combine. 

2. In a double boiler (basically a glass bowl sat atop a pan with an inch or two of simmering water) or the microwave carefully melt the chocolate. If microwaving, check every 30 seconds and stir to prevent scorching. When melted remove from heat.

3. Meanwhile while chocolate is melting carefully pit the dates but try not to cut them in two, just slit them and pop the pit out.It should be like having a hinge on the back side, if that makes sense. If you accidentally cut through don't worry about. 

4. Fill each date with about a heaping half teaspoon sticky coconut filling and then close it up with most of the filling inside the date. If you accidentally cut a date in half, then just put the other half back on top of the coconut like a hat. 

5. With a spoon drop each date into the melted chocolate and roll it around to coat it on all sides.  Then carefully put it on the parchment paper and sprinkle with a little of the remaining  dried not sticky coconut while the chocolate is still warm so it will stick. I tend to do three chocolate covered dates, then coconut sprinkle, three more dates, then coconut sprinkle. You get the idea. 

6. When all are done, pop in the fridge to harden up. When the chocolate is hardened then peel them up from the parchment and store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

There may be a little sticky coconut left. Just put in the bowl with the remainder of the melted chocolate and  roll into balls for some bonus treats.

Or just eat it with a spoon directly from the bowl, cos that's what I did. 

Friday, 19 July 2019

Fairy Tale Friday--Fair Maria Wood (Italy, 1885)

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

This week we look at another tale from Italy collected by Thomas Frederick Crane in his 1885 Italian Popular Tales. Crane was an American folklorist, academic and lawyer who taught French, Italian, Spanish, and medieval literature. We looked at another of his Cinderella stories  HERE back in February.

Fair Maria Wood is another of those tales where the dying mother causes the hardship for her daughter later in life. It doesn’t seem a passive-aggressive selfish request like the ones that say, “don’t marry again unless you find someone as beautiful or wise as me.” She simply states that her ring has to fit the next wife well or her husband should not remarry at all. Perhaps this is just a more subtle tactic using the same logic as finding someone as beautiful or wise. I don't know. 

He can’t find someone that the ring fits and so he forces his daughter to try it and of course it fits. She protests and says she cannot marry her own father, but the story says he wanted to marry his daughter nolens volens. I had to look this term up as I was unfamiliar with nolens volens. It means “whether a person wants or likes something or not.”

She consents but asks for the usual things: many dresses each handsomer than the last and one not so usual thing—an airtight dress of wood that she might conceal herself in. You would think this request would arouse suspicion in her father/husband but it did not. Then she packs all her silk dresses in the wooden dress and throws herself into the river where she bobs like a cork and floats away.

She is taken in as a house servant claiming that she is so poor that all she has is a dress of wood. She is treated badly, first by the lady of the house who refuses her request to go to the ball by shouting that she was dressed so badly she would not be welcome and then the next day by her son who beats our heroine severely on the head with a stick for the impudence of a servant asking to go to the ball. The story says she wept but remained silent.

Despite the beating and the curious lack of bruises she once again dresses in her silk dress and goes to the ball to enchant him in her disguise. The gentleman is so bereft that he falls quite ill unto death and only the beautiful maiden can save him. She uses the diamond ring which he gave her to reveal her identity and the story ends with this speech:

"I am the woman dressed in wood who was your servant. It is not true that I was a poor girl, but I had that dress to conceal myself in, for underneath it I was the same that I am now. I am a lady; and although you treated me so badly when I asked to go to the ball, I saw that you loved me, and now I have come to save you from death.”

This, to me, does not bode well for their relationship. That is not what love is, Fair Maria Wood. I wish better things for you.
Image result for wooden barrel
Fair Maria Wood source
There was once a husband and wife who had but one child, a daughter. Now it happened that the wife fell ill and was at the point of death. Before dying she called her husband, and said to him, weeping, "I am dying; you are still young; if you ever wish to marry again, be mindful to choose a wife whom my wedding ring fits; and if you cannot find a lady whom it fits well, do not marry."

Her husband promised that he would do so. When she was dead he took off her wedding ring and kept it until he desired to marry again. Then he sought for someone to please him. He went from one to another, but the ring fitted no one. He tried so many but in vain. One day he thought of calling his daughter and trying the ring on her to see whether it fitted her. The daughter said, "It is useless, dear father; you cannot marry me, because you are my father."

He did not heed her, put the ring on her finger, and saw that it fitted her well, and wanted to marry his daughter nolens volens. She did not oppose him but consented. The day of the wedding, he asked her what she wanted. She said that she wished four silk dresses, the most beautiful that could be seen. He, who was a gentleman, gratified her wish and took her the four dresses, one handsomer than the other, and all the handsomest that had ever been seen.

"Now, what else do you want?" said he.

"I want another dress, made of wood, so that I can conceal myself in it." And at once he had this wooden dress made. She was well pleased. She waited until one day her husband was out of sight, put on the wooden dress, and under it the four silk dresses, and went away to a certain river not far off, and threw herself in it. Instead of sinking and drowning, she floated, for the wooden dress kept her up.

The water carried her a long way, when she saw on the bank a gentleman, and began to cry, "Who wants the fair Maria Wood?"

That gentleman who saw her on the water, and whom she addressed, called her and she came to the bank and saluted him.

"How is it that you are thus dressed in wood, and come floating on the water without drowning?"

She told him that she was a poor girl who had only that dress of wood, and that she wanted to go out to service.

"What can you do?"

"I can do all that is needed in a house, and if you would only take me for a servant you would be satisfied."

He took her to his house, where his mother was, and told her all that had happened, saying, "If you, dear mother, will take her as a servant, we can try her." In short, she took her and was pleased with this woman dressed in wood.

It happened that there were balls at that place which the best ladies and gentlemen attended. The gentleman who had the servant dressed in wood prepared to go to the ball, and after he had departed, the servant said to his mother, "Do me this kindness, mistress: let me go to the ball too, for I have never seen any dancing."

"What, you wish to go to the ball so badly dressed that they would drive you away as soon as they saw you!" The servant was silent and when the mistress was in bed, dressed herself in one of her silk dresses and became the most beautiful woman that was ever seen. She went to the ball, and it seemed as if the sun had entered the room; all were dazzled. She sat down near her master, who asked her to dance, and would dance with no one but her. She pleased him so much that he fell in love with her. He asked her who she was and where she came from. She replied that she came from a distance but told him nothing more.

At a certain hour, without anyone perceiving it, she went out and disappeared. She returned home and put on her wooden dress again. In the morning the master returned from the ball, and said to his mother, "Oh! if you had only seen what a beautiful lady there was at the ball! She appeared like the sun, she was so beautiful and well dressed. She sat down near me and would not dance with anyone but me."

His mother then said, "Did you not ask her who she was and where she came from?"

"She would only tell me that she came from a distance; but I thought I should die; I wish to go again this evening." The servant heard all this dialogue, but kept silent, pretending that the matter did not concern her.

In the evening he prepared himself again for the ball, and the servant said to him, "Master, yesterday evening I asked your mamma to let me, too, go to the ball, for I have never seen dancing, but she would not; will you have the kindness to let me go this evening?"

"Be still, you ugly creature, the ball is no place for you!"

"Do me this favour," she said, weeping, "I will stand out of doors, or under a bench, or in a corner so no one shall see me; but let me go!"

He grew angry then and took a stick and began to beat the poor servant. She wept and remained silent.

After he had gone, she waited until his mother was in bed, and put on a dress finer than the first, and so rich as to astonish, and away to the ball! When she arrived all began to gaze at her, for they had never seen anything more beautiful. All the handsomest young men surrounded her and asked her to dance; but she would have nothing to do with anyone but her master. He again asked her who she was, and she said she would tell him later.

They danced and danced, and all at once she disappeared. Her master ran here and there, asked one and another, but no one could tell him where she had gone. He returned home and told his mother all that had passed. She said to him, "Do you know what you must do? Take this diamond ring, and when she dances with you give it to her; and if she takes it, it is a sign that she loves you." She gave him the ring. The servant listened, saw everything, and was silent.

In the evening the master prepared for the ball and the servant again asked him to take her, and again he beat her. He went to the ball, and after midnight, as before, the beautiful lady returned more beautiful than before, and as usual would dance only with her master. At the right moment he took out the diamond ring and asked her if she would accept it. She took it and thanked him, and he was happy and satisfied. Afterwards he asked her again who she was and where from. She said that she was of that country,
That when they speak of going to a ball
They are beaten on the head

and said no more. At the usual hour she stopped dancing and departed. He ran after her, but she went like the wind, and reached home without his finding out where she went. But he ran so in all directions, and was in such suffering, that when he reached home, he was obliged to go to bed more dead than alive. Then he fell ill and grew worse every day, so that all said he would die. He did nothing but ask his mother and everyone if they knew anything of that lady, and that he would die if he did not see her. The servant heard everything; and one day, when he was very ill, what did she think of? She waited until her mistress's eye was turned and dropped the diamond ring in the broth her master was to eat. No one saw her, and his mother took him the broth. He began to eat it, when he felt something hard, saw something shine, and took it out. You can imagine how he looked at it and recognized the diamond ring! They thought he would go mad. He asked his mother if that was the ring and she swore that it was, and all happy, she said that now he would see her again.
Meanwhile the servant went to her room, took off her wooden dress, and put on one all of silk, so that she appeared a beauty, and went to the room of the sick man. His mother saw her and began to cry, 

"Here she is; here she is!" She went in and saluted him, smiling, and he was so beside himself that he became well at once. He asked her to tell him her story: who she was, where she came from, how she came, and how she knew that he was ill.

She replied, "I am the woman dressed in wood who was your servant. It is not true that I was a poor girl, but I had that dress to conceal myself in, for underneath it I was the same that I am now. I am a lady; and although you treated me so badly when I asked to go to the ball, I saw that you loved me, and now I have come to save you from death." You can believe that they stayed to hear her story. 

They were married and have always been happy and still are.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for an even more bizarre version of Maria Wood next week.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

What We Ate Wednesday--Spag Bol with Walnut Meat

Hello lovelies! Summer is upon us and I want healthy meals that are easy to cook and don't take ages slaving over a hot stove with no air conditioning. Pasta is always a good option and there are some great Gluten free pastas out there.

I love Spaghetti Bolognese aka Spag Bol aka pasta with meat sauce. I make an amazing one with lentils in place of ground meat but it takes AGES for the lentils to cook and while this is delicious, if I have come home late from work and am hungry, I don't have time to wait ages for lentils to cook. I get HANGRY (Hungry + Angry.)

Don't make me HANGRY. You won't like me when I am HANGRY.

But then I thought....why not just use my WALNUT TACO MEAT to make it go quicker. This was a HUGE success. It was meaty and delicious and came together quickly as you don't have to cook the walnuts.

Plus, you don't use all the walnut meat...there was enough for another quick meal the next day. Bonus!

Spag Bol with Walnut Meat

1 onion, finely diced
half a red pepper, diced
lots of garlic
1/4 cup red wine (optional but adds flavour--I am told you could sub strong brewed tea for wine but i can't vouch for this) 
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 TB tomato puree
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
1 tsp stock powder or half a crumbled stock cube 
1/4 to half cup water
some chopped sun dried tomatoes (optional but yum)

Whatever you fancy--enough for 2 people. I used 2 cups GF fusilli (rotini to my US peeps) pasta. 

 Walnut Meat

1.5 cups walnuts
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 TB tamari or soy sauce

Pulse the walnuts in your food processor until they resemble coarse crumbs. Take out the blade and stir in everything else. Mix well. That's it. Meat in under 5 minutes.

1. Start cooking your onion and pepper in a splash of oil or water and add garlic when onion is softened. When onion is soft, start your water boiling for pasta. (I boil a few inches of water in a pot while heating the kettle. When kettle is boiled, add to pot and put the lid on--your water will be boiling in no time.) 
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the sauce and let it simmer while the pasta water comes to the boil.
3. Make your walnut meat and scoop out 1 cup for this recipe. Put the rest aside for another meal. 
4. Cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce and stir in the one reserved cup of walnut meat. 

Serve topped with vegan Parmesan cheese. (I took the picture first without cheese.) You can add something like Good Carma or make your own. 

My Vegan Parm
3 TB nutritional yeast flakes
3 TB almond meal (ground almonds) 
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

This took about 30 mins and was really delicious. Dare I say I almost I like it better than the lentil version? 

Friday, 12 July 2019

Fairy Tale Friday--Broomthrow, Brushthrow, Combthrow (Austria, 1864)

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

This week we look at an Austrian tale by Germanic scholar Theodor Vernaleken. He was a teacher of German language and literature, a school reformer and later a school inspector. He also collected legends, myths, tales and customs from the Alpine countries. The story of Broomthrow, Brushthrow, Combthrow was published in his 1864 book  Österreichische Kinder- und Hausmärchen: Treu nach mündlicher Überlieferung (Austrian Children's and Household Tales: Faithful to Oral Tradition.)

I will begin by saying this is one of the few tales that actually gives our female protagonist a name. (In this case Adelheid.) Both she and her mother were born with a gold cross on their forehead and after her mother’s death her father says he will only marry someone else with the gold cross marking. He doesn’t outright pressure her and he isn’t a sex pest like in other tales. He says he will look for a woman with a gold cross on her forehead for a year and day and if one cannot be found he will marry her. This basically gives her a year and day to escape, which she does. She doesn’t need to plead or bargain or ask for gifts to stall the marriage. When her father leaves, she packs up her belongings and several of her trusted servants and departs in her carriage.

Together she sets up house with her servants and has her chief servant Gotthold go round the castle to enquire whether they had any jobs going for his “niece.” Now, if she is rich enough to set up house with a bunch of servants, why does she need to get a job as a kitchen maid? The story says, Adelheid had often stated that she wanted to earn her bread with the work of her own hands which to me smacks of slumming it for a lark like that song by Pulp that says:

I want to live like common people,
I want to do whatever common people do.

Also, every night she is given leave to sneak to the ball and watch the rich people dance, she simply goes home and has her servants wash her and dress her then she has them rough her up a bit before she goes back to work. I really don’t see why, if she is rich enough to do this, she can’t just go to the ball as herself and meet the prince. Why all the sneaking about? Why the disguise? Why the subterfuge?

Anyway, she finally meets the prince and he is a two-faced sort of character. He is repeatedly abusive to her in her guise as a servant throwing a broom, brush and comb at her head. This does not stop her from pursuing him and teasing him in her posh disguise. When he asks what exotic place she is from she replies Broomthrow, Brushthrow and Combthrow. It is his frustration in not finding these places on a map that causes him to lose his temper and assault her. Why she thinks this makes him good husband material I do not know. Look at how someone treats waiters and animals to know if they are good person or not. That is my philosophy.

In the end, a ring is used to snare her prince and she can stop slumming it and throw off her disguise and marry him. Her father came home from his travels and discovered she was already married and had to accept his fate.

Broomthrow, Brushthrow, Combthrow source

In a castle there once lived a count by the name of Rudolf. His wife had a golden cross on her forehead. Their daughter Adelheid had the same mark on her forehead. When she was twenty years old her mother suddenly died.

The count's and his daughter's sorrow and grief were endless. After the mother's burial, the father and his child locked themselves in their rooms and were seldom seen.

After a month had passed, the count had his daughter brought to his room and said to her, "Dear child, you know how much I loved your mother. I cannot live without a wife. Therefore I am going out into the world to seek a wife who -- like your blessed mother -- has a golden cross on her forehead. If I do not find such a woman within a year and a day, then I will marry you."

When Adelheid heard these words she was very upset, and she silently withdrew. The next morning Count Rudolf departed, promising to return within a year and a day.

When Adelheid was alone she considered whether or not it would be possible for her father to find a woman with such a cross. Then she remembered that her mother had once told her that except for her and Adelheid, no one on the entire earth had such a cross.
She decided to go away. She would rather earn her bread with the work of her own hands than to eat the finest tidbits at her father's table as his wife. She entrusted one of her loyal servants with her plan, and they made preparations to depart.

She secretly loaded her valuables, her jewelry, her gold, and her clothes into several large carriages. During the night she drove off with them, accompanied by her servant Gotthold and several others who were loyal to her. They came to a large city where she rented a house and moved into it with her servants.

Adelheid had often stated that she wanted to earn her bread with the work of her own hands. Therefore Gotthold sought a position for his mistress in the city. He learned that there was an opening for a kitchen maid in the castle of Prince Adolf. Thus he went to the chief cook and asked him if he would be willing to hire his niece, for that is what he called the countess. As he talked further with the chief cook, Gotthold recognized in him a friend whom he had not seen for many years. He told him that his brother had died, leaving a daughter in his care. The chief cook agreed to hire her.

The loyal servant happily returned to the countess and remained in the rented house.
Adelheid now dyed her face, neck, and hands brown; covered her golden cross and her hair with a large head-scarf; took off her magnificent robes, putting on instead old, dirty, torn 
clothing; and presented herself to the chief cook.

She was given a small room where she could sleep and keep her things. Slowly she grew accustomed to her job, even though she was exhausted by the hard work.

Until now she had not yet seen the prince. One day he invited all his friends and acquaintances to a great ball. On the morning of the ball, Adelheid was sweeping the staircase, when the prince, without being seen by her, walked up and tipped over the dust pail, thus dirtying his boots. As she was fleeing, he angrily ripped the broom from her hands and threw it at her.

That evening as the hall was filling with people, the young countess went to the chief cook and asked him for permission to go to the ball.

He replied, "No, I cannot allow you to do that. What if the prince were to find out!"

Adelheid continued to beg, until he finally said, "Just go. But don't stay too late, and if you get anything, bring some back for me as well."

Now she went to Gotthold's house, changed her clothes, washed away the colour, and ordered up a splendid carriage in which she rode to the prince's.

When the guests saw the splendid carriage approaching in the distance, they all hurried outside and said, "A foreign lady! A beautiful lady!"

The prince hurried toward her, lifted her from her carriage, and led her up the stairs. She had to dance with him the entire evening and to sit next to him at the table. After eating, he asked her what her name was and where she came from.

"My name is Adelheid, and I come from Broomthrow," replied the countess.

At twelve o'clock she left, and with her the majority of guests.

Arriving at home she quickly got undressed, coloured herself brown, and took three gold pieces which she gave to the chief cook, claiming that she had stood behind a door and had received the gold from an old woman.

The next morning the prince looked for Broomthrow on his maps, but he could not find it. He wanted to ask her about her home city once again, but because he did not know where she lived, he invited his friends to a second ball.

On the morning of the second ball Adelheid was brushing her clothing when the prince, without being seen, came up the stairs. She turned around and dropped the brush, which fell onto the prince's feet. Angrily Adolf picked up the brush and threw it at the embarrassed countess's head.

That evening the chief cook once again allowed her to go the ball, and she took advantage of his permission. At the ball Adolf told her that he had not been able to find Broomthrow.

"How could you be looking for Broomthrow?" she replied. "I said Brushthrow."

Once again they danced together, and as midnight approached she went home. She brought the chief cook a gold band, claiming that she had received it as a gift.

The next morning the prince looked for Brushthrow but could not find it. He then invited his friends and acquaintances to a third ball, which was to be even more magnificent than the first two.

On the eve of the ball, shortly before the festivities were to begin, Adelheid, contrary to custom, was combing her hair in the castle. The prince, displeased because the foreign lady had not arrived yet, walked up the stairs just as the countess dropped her comb. Prince Adolf picked it up and threw it at the kitchen servant's head. She quickly withdrew, changed her clothes, and went to the ball.

At the table the prince said that he had not been able to find Brushthrow anywhere.

"I can believe that," she said. "I called the place Combthrow." He didn't want to believe her, but she argued with him until he finally gave in. Before she left, he placed a ring on her finger, without her noticing it.

The next morning the prince was not well, and he asked a chief cook to make soup for him. 

The latter announced this in the kitchen, and Adelheid asked for permission to make the soup. 

But he said, "If you put something in the soup that doesn't belong there, then I am the one who will be punished."

She replied, "I will not put anything wrong in it." She made the soup, and without being seen, she threw the prince's ring into the soup.

The prince poured the soup into a dish and heard something jingle. He felt around and fished out the ring. Amazed, he then asked who had made the soup.

"The kitchen maid" was the answer.

Adolph ordered his servant, "Bring her here."

She hurriedly put on the dress that she had worn the previous evening, and when the prince saw her, he recognized his dance partner. She now had to tell him her life story, and soon afterward he married her.

In the meantime her father had come home, and when he discovered that his daughter had already married, he had to accept his fate.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for the tale of Fair Maria Wood