Month: February 2015

Chillaf aka Chilli Pilaf, 50p (VEGAN) (MICROWAVE)

I’m a few days into the microwave cooking project since I gave up my oven for Lent and I have to say, I’m having a blast. I’ve set up a test kitchen in a corner with a fridge, microwave and kettle, and it’s like learning to cook all over again. Today I poached an egg for lunch, and mucked it up – I am completely out of my comfort zone and learning new things all the time, but what I’m hoping to achieve at the end of it is a useful resource for people to take into their offices,...

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The Joy Project

Yesterday, a very kind man asked me to name three things recently that have brought me joy. I was a bit down in the dumps (to put it very, very mildly), it wasn’t an out of the blue question. I paused. “My son. My kids. They bring me joy. They’re so funny, if you just listen to them and their funny little ways, the questions they ask, the gratefulness for small things (sometimes), the kids, they laugh so much. They bring me joy.” He nodded, and gestured for me to carry on. “And… The day before yesterday I found...

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Breakfast sardines, spinach, and a mug-baked-egg, 71p (MICROWAVE)

Baking eggs in the microwave is an egg-splosive roulette, where every second and wattage seems to count! I’ve done it for a few days running now, to try to test the waters before sharing my accrued wisdom on the subject, only to find I’m three days in and still none the wiser! I thought I’d cracked it (no pun intended, but giggle if you want), when this morning I heard a BANG! Thirty seconds in, and my egg had completely flown out of the mug and was sitting on the microwave plate, smugly going round and round, having decided to break free from its white china prison and make a run for it. I congratulated it…….by spearing a fork into it and eating the bugger. So, eggs. From what I can work out, crack it into a fat-bottomed mug (the kind that make the rockin’ world go round…) My mistake this morning was using a mug with a skinny bottom, and the microwave pressure built up in the smaller space, and the egg made a run for it. Theoretically. Gosh, it’s actually like learning to cook all over again. Then pierce the yolk with a knife, fork, or your wit if it’s sharp enough – THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. The yolk cooks faster than the white, so leaving the membrane intact will cause your yolk to make a bid...

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The man who lives in his car, and giving my range cooker up for Lent…

A few days ago I interviewed the wonderful, resourceful, innovative and very charming Nick Andrew for an upcoming feature for BBC Radio 4. For those who don’t know Nick, he’s a man who has lived in his car for the last eight years. Yes, lived in his car for eight years. And still does. We talked Trangias and Sporks, travel kettles, disposable cutlery, and how to boil an egg in a kettle. I left the passenger seat of his green estate brimming with a head full of ideas – not least the romantic dream of gallivanting around the country...

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Sort-of paella, 67p

The star of the show in this paella is the simple coloured rice, cooked al dente, accentuated with bright red tomatoes and little green peas. This recipe is delicious on its own, or can be used as a base. Feel free to add chopped peppers, seasonal vegetables, any meat or fish of your choice, a glass of white wine, a splash of sherry – whatever your budget or your cupboard will allow. But for me, nothing beats a fistful of tiny little prawns, half a cup of peas and a spoon to eat it with. Traditional paella uses saffron...

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