Millet Salad

Never been a huge fan of couscous, far too dry unless you slather it in olive oil… which isn’t great either. Millet (Hirse in german) is somehow better.

Cook a small amount of millet in twice as much water (by volume) for five minutes, and then let it sit with top on the pan for another five minutes. Meanwhile cook thinly sliced button mushrooms in a pan. when the are soft take them of the heat, cut them through, and stir into millet. Leave the top off the pan now, so it can cool.

In a large bowl, mix:

  • chopped tomatoes
  • black olives
  • capers
  • minced garlic
  • cooked green beans, cut into small (several millimetre length)

Let it all sit for a while, and prepare the following:

  • cucumber, chopped small
  • lettuce, shredded
  • bunch of fresh cilantro (parsley would be fine, some sort of tabbouleh!)

When the millet has cooled down, but is still warm… add it to the large bowl, along with the other ingredients, and dress it all with rape seed oil and lemon juice.

If i’d had a fresh green chilli…

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7 a day (another)

Breakfast:

  • salad (lettuce, alfalfa, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, salad radishes, edamame)
  • miso soup (white radish, taro, napa cabbage)
  • half an apple

Lunch:

  • grilled aubergine with grated ginger
  • silken tofu
  • stir-fried pak-choi
  • genmai (brown rice)

Dinner:

  • salad (lamb’s lettuce, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, salad radishes, broccoli, grated carrot, red onion)
  • rest of yesterdays lentil stew

Sometime during the afternoon i had a banana and handful of nuts.

7 a day (again)

Breakfast:

  • salad (lettuce, cucumber, alfalfa, sunflower seeds, broccoli)
  • pineapple

Lunch:

  • yasai itame / japanese stir fly (cabbage, leek, carrot, onion, mushroom, grilled tofu, ginger, garlic)
  • pickled diakon (white raddish)
  • 2 dried figs
  • grapefruit

Dinner:

  • lentil stew (onions, garlic, chillis, savory, brown lentils, tomatoes)
  • salad (lamb’s lettuce, pear, walnuts, lemon juice, hemp oil)
  • bottle of red wine

Easter was a little “off the rails” but not horribly so… some pasta was involved, a falafel in durum, some rice. Nothing horrendous.

7 a Day?

For some reason this was interesting:

Five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – a familiar mantra for those concerned about their own and their children’s health – may not, after all, be enough, according to a new report by scientists, who suggest we should instead be aiming for seven a day, and mostly vegetables at that.

— Fruit and vegetable intake: five a day may not be enough, scientists say, Guardian

Made me wonder how many fruits / vegetables i eat a day. The whole “portions” things is obviously the point, so i thought i’d steer well clear of that, and just count how many different fruits / vegetables i eat on a normal day. Doubt i’ll be able to do this for more than a couple of days without getting bored… (you’ll no doubt be pleased to hear!)

1. Breakfast

  • half an apple
  • half a pear
  • banana
  • nuts, ~20g (1 brazil nut, 3 cashews, the rest walnuts / hazelnuts / almonds)

2. Lunch

  • bowl of split pea soup (split peas, onion, shitake mushrooms)
  • large salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, cooked green beans, new potatoes (cooked), carrot, avocado, red onion, broccoli (only the stem…), with hemp oil / apple vinegar)
  • two dried figs

Will update with Dinner after that happens… and here is dinner

3. Dinner

  • yasai itame (japanese stirfry) (cabbage, leek, carrot, onion, garlic, thai chili, smoked tofu, red onion, shitake mushrooms, nori (seaweed))
  • pickled turnip (julienned white turnip, plum vinegar)
  • Augusteiner Braeu München Edelstoff (carbs from beer!)
  • grapefruit

Should note that i’m currently on  my spring “reset” and therefore eating more vegetables and less carbs / fats than is perhaps usual. Breakfast is usually a bowl of some oat based cereal with soya milk, a banana, and nuts. Lunch would sometimes involve noodles or bread, but the above is actually pretty representative…

Edit: a rough count is ~25 different fruits / vegetable varieties in a day. Lets see what happens tomorrow.

Spicy Butternut Soup

This recipe is deeply unoriginal, but i’ve been making it quite a bit recently, and thought it would be good to write down.

  • one large butternut squash
  • one large yellow onion (or equivalent)
  • 1 thai chilli
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic
  • 10cm fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • salt

Put the chilli and a small amount of vegetable oil in a cold saucepan, and turn on the heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, add the salt to taste when the onions are getting soft. Add the garlic and ginger, roughly chopped, then the coriander powder. Let this mixture cook for a couple of minutes, being careful that it doesn’t burn (keep it moving). Then throw in the peeled, de-seeded, chopped squash, and cover with water. Add salt as necessary. Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, and then puree with a hand blender. Add water to adjust the consistency (it tends to end up pretty thick). Eat it with toasted pumpkin seeds, and proper german dark bread.

The end result is pretty spicy (from both the chilli and the ginger) and just the thing at the start of winter when you can still get relatively fresh, hard, butternut squash.

Coincidental Elephant Sedation

Been feeling a little disjointed and floaty the last couple of days. As if someone had put a warm blanket over some part of my mind, muffling the usual hubbub. It’s *horrible* feels like stupor; a terrible serenity…

“The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant. The rider is our conscious reasoning—the stream of words and images of which we are fully aware. The elephant is the other 99 percent of mental processes—the ones that occur outside of awareness but that actually govern most of our behavior.”

—  Jonathan Haidt, ref. in The Knowns and the Unknowns by John Gray (The New Republic)

In summary, someone or something has sedated my elephant!

Lying in bed last night drinking a mug of herb tea, one that we’d started drinking a few days earlier, i started looking up the ingredients Zitronenmelisse, Johanniskraut, Johannisbeerblätter, Lavendel, Thymian. You can probably guess most of those, lemon balm, raspberry leaves, lavender, thyme… but, Johanniskraut, Johann’s herb, what’s that?  That, it turns out, is St. John’s Wart.

The most common adverse effects reported are gastrointestinal symptoms, dizziness, confusion, tiredness and sedation.

This isn’t the first time that i’ve tried taking it, and i’m pretty sure it had similar effects. It’s always difficult to separate the effect from the placebo, but in this case it was a pretty blind test. Maybe i should try it again the next time the black dog gets the upper hand… at worst i’d just sleep it off in a serene stupor.

For now the elephant shall be taken to fresher watering holes. Missing my mind.

Lazy Sundays

The Elbe in Winter.

Instructions for use.

Preferably a Sunday afternoon. Take the Number 62 boat to Neumühlen, or walk down from Altona to the river. Keep heading out of town on Övelgönne, until you find a route down onto the beach. You should have found Strandperle. Meet, or turn up with, friends. Order Glühwein, with or without shots of rum. Now sit and watch the tide lap up onto the terrace, as the sun sinks lower and lower in the sky. Feel the ♥.

You are now enjoying Hamburg. Congratulations!