Daily Prompt: Elegance

I’m not a bad cook by any standards, but somehow my version of any given food dish never looks neat and tidy once put on the plate. None of this minimal bite-sized fiddly delicate artistic presentation for me. If I had to find a food-description genre to fit my cooking it would probably be ‘rustic’.

My food offerings inevitably overflow all around the edges, voluptous portions that are heartily satisfying in taste and texture. I particularly love thick creamy sauces and rich gravies poured generously over juicy cuts of meat and chunky vegetables served on solid, robust plates. Edible it may be, but elegant it is not πŸ™‚

Daily Prompt: Elegance

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Serendipitous – Flapjack Cookie Recipe

I’ve always loved flapjacks – there’s something sublime (not to mention sweet and sticky and chewy) about the magical combination of oats, syrup, sugar and butter baked into a bar. So when I saw a recipe for flapjack cookies posted by Ellin Curley on Serendipity, I felt it was simply meant to be!

There are loads of different recipes for flapjacks – some can include flour as well as oats, and all tend to have slightly different ratios of the main ingredients. Ellin’s recipe seemed to fit my expectations, with the addition of a little dessicated coconut which sounded lovely, so this afternoon I decided to give it a go…

I melted my wet ingredients together, added them to my dry ingredients, and mixed thoroughly in a large bowl. But instead of pressing it all down into a flat shallow tin as I usually would, I divided the mix into 24 individual teaspoon-sized heaps, and put the cookies into the oven.

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From Ellin’s photographs of her finished cookies, they seem flatter, smoother surfaced and much more delicate than mine – more like a regular oatmeal cookie than a fat, chewy flapjack. Although I did follow the recipe exactly, my cookies are altogether thicker and far more rustic looking, more like my usual traditional flapjack texture – definitely less than elegant. I think my rolled oats are a lot chunkier than Ellin’s.

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And I have to report that flapjack cookies are absolutely scrumptious – just like the rectangular traybake flapjacks I know and love, but far less dense and more crunchy and crumbly because of it. Thank you so much for the serendipitous inspiration Ellin. Yum! πŸ™‚

Ditching the Diet of Denial

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Today’s lunch of choice was smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on wholegrain toast – and it was yum! I’ve been trying so hard since the end of last month to eat more healthily, but quite simply it doesn’t come naturally to me. Or rather, I find ONLY eating healthy options doesn’t come easily – my problem is eating perfectly wholesome meals at meal times AND still nibbling on high fat/ sugar treats in between times too!

I’m the world’s worst emotional eater – I eat not only when I’m hungry, but also when I’m sad, tired, lonely, bored… you name it, I eat because of it. I grew up swallowing down my disappointments, rewarding myself and healing my hurts with food, and it’s proving to be a really hard habit to kick. For now I’m just taking it all day by day, by keeping an open mind on making any choices about what to eat one meal, one snack at a time.

I’m finding it so difficult to try to change my whole attitude to eating, to recognise and remind myself each time I reach for something tempting to soothe my soul that I tend to use these unhealthy treats to feed my emotions rather than fuel my body. So instead of focusing negatively on the feelings of restriction, on what I’m not allowing myself to have, I’m trying toΒ think in terms of providing positive nutrition while not compromising on taste.

I’ve got a long way to go, but for me it certainly seems to be working to be keeping it simple, breaking it down into bite-sized chunks, planning no further than my next meal. I don’t doubt that ditching the diet of denial is going to be difficult, and I’m bound to falter amd stumble along the way. But somehow every time I do choose sensibly, it builds my confidence to imagine that maybe someday I can change the habits of a lifetime, one day at a time… πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: Snack

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Today’s nibbly snack-based lunch… smoked ham, chorizo, cheese, olives, and tomato with ground black pepper πŸ™‚

I’m trying hard just now to make a conscious effort to make healthier food choices, especially as I’m not only an emotional eater but also one of life’s natural grazers, so I have to be really careful not just to be cramming in a constant conveyor-belt of high fat and sugar options without really thinking about it.

The thing is, I do love lots of different foods, not just sweet stuff and deep-fried stuff, so I’m trying hard to move my focus from indulging my emotional needs to tempting my tastebuds with alternative flavours and textures to enjoy. I need to break some pretty long-standing overeating habits though, so it’s not going to be easy.

My middle-aged spread is making itself far too much at home for my liking, especially now I’ve hit menopause – I don’t want to resign myself to being fat and unfit for life just because I’m in my mid-fifties. So I’m just taking it all one day at a time for now, and I’ll see how it goes…Β  πŸ™‚

Daily Prompt: Snack

 

Daily Prompt: Juicy

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The first (and only!) thing that came straight to mind when I saw today’s Daily Prompt: Juicy was big fat juicy steaks. The thing is, in general I’m not a great beef eater – I far prefer lamb, pork, or chicken – but steak is kind of considered to be the king of meat, so I always go with the flow when visiting others who like to serve up a decent cut of steak for dinner.

And a visit to my brother-in-law in Louisiana simply wouldn’t be complete without the big outdoor barbecue grill being put to good use. And before you ask, yes, the steak tasted absolutely wonderful! πŸ™‚

Dodgy Syrup…

This morning I decided to make flapjacks, so a quick recce through my kitchen cupboards showed I had plenty of oats, margarine, and sugar – so far, so good. But the strangely solidified contents of my jar of golden syrup, already two-thirds empty, were looking decidedly dodgy – all crystallised and crunchy rather than smooth and silky. Hmmm…

Luckily, a quick blast in the microwave fixed the dodgy syrup, rendering it runny once more, and the flapjacks are now baking happily in the oven. But the short diversion made me think about a ‘dodgy syrup’ of another kind – those dubious half-hairpieces worn by men of a certain age (in order to cover a bald spot) known as a toupee…

The old Cockney rhyming slang of ‘syrup of figs’ for ‘wig’ is now common parlance here in the UK, but as people tend not to take syrup of figs any more to ‘keep them regular’, and modern men tend to wear their male-patterned bladness with pride so that toupees are pretty much defunct these days, I can’t help wondering if sooner or later the original etymology may soon become lost in the mists of time, while the slang word continues in use, apparently with no rhyme nor reason.

For example, ‘you stupid berk’ was a mild-mannered pejorative term I grew up hearing people called by respectable adults when the person doing the name-calling did not want to use bad language in public. And yet in the same way as ‘syrup’ is used as a common contraction for ‘syrup of figs’,Β  berk’ is actually a contraction for ‘Berkshire Hunt’, making it rhyming slang for my least favourite swear word beginning with ‘c’ – but perhaps I’ll leave you to work that one out for yourselves!

Or ‘cor blimey’ comes to mind as another of those supposed mild, harmless pseudo-expletives used in the past to indicate surprise – but this now meaningless-sounding phrase originally started out as ‘God blind me’, which was considered blaspehemous by some, so perhaps not so mild after all? Anyway, in the meantime, all this tangental thought has passed the time quite nicely, and my flapjacks are now cooling, almost ready to eat – time for elevenses, methinks! πŸ™‚

Chinatown – Chinese New Year

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The Chinese New Year of the Rooster has just begun – the formal celebrations took place over the weekend, but a meandering walk through London’s Chinatown this dull Monday afternooon showed all the red decorative lanterns still hanging in place above the streets… and the mouth-watering aromas emanating (as ever) from the open doors of the many restaurants in the area were so tempting… πŸ™‚

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