Church of the Latter Day Lapsed Buddhists
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Diary and Notes
I'm worried about starvation. Not only am I failing to get all my eight essential amino acids with every meal and I'm leeching iron faster than a Russian chemical factory, this vegetarian nonsense is leaving me with a near permanent hunger. Normally, when I go to bed of an evening, I'm fine. Now, I feel the urge for a little smackerel or something to tide me over. I've even taken to snacking a banana and some yoghurt during the day. I'm turning into a grazer - losing that keen, killer edge of the hunter that I am and becoming a pansy arsed nibbler of grass. This can't go on my friends, one week and that's my lot. If some crazed, eco-fascist government ever makes eating meat illegal, I shall eat them. It's the only way.
So what is for dinner today? A simple, light pasta dish, with some artichoke heart, olives and pesto. Sounds like something those theatre studies students I'm always having a go at might adore. That's just what I need tonight, after a hard day sitting on my bum and watching simulations of coupled phase oscillators whizzing around on my computer screen - and a glass of white Bordeaux that we never managed to open at the weekend. Yes folks, this will be vegetarian nirvana, though a trip to one of the hells where I'm forced to hunt, kill and eat, giant wild boar all day, is sounding like a much more exciting prospect.
No Jon! You don't need meat. For this week you are not only eating as a vegetarian, you are a vegetarian. Don't just live the dream, be the dream. Bore your friends witless with hours of lectures on how, if they live off lentils and rice, it takes only one acre to feed a family of six, but takes fifty acres to rear a single cow and involves cutting down two thousand trees in the rain forest. Yes, that's the spirit - hyperbole. I'm on a roll now folks. Did you know that the average cow produces more greenhouse gasses than seventeen hybrid Smart cars! Or that the acid from the excrement of battery farmed chickens is slowly dissolving its way through the soil of Belgium and that the low countries are now a full three metres lower than sixty years ago. This is all true and honest vegetarian fact. Also, static electricity build up from sheep rubbing their lanolin covered coats on barbed wire fences in the Welsh hills, accounts for more deaths by electrocution, than faulty wiring in Guatemala. I am the vegetarian Moses. Come to me my chosen few and I will lead you to the promised land of milk and honey (that's soya milk of course and because stealing honey from hard working bees is 'just sooo unfair', the honey has to be replaced with pureed fruit, but that's all ok isn't it?) And everything is Soil Association certified. "Hosanah! Hosanah! Sing hosanah to the king of veggies!"
I may be losing my marbles on account of protein deficiency.
That aside, my pasta dish was truly scrumptious. It was the sort of thing I'd have served up to my friend Marcello and his girl Marika if they came for dinner (just like everybody from those areas on the atlas that during the Empire days weren't painted pink, they too are vegetarians - it's a disease spreading across Europe faster than the Black Death). The artichokes are those extremely tasty pickled ones you buy from the antipasti section of the supermarkets or deli. They're a bit of a luxury, but as I'm not buying meat and Carrie gave me some for free anyway, what's the problem. I didn't make my own pesto but bought some pre-made. Don't over pesto the sauce, use just enough to give it a green tinge and a hint of basil. As vegetarian pasta dishes go this was a cracker. If I bought this in a restaurant I would certainly not complain. If I had a few courgette flowers as well, that would have made this dish into something you'd pay quite a bit of money for at Chez Posh. Bon Apetit mes amis.
Yoghurt Cake: A light, fluffly, moussy cake, with some satsumas on top, very good. It is a testament to the attention to detail of the German baker, that a very thin piece of rice paper was placed under the satsumas, to stop them from disolouring the top of the cake.
Spaghetti with Artichokes, Courgette, Olives and Pesto,
Chatuex Les Vergnes, Bordeaux (2003)
Spaghetti, onions, olive oil, garlic, white wine, pesto, black olives, courgette, pickled artichoke hearts, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, salt.
Gently fry the onion and garlic in some oil from the pickled artichokes. When softened, add some white wine and reduce to about 1/2 volume. Put the spaghetti on to boil. Add some pesto to the wine sauce, stir well. Slice the courgette very thinly and cut the artichoke into chunks, cut the olives into halves. Add the sliced courgettes to the sauce and put the lid on to let them steam. Don't move them around too much as they'll break. When the pasta is cooked, stir in the olives and artichokes into the sauce, drain the pasta and mix the pasta into the sauce. Grind on some pepper, a touch of salt and handfulls of fresh Parmesan cheese. Serve with some fresh ciabatta bread.