Back on the Food Wagon

This year seems to have been a real doozy for some pretty nasty colds – I don’t know anyone who has escaped completely unscathed. I myself have had three in relatively quick succession, its been awful! The first two were fairly basic colds, but just as I was getting over the second, I came down with a really fluey strain that I’m still working out of my system 2 weeks later – it was awful, I could barely move and spent two days off work just sat in front of the tv watching Stargate on Netflix, which is very unlike me even if I’m sick! But the worst thing for me when I’m ill isn’t how rough I’m feeling, or being housebound – its how being unwell completely takes away any interest in food šŸ˜¦

Don’t get me wrong, I can still eat, but I’m only eating because I know I have to – feed a cold, starve a fever as the old saying goes. But it’s been a few weeks now where I’ve just not been enjoying food at all, and I find that really upsetting. I recently read a review from Gizzi Erskine about a juice detox retreat she did, and whilst she felt the benefits, the biggest drawback for her was the total absence of food, and as it is such a massive part of her life, it felt like there was a gaping hole she couldn’t fill. I think it’s similar to me – whilst food isn’t my career or anything, it’s a massive part of what makes me happy and what gets me excited and passionate. Hell we even plan our holidays and daytrips around food!

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Normally when I’m ill, I will have the Food Network on in the background as a pretty accurate indicator of when I’m starting to feel better – the food begins to look appetising again. As I mentioned, I didn’t even have the energy to think about changing from Stargate on Netflix to anything else, and even this past week as I’ve started feeling better, I’ve been in a bit of a foodie slump. I’ve pickedĀ a few duff new recipes, which is bound to happen now and again, but seems to be compounded by the fact that I’m just not enjoying the food anyway, and don’t quite have the brain function to see around the problems and work out how to fix the problems in the recipe as I go.

It’s not all been doom and gloom though – I’m trying to remember to cook more of my basic, classic recipes now and again, just so that I don’t have the stress of doing something for the first time every night. Last week I made mum’s bolognaise; a good, rich chunky beef bolognaise with extra pancetta and porcini mushrooms… I definitely don’t make it often enough šŸ˜€ and the best bit was, now we’ve discovered the perfection that is gnocchi, we can have half the portion with pasta one week, and the rest with gnocchi the week after! Heaven! The other thing that is got me through the past couple of weeks is the wonderful foodie memory of the soup my dad made for lunch on Boxing Day – it was without a doubt the best soup I’ve ever had. Butternut squash, leeks and potatoes, with all sorts of earthy spices like cumin, some chickpeas, then just to top it off some gorgeous caramelised onions, feta cheese and a delicious herby drizzle… My mouth is seriously watering just thinking about it. So, melodrama aside, at least I know through some weird side effect of my stinking cold my foodie obsession hasn’t been lost, I just need to get back on the foodie wagon again.

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On that note, this week I shall be making my all time favourite meal – it ends up being several meals actually – halloumiĀ couscous salad, with courgettes, cherry tomatoes and chickpeas. It is just beyond perfect – the saltiness of the halloumi against the sweet cherry tomatoes, the soft couscous against the firm chickpeas… And can be dished up immediately after serving for a warm salad dinner, or popped in the fridge for a few days worth of lunches that you will just never get bored of. The garlic and lime dressing finish it off beautifully, and it’s one of my favourite meals to make if I’m feeling a bit naff, it really is the best pick me up and I could eat it forever if I had to. Thank you BBC Good Food for introducing me to this foodie feast!Ā http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2394/summer-couscous-salad

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I’m also going back to something I’ve only made once or twice before, but the effort and flavour left it reserved for more special occasions – and I think that the endeavour to get me back on the foodie wagon deserves such a meal – slow cooked Thai beef curry. It has such an intense variety of flavours – and I think one of the first Thai meals I ever made. From what I gather it’s unusual to to have beef as the main meat ingredient in a Thai curry, particularly a green one, but it really works so well when it’s slow cooked and the beef is that tender. I’m really excited for the weekend so I can get cooking it, which is exactly what I need right now! I miss the excitement I get when cooking recently, as well as the eating of the food itself. So, I’m going to stick to some good favourites, play it safe for a little while, so I can fully recover and get my foodie mojo back šŸ™‚

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I’ll let you know when I start discovering more delectable delights!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x

Stephen Fry’s ‘Planet Word’

Do you know why we call them UPPER CASE and lower case letters? Because going back to the time of the first printing presses, when the letters would be stored in cases and then assembled to make each section of writing to be printed, the larger letters were stored in the UPPER half of the case, and the smaller letter stored in the lower half of the case. How amazingly simple is that?!

I’ve always been fascinated by language, particularly since studying classical civilisations at college – looking at the origin of words, developing ‘democracy’ from the Ancient GreekĀ demosĀ meaningĀ the peopleĀ and thinking about Greek as opposed to Latin roots. As I grew up and met more and more people from different cultures, I became fascinated in the concept of phrases getting lost in translation, like would my friend from Hungary say the literal translation of ‘two birds with one stone’, or do they have a similar phrase which means the same thing? I could talk for hours about the idea of language and words, and listen for just as long to what others have to say. So I have no idea how I missed Planet WordĀ first time round, but thank god for Netflix.

Stephen Fry is about as fascinating as people get, and I’m trying to make an effort to watch/read more about him than Qi repeats on Dave. And as passionate as he is about language and words, this was bound to be an incredible programme. The subject matter had me sold straight away, but the way FryĀ gets so passionate and excited about the things he talks about and discovers, and explains some fairly complicated ideas in a way for Joe Bloggs to understand is what makes this programme so amazing. Each episode looks at a different aspect of language – where it came from, to its uses and how it is recorded in written form. He speaks to all sorts of people as he discovers these things, not just scientists, but also comedians and authors, and people suffering with language disorders like Tourette Syndrome.

There are five episodes in the series, and they have been so interesting we’ve been watching them two at a time, and I’m said that we will be watching the last episode tonight. Whilst Fry seems to have covered all bases, including language being intrinsic to identity, and holding such power and knowledge, even to how it heralded the creation of civilisation, but there is so much more to this fascinating subject and I would gladly watch series after series, looking at each branch in greater and greater detail. It’s true what they say, that education is wasted on the young, and maybe if I had known what I now know and feel about language, I might have taken the opportunity to study it myself when I was younger, but all I can do is take interest in the information I have available to me now, and simply keep talking and keeping language alive in my own way.

I would seriously recommend seeing this programme if you get the chance!

Yours,

The Vintage Housewife x