Day 55: MEH!

I’ve not blogged for a while. I know I should, but I’ve been feeling so meh the past few days.

There have been days when the only time I’ve got out of bed has been to get a glass of water or to pee. I’ve even worked from my bed. I’m emotionally exhausted from lockdown. Fortunately, I still have work to do every day which helps keep the sanity levels just short of the red.

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Thinking Back: With Age Comes Wisdom

COVID-19 has everyone is losing their minds on some level. If you’re not, then please share whatever Kool-aid it is that you’re drinking. I am suffering from migraines again, and my sleep is constantly interrupted. Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I found my mind wandering back to 2004, when just as I was about to leave for the airport on December 26th, the media shared the news of the tsunami that had hit Thailand.

I boarded the plane anyway, because I was going to Singapore and the news reported that the island country had not been affected. I was 24, without a care in the world and it was my first overseas holiday. Nothing was going to stop me – not even Mother Nature sending a potential follow-up tidal wave.

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Una Grande Serata

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren

In our case (that’s Eleanor and I), it was gnocchi…

Contrary to popular belief, I love cooking, and for the most part (barring one night I served a burnt offering to Charlie), I do it well.  The reason I don’t cook often is because I don’t have a proper stove.  I have a mini-kitchen, which is two plates and a small oven, which doesn’t heat evenly at the best of times.

Last night though, I outdid myself.  Nathan was away from home yesterday for work, so I told Eleanor I’d cook for her, if she saw to the boys.  I gave her a choice:  Moroccan or Italian.  She opted for the latter.

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Granted, I didn’t make everything from scratch, and know that traditional Italian pasta sauce is usually tomato-based, but I do love bacon and cream and I had to factor in the time of preparing everything, in an unfamiliar kitchen.  I did make up for everything non-Italian with a bottle of imported Prosecco of which I had a taste.

Prosecco

The menu was as follows:

Starter (Antipasto)

Charcuterie Board:

Salami, Pastrami, Ham, Blackberries, Raspberries, Almonds, Pears, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Cheddar, Bread sticks, Yoghurt & Caramelized Onion Dip, Salmon & Feta Terrine, and Tomato & Olive Bruschetta

Charceturie Board

Main Course (Primo Piatto)

Gnocchi with Butternut and Peas, served in a Bacon & Cheese Sauce from this blog

Gnocchi

Gnocchi Served

Dessert (Dolce)

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberries (which I concede isn’t authentic Italian, but I couldn’t find Tiramisu or Panna Cotta anywhere).Dolce

Coffee (Caffé)

Cappuccino with Chocolate, Cranberry & Almond Biscotti

Cappucino & Biscotti

All in all, I think I fared well.  Eleanor was pleasantly surprised, and we had a lovely evening, just us girls.

We decided that travelling round the world, right at the dinner table will become a regular thing.  Here’s to the next destination!  Any suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

I like to cook.  And bake.  BUT, I must really be in the mood to do so.  Like yesterday – when I finally tried out a recipe I received in one of the daily newsletters to which I subscribe.  The recipe was originally published on Cupcakes & Couscous – a food blog by Teresa Ulyate

I’ve shared the final image with a few friends who’ve asked for the recipe, so here it is, in full, with the photos being my own.  I halved it as it was only for The Toppie, The Bean and I.

Vegan recipe for Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients
16 large tomatoes
4 red peppers
olive oil for drizzling
3 tbsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
1 punnet (20g) fresh basil
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
4 tbsp tomato purée
1.2 litres vegetable stock (or water)
2 tbsp tamari

How to
Preheat your oven to 190ºC and lightly grease two baking trays.

Quarter the tomatoes and cut the red peppers into thick strips (discard the seeds).

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Arrange the tomatoes and peppers on the trays. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the mixed herbs on top and season with salt and pepper.

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Bake for 30 minutes.

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Allow the tomatoes and peppers to cool slightly. Place in a blender with the basil, beans, tomato purée, veggie stock and tamari.

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Blend until smooth.

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Transfer the soup to a pot and heat. Check the seasoning, then serve with toasted bread.

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It may have been a simple meal, but it left me feeling like an absolute Masterchef!  Honestly, I’m not sure when the urge to cook or bake will strike again, but when it does, I sincerely hope I can replicate the feeling I got from making this soup.