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Not Dead March 17, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner.
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I bet you all thought I was dead. Not so. I have, however, been neglecting this blog for a while now. I could write up the usual excuses, but really, it wouldn’t have taken that much time to write the occasional short post, so they don’t work that well and therefore I won’t bother.

Anyway, to the food.
Lately I’ve been reading rather a lot of personal finance/frugal/productivity blogs, which, among other things, lead to me install GnuCash and getting entirely too excited about getting receipts and recording my spending. Doing this made me a little more aware of my hamster tendencies, so I thought that, instead of simply buying whatever food looks good for tonight’s dinner, I’m going to eat only what I already have at home.
For the coming week, at least.

Luckily I decided this after buying a loaf of bread, a few cartons of soya milk, and a bunch of bananas, so I will eat pretty much as I normally do except with a few more things coming from tins.

It’s not quite thrifty eating (except for the bit about it all being home-cooked rather than eaten in restaurants, but I very rarely eat out so it’s not some big thing for me to cook my own damn food already), but it might teach me to check out the contents of my pantry before running off and buying more food. And perhaps meal planning. I could do with some proper meal planning, even if it was only to make proper use of all those dried legumes I have lying around.

For tonight, I threw together mostly things I’d once found in one of the Chinese supermarkets that had been lying in my little cabinet of curious foods.
Bamboo shoots (half a tin), fermented mixed vegetables, mock shrimp (basically yams cut in a vaguely shrimp-y shape) with vegetables, tomato paste, a bit of nori, and some buckwheat noodles.

Illustration:
Ingredients

As it was pretty late already and I was feeling particularly lazy, I just chucked the mock shrimp and vegetables, fermented vegetables, cut-up bamboo shoots, and tomato paste in a frying pan to heat it up properly, and boiled the noodles. I added some garam massala to the frying pan and a few drops of sesame oil to the noodles when they were done, and nori flakes after bringing the plate up to my room.

Result:
Ingredients

Though nothing spectacular, it tasted quite nice. The mock shrimpy things were a little odd and had a slightly icky texture, so I think I’ll stick to the other mock tins when I’m at the Chinese supermarket again, should I feel the need to get any at all.
The fermented mixed vegetables weren’t as weird and scary as they seemed when they were still in the tin (though the white pigeon on the tin was comforting), being largely ignored by me because I had no clue what to do with them, so that was good.
I’d used the bamboo shoots before, and though they don’t seem to have much flavour, apart from maybe providing some freshness, I like the texture.
Adding the tomato paste made it seem like it actually had a proper sauce. Initially I wasn’t too sure about adding this, as I didn’t think the flavours would go well together, but it was quite nice.

I liked this dish best when I still had some noodles left. Though the vegetables were perfectly edible on their own, it tasted better when combined with the noodles.

ETA: Along with the personal finance/frugal/productivity blogs, I also discovered the joys of the Google Reader, and will be adding the blogs I have in my blog list here to that. Might help me to actually properly read them.

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Comments»

1. Bonnie - March 17, 2008

You’re back! Whoo! I love reading about your food because you use special ingredients, making dishes that I’m not used to making myself. It’s interesting.

I’ve been neglecting my own blog, lately, too… mostly because of school etc. Speaking of which, I need to get ready…

Looking forward to more of your posts!

2. Natalie - March 17, 2008

Woo-hoo! Great to see you back!

I had a good chuckle out loud while reading this post, because I just bought some mock duck and pork, bamboo shoots, soba noodles and deep fried tofu pockets from the Asian grocery store this weekend — and now I’m pondering what to do with them ;)

Have any good suggestions of what to do with the canned mock meat? I have no idea what to expect.

3. tuimeltje - March 17, 2008

@Bonnie: Thanks! Most of my dishes are me rather lazily chucking random things together, hoping it’ll be at least edible.
I hope school lets up soon.

@Natalie: Thanks!

I’ve used the mock duck kind of in the same way I used the mock shrimp here except that I usually cut up the mock duck and pork into bite-size bits. After cutting them up I just throw them into the frying pan, after which I add whatever else I want.
I’ve never used them the way I’ve used veggie burgers, always cut up as part of some sauce-like affair, so I don’t know if that’d work.
If you only want to use half the tin, you can store the remaining bit in a container in the fridge for a few days. It helps to store it in the liquid, otherwise it’ll dry out for a bit.

Those tofu things, are those the squishy, fluffy-looking balls (or possibly squares)? I don’t quite know what to do. Usually I fry those as well, either seperately, to make them crispy, or added to some kind of saue near the end of cooking. They don’t have much flavour of their own, so I usually dip them in the sauce I’ve made.


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