Egg-static

My attitude to frittatas has hitherto been: “Nice idea, but I bet they taste a bit meh, are either runny or rubbery, and end up a tad vomitous cold.” Anyway, this week I cracked (ho ho), had two many eggs, too little brain, and a newly acquired 23cm non-stick pan (thank you, Robert Dyas). And – what do you know? – it was bloody delicious.

Eggs being tricky buggers, I used this recipe as a vague steer: http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/eggs-recipes/summer-pisto-frittata/#i0HYbyCBLJcO5vs3.97

However, I harbour a lifelong hatred of being told what to do, so ignored it for all but the timing of the oven bit, instead filling my frit with leeks, red pepper, and goat cheese, and adding asparagus, courgette, and orange tomatoes on top to sate my vegetable OCD.

As with curry, risotto, and last night’s pizza, it tastes even better the next day. All hail, my summer of becoming Mr Strong.

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Miaow

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I am a dog person in all but sunglasses. Despite apparently lacking a biological clock, my canine clock is off the scale. Tragically, my landlord doesn’t allow animals so my life is currently sans dog. However, one day I will be the blissful owner of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and/or blue greyhound. I JUST WILL.

Sunglasses, however, have to be cats – cat’s eyes to be specific. Tom Ford is my usual port of call, cats being very much a TF thing. However, I spotted a friend’s child in these and felt compelled to invest, being the kind of 45 year-old who looks to 8 year-olds as her fashion inspiration.

£5.99 from H&M and spectacularly joyous. I urge you to follow suit.

http://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0358143001.html

 

 

Using your loaf

People who don’t eat bread are obviously idiots, given that a) none of this gluten intolerance stuff has been proven for non-coeliacs; b) bread is one of life’s most fundamental pleasures; and c) toast. Yes, TOAST. The grief over my father’s death is hitting me like a wall this evening, and tea and toast will be a medical necessity.

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However, it pays to be fussy about the stuff one consumes. As will have become clear, Gail’s Quinoa Sourdough (GQS) is my crack, and no one I feed it to can resist it – not my Ginster’s pie and cream cake loving sister, nor my orthorexia alert beloved. That said, this ever-expanding artisanal baker creates almost thirty different types of bread in its 30-plus stores daily.

Gail’s boasts not one, but eight different sourdough starters. Sourdough is more nutritious and easier to digest than your bog standard loaf. Here’s an explanation from The Guardian: “Lactic acids make the vitamins and minerals in the flour more available to the body by helping neutralise the phytates in flour that would interfere with their absorption. The acids slow down the rate at which glucose is released into the blood-stream and lower the bread’s glycaemic index (GI), so it doesn’t cause undesirable spikes in insulin. They also render the gluten in flour more digestible and less likely to cause food intolerance.” (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/22/sourdough-bread-good-for-you)

I love my GQS with salt, oil and tomatoes. And its proteiny goodness got me back to my fighting weight after my appendix exploded a few years ago and I lost a stone in four days. Think: avocado and poached egg on toast by way of a 750ish calorie breakfast. I begged for a Gail’s to open in Pimlico, and, lo, it has come to pass.

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I also always have a few of Biona’s array of flakey breads about the house – curiously good with nut butter, or cottage cheese. Although avoid the millet as being a step too budgerigar.

Nevertheless, give me the right circumstances and I will happy consume my own body weight in the white stuff, smothered in butter – at Sheekey’s with crab, Seasalter’s sublime Sportsman, or some bloody amazing French gaff. Life is too short and too resolutely bollocks not to.

Green, green!

Green – emerald green – is my favourite colour, albeit gold is my neutral, and grey my autistic safe colour for times of cocoon-seeking angst. It was my Grandmother’s favourite too. My first fashion item was a skirt she treated me to, me aged 8 and size 8: a forest green pencil skirt from what was then Chelsea Girl, now the altogether lesser River Island.

In the early 2000s, green became a euphemism for vague environmental claims, a murky, eco bollocks shade when green should be viridescent, coruscating. Today, it’s the colour of juices and courgetti, convenient in its rhyming with “clean”.

Without wanting to sound too “Hullo clouds, hullo sky,” I find I need some green in my life – both to consume and to gaze at. My most cherished work of art is a vast, literally brilliant piece entitled “green green” by Antonia Phillips, bought at a time when I couldn’t afford it, but still had to have it. It is the first thing I lay eyes on every morning.

I adore green china (my other Grandmother’s Minton Cockatrice); green clothes (a brocade mini, Fifties opera coat, or sequinned heels); and green jewels, whether paste or emeralds – but particularly the latter with their unearthly, yet utterly earthly gleam.

And trees, of course. This afternoon, a few days after my beloved father’s funeral, I went to my local florist and spent  £120 on plants – something living, something to live for.

Treats – sweet & otherwise

Obviously, Ella Mills, nee Woodward, is the queen of all things wellness, having cured herself of a rare illness and the rest of us of our collective scrofula. However, I don’t hold with her penchant for concocting “sweet treats” – the very phrase is nausea inducing – witness her recent chocolate caramel bars (http://deliciouslyella.com/chocolate-caramel-bars/).

Maple syrup is still sugar, even if it feels more tree-hugging than the white stuff, and the more candy killer one consumes, the more one wants. This even works with chocolate – celebrated everywhere as some intrinsic female fetish. Ditch it for six weeks and you’ll never crave it again.

I did this in my teens and never looked back. Until recently, that is, when my parents started dying, I’d renounced alcohol, and a quick snort of the raw stuff proved primally soothing.

If I can’t get hold of raw, then I’ll set for Pret a Manger’s Sea Salted Dark Chocolate Bar (136 calories, 10.2g of sugar).* Pret’s Chocolatey Coconut Bite is pretty pleasing too – a sort of vegan Bounty Bar (205 calories, 7.7g of sugar). Both are rich, hedonic, and hit that: “I need instant pleasure or my head will implode” spot. Still, outside of weeks when people actually kick the bucket, I try to confine myself to period time only.

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Booze-free beer is pretty ghastly. However, ice-cold Bavaria 0.0 gets nearest the real deal and is a snip at just under 50p a can at Ocado. It’s also 79 calories per 330ml rather than the usual 140ish so even those who aren’t former boozehounds may feel it’s a better option beer belly wise. They serve it at Pizza Express, which makes the experience almost tolerable.

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Other forms of cheapish cheer: Epsom salt baths; strawberries for breakfast; The National Gallery; Kneipp bath oils; Gail’s Quinoa Sourdough; ASOS deliveries; Twinings Decaffeinated Earl Grey; The Collected Dorothy Parker; Better You Magnesium Oil; Natora tomatoes; Rimmel lipstick; Radio 4 detective dramas (Poirot, Marple, or Wimsey); boiled eggs; Citalopram.

*NB I realise that nutrition is considerably more complicated than calorie counting, but it does provide something of a steer, not least when we are increasingly lardarsed.