Cleaning and kicking

There are two concurrent quests going on at our place at the moment.

The first involves cleaning stuff up. Deciding to move to the other side of the world will do that.

The other involves kicking.

The Hungry One is in serious training mode for yet-another black stripe on the belt he wears with some white pajamas.

That involves kicking a bag a lot. It also involves some impressive dedication to his mid week training sessions.

So on a Monday or Wednesday eve when I’m tooling around the house on my own* I’m can often be found staring at a cupboard crammed with obscure carbs, and trying to maim multiple birds with one stone.

I’m seeking something that:

a) can feed me easily at 7pm when I’m about ready to gnaw on my own wrist for sustenance
b) can then easily feed a very hungry him when he rolls in at 9.20pm
c) isn’t too heavy- (cheesy, cakey and calorific don’t sit well on a post exertion stomach I’m told. I have to take that at face value- my knowledge of the area is somewhat slim)
d) will make a dent in things like dashi powder, sesame oil, mirin and soba noodles, which have been having a lonely little japanese party in the pantry for quite some time now.

These things are not coming on a plane with us.

So, a few times in the last few weeks we’ve ended up looking down at something like this;

Soba, salmon and other stuff, in dashi stock

I make a stock out of two teaspoons of dashi granules with about six cups of water. I add a nugget of ginger, a splash of mirin and sake and a few other rogue bottles in there. I bring it to a boil a big wok. I try not to think about how much the dashi powder looks like fish food.

Then it’s about amassing vegetables and some sources of protein. Tofu, skinned salmon, baby corn, baby spinach, asparagus, brocollini- all of these things sometimes take a dip in the dashi bath.

When the stock is at a rolling boil in go a small handful of the soba noodles. They only need about five minutes in the stock before they come out as delightfully slippery wriggles of buckwheat.

They then get transported to another bowl- where a pile of diced vegetables and fish are patiently waiting.

Over goes three ladlefuls of stock and a couple of drops of sesame oil. I then jam a dinner plate over the top for three minutes so the salmon steams and the vegetables hand back some of their temerity.

That’s about the right timescale to cue something insipid to watch. Or to wrestle with the ten metres of bubble wrap still spewing onto the coffee table after an earlier attempt to pack stemware into big plastic storage boxes.

I then get to tuck in while the pot of dashi stock sits patiently. At 9.10 pm it gets put back onto the boil. The Hungry One then repeats exactly the same procedure for himself. Except his vegetables are already cut up. Bonus good wife points for that one.

During these two concurrent quests of kicking and cleaning The Hungry One is looking fitter and fitter. Sadly, I’m just getting slightly fatter. I twig that I’m eating all of the carbs with none of the calorie culling activities to compensate.

So now there are two versions that get cued.

One for him, which keeps on keeping on in our quest to clean out the cupboard.

And another for me; where ribbons of zucchini that get made with vegetable peeler masquerade as noodles.

So now The Hungry One is carrying the burden of both quests all on his own.

Lucky he’s getting stronger every day.

(*sometimes when I’m tooling around on my own I might also be found revisiting a lost youth and reading hilarity like this

{ 1 Comment }
  1. Tori, I'm excited about your big move- man, I loved living in London. Loved loved loved. i think it will suit you and the big boy to the ground.

    I just read a GREAT memoir that i think you would love by a food critic called Gael Greene. Her book is 'Insatiable'. It's saucy, it's funny, its foodie. Packed with detail – perfect for a gourmet on a long plane trip.

    Bon voyage to a beautiful pair.


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