Well, I never expected that Dry January would see me drinking earlier in the day than I ever normally do! But here I do confess that a tiny sip of wine did pass my lips at 10.50am this morning. Before you think I’ve fallen off the wagon, hand on heart it was no more than that – and it’s only because the time had come to bottle the white wine we’ve been making, and we wanted to make sure it was worth keeping before storing it away for the next few weeks. But it was an interesting experience – while the taste was undoubtedly nice (light and appley), and my brain did go ‘ooh, that’s lovely!), I didn’t have any sense of ‘ahhhh yes, that’s what I’ve been missing’. This Dry January lark is definitely proving straightforward so far 🙂
Foodwise, lunch was the last of yesterday’s scrummy pumpkin wellington. Cold, it was very different to when it was freshly cooked – the filo pastry was slightly soggy rather than crunchy, but the chewy texture was really good and the flavours were still fab. To mix it up, I put some garlic hot sauce on mine, and Si doused his in his frighteningly fiery peach and scotch bonnet sauce (too acrid for me) – very tasty indeed.
It’s been a good from-scratch day… we also racked off our red wine into a demijohn, infused two bottles of gin (one with rosemary, Szechuan pepper, and grains of paradise, and one with pink peppercorns and some of the hibiscus flowers we brought back from Mexico) – hey, just because we can’t drink it doesn’t mean we can’t make it!), and also blended up a load of green chillis, green bell pepper, and spring onions to boil in sugar and vinegar for a lovely batch of green chilli jam (we’ve had a little taste – it’s lovely and sweet with a slowly rising warmth in your mouth) – kept us out of mischief, anyway!
Our final from-scratch task was to make dinner… it was Si’s night to lead on cooking today, and he decided to make a variation on a beautiful meal we had in September: stuffed cabbage leaves. Last time these were filled with a mix of beans and vegan meatballs…while the process for this latest version was similar (follow the link above to see how it’s done), our new parcels were stuffed with onions, spices, toasted cubes of bread, and a Waitrose soup mix stuffed with pearl barley, haricot beans, yellow split peas, green split peas, red split lentils, marrowfat peas and brown rice, which we’d cooked in the pressure cooker.
The cabbage parcels were tied up with string and steamed, and we paired them with a beautiful mash made from boiled carrot and swede, cashew milk, and vegan spread (surprisingly savoury, I was expecting it to be too sweet), and a gravy made from marmite and the water that we’d boiled the veg in, thickened with a little cornflour. We also served them with slices of salt-roasted beetroot (we describe how we made these in September – gorgeously sweet/salty and just soft enough).
Clever Si, it was absolutely beautiful – a great mix of sweet and savoury, and the gravy brought everything together really nicely. To top it off, we shared a bottle of Tesco’s ‘White Pearl’ – it’s basically just grape juice and sparkling water, but somehow having something chilled and fizzy lent the meal a touch of luxury. We also had three squares each of Tesco’s ‘free from’ chocolate, which was perfectly nice, if a little waxy feeling in the mouth… it was nice to taste chocolate again, mind. I’m sure we can do better, though! More to the point, I was really interested to read this (rather well timed) taste test of vegan chocolate on the BBC Good Food website – we will have to try some of them for ourselves!
Today I ate/drank:
- Tea with cashew milk
- Toast with violife and marmite
- Tiny sip of homebrew white wine
- ‘Vanilla fudge’ tea
- Leftover pumpkin wellington, with garlic hot sauce
- Cube of bread that was going into dinner
- Cup of hot marmite with 2tsp onion gravy granules to thicken it
- Steamed cabbage leaf stuffed with beans, salt-baked beetroot, turnip and carrot mash, marmite gravy
- Tesco’s ‘White Pearl’ non alcoholic fizz
- Three squares of vegan chocolate
- Fizzy squash