I don't want to write about Feelings and Issues today. This is not to say I have resolved all my Feelings and Issues vis-a-vis my blubber, in fact I've had a few dazzling Lightbulb Moments lately. But I am tired of the public introspection, and feel increasingly conscious that between my two blogs there's a vast portion of my brain archived on the Goog for the world to see. So right now I just feel like figuring things out in my head and quietly getting on with it.
Instead we could talk about porridge, and how I've become obsessed with it. I used to loathe the stuff, but then SC whipped some up last weekend and I discovered it was actually quite delicious. Now I'm zapping it in the microwave when I get to work each morning, the perfect antidote to half an hour's chilly trek to the train station. It takes about four minutes, with four pauses to stir. Sometimes I'll have it with banana, other times I'll chuck in a chopped up apple for the last minute of cooking. You can pretend it's apple crumble. I use chunky Tesco Organic Oats and all milk – no water, because watery porridge makes it feel like prison rations.
I've also been making a few old Weight Watchers recipes. When I say old I'm talking 1985 old. My mother used to be a WW leader, or lecturer as they were called in those days. (Lecturer conjures up lovely images of some dowdy old marm at the scales, wagging a finger at a poor woman who ate an extra orange or Imitation Bacon Bit). Mum was a brilliant leader, and often cooked WW recipes at home and brought them in to show the members – healthy cakes, slices, savouries. Sometimes she'd even do live cooking demonstrations. Once she brought in the electric frypan and showed the class how to stir fry without any fat. My sister and I were her able assistants. I still remember the smell of the hot carrots and gently toasting sesame seeds, and the scchhhhhhhhhhhh sound when I knocked over the huge glass jar of seeds and they scattered all over the floorboards. I remember looking at the ladies in their semi-circle of metal chairs. Did they want to drop to their knees and gobble up those seeds? Did they wonder how many Optional Kilojoules they contained?
Ahh, happy days. I think that's why Weight Watchers never hooked me years later when I became a member myself. The leaders never razzle-dazzled like my Mum.
Anyway, she had us cooking the dinner from about age seven, so dozens of ancient WW recipes are imprinted on my skull. Like Pita Pizzas, Balti Beef, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. One old standard was the Spinach Pie. I wouldn't dare call it Spanikopita for fear of Argy hunting me down, it's hardly authentic Greek fare. But it's easy, healthy and delicous
- Get a huge bunch of spinach (we often had silverbeet because that's what was in the garden) and chop it up into fine pieces. Or use a large pack of defrosted frozen spinach, but squeeze all the water out.
- Dump that in a bowl along with a finely chopped onion onion, a large tub of low fat cottage cheese, two eggs, and generous gratings of cracked black pepper and nutmeg.
- Get a big baking dish, brush it with skim milk then plonk down on a sheet of filo pasty. You know the drill with filo pastry – lubricate between layers! Traditionally you'd use melted butter or oil but Mum used skim milk and it works just fine. I use a canola spray if really lazy.
- Once you have a two or three base layers, spread the spinach mix over the top.
- Add a few more layers of filo. Don't forget the lube.
- I usually score the pastry at this point into 8 slices, makes it easier to serve later.
- Bake for about 40 minutes in a moderate oven or until golden.
I made this when I first moved in with SC after not eaten it for about 15 years. We had it so many times growing up that I vowed never to go near it again. But the need to find interesting vegetarian meals made me revisit. Now I use a smaller tub of cottage cheese and a 200g block of crumbled feta cheese, because I freaking LOVE feta and would leave SC and marry feta if it was socially acceptable.
You can do it without the pastry if carbs offend you. And you can add some chopped dill or parsley to give it even more flavour. I've also successfully made it with broccoli and cauliflower, because I accidentally bought 3 x 1.5kg bags of broccoli & cauliflower florets in a tragic online grocery shopping incident. You just steam up a whole bunch then chop it up finely and add to the cheese/egg mixture. Sometimes I even just stab it with my stab blender instead of chopping, because I am lazy and just like the stabbing action. Rarrr!
All hail the Scottish Companion! While I've been busy being lazy, he scanned that Cosmopolitan story for me. He's a good egg.
It's not the most bedazzling thing ever written but groovy all the same. It's also the same photo as the Grazia story as I am not the type of person that a magazine would fly to the other side of the world just to snap their picture, mwahah. ( Behold, Page 1 and Page 2.)
The issue came out while we were in Australia, so I had the hysterical experience of seeing people reading it on the train or at the beach. On our last day in Melbourne we were in the queue at Safeway when SC poked me – the chick in front of us was buying the magazine. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder as she flipped through the pages and say, "Hey, look on page 257. It's me! YES, me right here behind you, the chick who lost all that weight." Except I had two blocks of Cadbury's and a bag of Cherry Ripes in my basket.