16 February, 2013

Happy Belated...

... Pancake Day!!!

On Tuesday I wasn't even aware that it was the Shrove one until I sat down in the evening to a slew of "Pancakes = Nomz" messages on Facebook, and by that point I was too knackered to go out again and didn't have the ingredients to hand (don't worry; this story has a happy ending).

Apparently pancakes are traditional on Shrove Tuesday because they're a good way of using up all of the naughty things that you shouldn't eat during lent. Not sure why milk, eggs and flour are so evil but never mind. (Oh... It's the Nutella - of course.) These three ingredients are supposed to be ubiqutous - who doesn't have a half used packet of flour at the back of a cupboard? Um, well, me! As you'll already know if you've tried to feed me in the last few years: I'm allergic to gluten.

At this point, whether you already knew that or not, you've probably got an "Aw, poor girl" look on your face. No, I can't eat normal bread or cakes or biscuits or pizza or pasta or croissants or muffins or cookies or sandwiches or toast or fish and chips (the batter) or even the great traditional February pancakes. Don't worry, your reactions (of pity and confusion: "what on earth does this woman eat then?!?") are totally normal, if completely misguided.

You see, I did suffer in the beginning - I didn't know what I could eat either. How can you eat lunch if a sandwich isn't involved? What do you order on a Friday night when pizza is out of the question? What should I replace my morning toasted bagels with? And what about Shrove Tuesday!?!?!? Well, at least I can answer the last question for you now:

This is my Shrove Saturday lunch; pancakes, plums and cream.

  • The pancakes are made from a mashed banana, a beaten egg and a little coconut flour (desiccated coconut works as a substitute, but really you can just leave it out and you won't miss it - in the same way that you won't miss the flour at all). 
  • The plums were cooked in "some" butter until I got bored (I'm so scientific, me) then sprinkled with cinnamon. I've done this with apples and peaches too, or you can just pile strawberries on top. 
  • The cream is actually coconut cream (if you're going to fuss about with your diet then why not go the whole hog and cut down on dairy too?)

Even though my food photography skills are sorely lacking, this meal tasted so good that it inspired my second blog post in two and a half months. Those are some pretty good pancakes!

So, I guess what I'm really trying to say here is this; the next time someone tells you that they can't eat wheat products don't feel sorry for us. You should feel jealous of us! ;)

PS - almost all of the links in this post are to recipes that don't contain anything gluteny. Whether you give up grains or not is entirely up to you, but you'd be surprised how great it tastes being gluten free!

12 February, 2013

Currently I am...

¡Hola! I am, contrary to popular opinion, still alive!
Instead of filling in the (loooong) gap between my last post and this one with tales of what I've been up to (which will come "soon"), let's live in the moment, shall we? 
What am I up to now? (It feels like a much simpler question to answer...)

Reading: The Making of Modern Colombia. It's one of those books that I keep not picking up because, well, because it's a history book to be honest, but whenever I overcome my laziness I end up really getting into it (much like writing blog posts actually. Hmm, lesson to be learnt?) Also reading a lot of nutrition and exercise information as I'm hoping to do a course on it later this year.

Listening to: a lot of The Beatles. Pretty much required listening when in the company of my boyfriend. At least he has good taste, it could be much worse!

Laughing at: you. See previous link (and this one, in case you don't understand why).

Obsessing over: taekwondo. I'm now at the level my friend was when he introduced me to taekwondo. It turns out it isn't as hard as it looked after all, but at the same time, so much more difficult than it appeared!

Eating lots of: Cabbage. I'm still craving the bubble and squeak that I didn't have on Boxing Day. *sigh* There is no substitute for burnt brussels sprouts.

Planning: how to persuade a friend to let me borrow her oven. I've found some delicious-looking recipes that just won't work on the stovetop. I suppose sharing the results might work :)

Feeling: cold. No, not as cold as those back home, but a lot colder than my holiday was. The weather here is so random!

Discovering: how awesome German is. And how surprisingly similar to Spanish it is! I always thought that English was the 'bridge' between the Germanic and Latin languages, but I suppose Germany was Roman once too...

Looking at: my new art! I've been decorating my new flat with acrylic paints and cardboard. It turns out that painting is a lot more fun when you don't have a GCSE art teacher peering over your shoulder demanding explanations.
This says "Power to move mountains" and is the motto of my taekwondo school. Not that you can tell in this late night photo, but it's actually slightly 3D and 'hovering' off the wall. 

Wearing: lots of knit things (see "Feeling" above) and really enjoying it! Especially purple.

Cooking: lots of chai tea (so that would be boiling water, a couple of cloves, and a bit of cinnamon mixed with coconut milk. And this is what I call "cooking"? :D )

Trying out: lots of random herbs and spices on my breakfast of scrambled eggs every morning. If you like spicy food then it's hard to go wrong; if you make a mistake just cover it in chilli powder and you'll never be able to tell :D

Intending: to write another blog post soon! 

...and generally pottering along happily here in Bogotá. Life is good!