My wife is currently between jobs. And she likes it that way. Who wouldn’t? However she is in demand. The recruitment consultant is chasing her around and she is facing the reality that, although her husband is extremely successful* even he will eventually struggle to meet certain demands – face creams, shoes and handbags do not, after all, grow on trees.
So we have together created a motivational tool to assist in the employment acquisition process. We call it the CONVEYOR BELT OF REALITY. The Conveyor Belt of Reality is a virtual machine that, just like in ‘Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game’ of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, passes before the eyes of the contestant a plethora of desirable items which they must memorise and then recall to win.
(For me the Conveyor Belt of Reality would comprise expensive cuts of meat, exotic spices and top-of-the-range kitchen appliances).
This got me thinking that if I had to find another job (sorry I mean a new direction to my career) I would need to rein in the orgy of food porn that I generate on a regular basis. Maybe I would create more dishes similar to ‘Roasted Vegetable Roll-Ups’ – wholesome morsels of healthy living that won’t break the bank.
(*success is all in the eye of the beholder, of course)
Now one of my favourite recipes is Crispy Peking Duck. Chewy duck, slathered with hoisin sauce; what’s not to like? Well if you’re a vegetarian, basically – the duck. However, as an avid reader of the BBC’s Good Food Magazine, I discovered a vegetarian option.
I mean it’s not crispy, it’s not duck, but its got hoisin sauce in it so it can’t be too far off. What’s the magic ingredient? Mushrooms.
Of course the problem with preparing great big lumps of tender meat dripping with rich wine-based sauces is that no one else wants to eat them. So in the interests of maintaining a healthy marriage I do like to delve into the depths of vegetarian cuisine.
But chickpeas, lentils….spelt!? Come on. I’d end up growing a tail and start nibbling raw carrot. So I’m always looking out for UVCs (Unusual Vegetable Creations). And here we focus on the Aubergine. ‘Aubergine’? Alright the Eggplant. But I can’t call it that because it neither has the shape of an egg, nor the colour (Why is it called an eggplant? Come to think of it, why is it called an aubergine? I’m renaming it – ‘Purple Shiny Potato’).
Oooh! Very fancy. But its just deep fried rice with tomato and cheese.
Although I am drawn towards eating meat I think sometimes vegetarian dishes can look nicer – I mean they just try harder (perhaps to make up for the lack of chewy flesh or something).
One revelation since meeting my wife is halloumi cheese. In my world if you cook cheese it melts. And you certainly can’t fry cheese – it just turns into a brown crisp. But halloumi has strange, maybe even mystical, properties. You can nuke that stuff and it keeps itself together. You can treat it like a lump of tenderloin pork and it will come out singing.