Wondergut Week Commencing 18 November 2017

This was a fun-filled week – a mega veg. fermenting session, ready for a stall I am running next Saturday, a meeting with Katie Venner of Tracebridge Sourdough about our very exciting idea for a big event in 2018 (watch this space), 2 sourdough baking sessions (I still can’t get my wholemeal ones to perform like my white ones…) on top of lost school bags (Toby), lost tracksuit bottoms (Jamie) and a lost cello (?!!!) (Sam). AND then finding ourselves at our eldest child’s A-Level Options morning – how the ***k did that happen? The school’s advice was to study what you LOVE and having just applied to university myself, I couldn’t agree more with that!

If you would like to print off this Wondergut Week – here is the link.

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Food Critics’ Verdict, if worth listening to

Saturday  Keith on singing duty at the cathedral pm

Georgia A level choices event at School

Tuna Pasta Bake accompanied by carrots & broccoli. This simply consists of browned onions & garlic, cooked whole wheat pasta, a tin of tuna, a white sauce, grated cheese on the top & bake in the oven. Neither of us had time to cook on Saturday afternoon so Keith made it on Saturday morning (I was baking sourdough) so we just reheated it in the evening with very little effort. If I recall, I first ate TPB at university, cooked by my friend, Jo Thirsk. We ate a great deal of it but with white pasta back then & mostly accompanied by beer or very cheap wine. Everyone loves TPB, as it is known here & we particularly enjoyed it this week since we are no longer eating pasta daily!
Sunday  Toby’s turn to cook Family Tea Toad In The Hole accompanied by roast potatoes, swede & parsnips (Sam discovered the long buried parsnips in the Veg. Patch!) with Brussel sprout tops & purple sprouting.

Dessert: Crunchy & White Chocolate & Biscuit Cheesecake.

I am trying to get the FCs to choose new dishes to cook on a Sunday – not just for the sake of dietary diversity but also to widen their cooking repertoire. This is easier said than done, especially since the golden rule of Family Tea is that the chef gets final veto. The fall-back is ALWAYS toad in the hole & Toby did not get round to looking at the recipe books to find something new in time. So here it is again. At worst, all the FCs will know how to cook toad in the hole when they leave home.

The dessert was disgusting (my opinion) – a sickly sweet, cloying monstrosity, although I still found myself stealing some of Keith’s. We have struggled with Family Tea dessert because often, it produces enough left-overs for the FCs to eat it for two or 3 days after the Sunday. Which translates into sugary dessert 3 or 4 days a week. On top of the small pack of sweets/chocolate I buy them for “Friday Treat” & whatever sweet stuff they get at school. As a result, we agreed a while ago, that unless the dessert was blinding, the left-overs would be put into the composting on Sunday night (or fed to the chickens). I struggle with feeling that this is a “waste” but I am not sure the desire to avoid waste justifies letting the kids eat a load more of something I know is only ok for them in small doses. I did a second-take this week though, when I saw Toby scraping the remains of his concoction into the composting voluntarily – attitudes they are a’changing!

Monday  Jamie in Match – try to watch. Tomato & Halloumi Bake with by Sourdough Bread accompanied by leeks & swede (here is the link to the recipe) Wondergut Winner: (but the mung beans were a very close second) I hoped that the halloumi on the top would get some cooked tomatoes past those FCs who are less keen. It did – not much, but some, at least & Georgia & I thought it was very good indeed. I shoved the left-over potatoes, swede & parsnips in from yesterday too & I enjoyed it so much, I had it on toast for lunch on Tuesday too.
Tuesday  School Talk on Parenting Teenagers Gingered Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Soup accompanied by cucumber, celery & radicchio salad (p46 Ultimate Slow Cooker by Sara Lewis – I couldn’t get this online so here is the link to the closest I could get). Don’t forget to soak the lentils in water the night before. I followed the Jamie recipe but Sara uses fennel seeds instead of cumin seeds & I prefer fennel seeds. Sara also puts 4cm of fresh root ginger (peeled & finely chopped) in so I did that too, since ginger contains antioxidants, aids digestion & appears to support our immune system & it also gave it a bit of vaa vaa voom! I didn’t use the coconut milk (& if I did I wouldn’t use “light” coconut milk) I just upped the veg. stock a bit. It was a doddle to make and was a very satisfying, tasty soup & the FCs all ate it, although Toby did whinge that it wasn’t my “normal” lentil soup. He still ate it.
Wednesday  Fish Day

Immense ferment-making session. Including test- run of Wondergut Christmas ‘Kraut recipe.

Mackerel, Potatoes, Shallots, accompanied by fennel & courgettes (p212 Hugh F.W’s Three Good Things – here is the link to the recipe.) I thought we’d go for an oily fish this week & I know at least 2 of the FCs like mackerel. Full of omega 3 essential fatty acids, which is really, very good for us in so many ways. This was lovely & it was easy. One F.C avoided the fish though & one other spat some out when he found a small bone. Sigh.
Thursday  Dog walk with Katie H & Biscuit (we are not eating them, that is the name of her dog…..) Mung Dahl accompanied by a mixed green, red & watercress salad. (p186 Hemsley & Hemsley – here is a link to the recipe). Don’t forget to soak the mung beans overnight if you use dried ones. And if you do, I have learnt that you will only need around 250g of dried mung beans as they expand and weigh more once soaked!! The friend that used to feed me tuna pasta bake, also occasionally refers to me as eating nothing but mung beans these days – she is being a bit tongue in cheek but I guess it just shows how far a genuinely diverse & healthy diet is from the current norm such that I can be caricatured as a hairy arm-pitted mung bean eater! Well, I haven’t shaved my arm pits for a few days & when I saw this mung bean recipe, I couldn’t resist it! The recipe involved quite a lot of chopping & LOTS of spices – I had to double-check because I couldn’t quite believe the amounts but this was absolutely delicious. The boys were not quite so excited but they ate some. Georgie ended up having it for lunch at school for a few days after – mainly because I used 500g of DRIED mung beans, which made enough for two meals for 6 people (at least)!!!
Friday Traipse Car for repair. AGAIN.

Meeting with Katie Venner of Tracebridge Sourdough re. Sauerkrautathon

Bunless Falafel Burgers accompanied by guacamole, crudites & gently fried onion & garlic – here is the link to the burger recipe.

Here is the link to the guacamole recipe.

Here is me walking the walk. Making meatless burgers always looks like too much of a faff to me & unfortunately this experience did nothing to dispel that. It was a disaster! It was Wells Carnival night so half the FCs were out & I had forgotten this fact. I had been in a meeting most of the day, realised I was 2 possibly 3 mouths down for dinner but had already cooked & mashed up the chick peas & cannellini beans first thing.  I ploughed on regardless, but they were tasteless & grim. The best thing was the bun – which was basically baked portobello mushrooms – this element was divine & reminds me to cook MUSHROOMS more often!

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