Something on Toast

I suppose I’ve always been a bit of a scavenger.

But this was a morning where my tendency to pick up odds and ends of cheap jewelry from between cobblestones or to arrive at an event advertising free wine and arrange for there to be free wine no longer just wasn’t going to cut it.

There was nothing for breakfast.

Well, not nothing. Nothing easy. I can’t remember the last time we bought cereal, and the English Muffin supply has run its natural course. Again. I suggest pancakes, but Ghorb isn’t really sold given the soporific effect Canadian food seems to have on these kinds of mornings. Rainy Melbourne mornings. Queenie emerges, and the prospect is discussed.

I suggest some kind of tofu spread, and they look at me like I’m crazy. This latter is not an uncommon occurrence.

Then I suggest that I can’t think of anything beyond pancakes, and after a brief brainstorm a sort of tofu tomato toast is proposed.

Here’s how it went down.

wpid-20150712_094636.jpgI hacked the silken tofu out of its industrial sized tub, and hoiked it into the pan. Yes I’ve been buying it by the kilogram now. The lady at the Chinese Grocery around the corner has been very obliging.

Fry with soy sauce and pepper for flavour. Throw in a finely chopped onion and garlic, cook for a little bit.

Add a can of diced tomatoes, or your own chopped fresh tomatoes if your feeling very fancy and far more motivated than I was at this point. Add Sriracha chili sauce, because you can’t go wrong with Sriracha and given it looked like we were all coming down with colds deploying some demolitions on our sinuses seems like a good plan.

Basil and oregano, because I always put some of those in with tomatoes. Feels weird not to.

Next, dig small holes in this mixture, and throw in some eggs. Let them fry a little, wpid-20150712_095645.jpgbefore stirring them through the mixture. For any of my vegan imaginary readers, I’d probably use chunky chopped mushrooms. Because hell yeah chunky chopped mushrooms, that’s a fusking brilliant idea. You can also probably sub the cheese that’s upcoming for delicious salty bean paste (see the Refried Bean Secret for reference).

Ah right, yeah. Cheese. Toast some bread, spread the mix on, and put a slice of cheese on top. Put it in the oven or grill to melt the cheese. Sprinkle with oregano and black pepper. Because you’re worth it.

So that was my brilliant idea. Feel free to leave any of your delicious scrounged meals in the comments, my dear imaginary readers.

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Bean Burger

I’ve had a little dream.

I suspect that it finds its source in Shadowrun: Dragonfall, a cool little turn based strategy game with rpg elements that I finished around Christmas time while I was back in Scotland.

Anyway, for whatever reason I’ve had this urge to build myself a little garden, possibly on a flat rooftop somewhere, and kit it out with a vegetable patch and a clutch of solar panels. I think this sentiment grew out of the game, as that is very much the aesthetic of the Kreusbazaar, the game’s central environment, a tough little anarchist state holding its own in the sea of violence and exploitation that surfaced in the wake of Berlin’s Dracopocalypse.

Around the same time I was eating a lot of bean burgers. There was a stand at the Edinburgh’s Christmas Market, just down the strip from the waffle stand run by a gang of South German accountants and lawyers, that sold a wide selection of burgers, and we learned to get along well with them selling vegetarian food and my rarely having time to make my own lunch.

So if I had a rooftop garden I feel like, climate permitting, I’d probably grow beans.

And I made a bean burger for myself, which is tangentially connected to all this babble and rather more so to the title of this article. Why it is I seem to feel the need to misdirect so aggressively in my opening statements is a facet of myself I am yet to understand.

So there was a bean burger. The bean mix functioned a bit more like a spread than a burger, but it turned out pretty well.

Instructions!

Fry your beans in oil, and then mash them to a paste with a fork in the pan. Throw in some finely chopped onion.

Spread the mix onto an English Muffin, or whatever bread product you have handy.

Fry a strip of firm tofu in oil, and put this on the bean mix like a cute little soy steak (omg! so cute!)

Add sweet chilli sauce.

Eat.

Use glucose extracted by your digestive system to collapse Australia’s monstrous government and attend celebratory drinks in quorganism’s solar bean garden.

Enjoy your week, imaginary readers.

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Soy For Science!!! First Attempt…

Nutrisoy. Oh boy. You folks have listened to me ramble about cyberpunk, about Shadowrun, and about the weird culinary world they inhabit. So today, we get my first attempt at nutrisoy. Nutrisoy surfaces several times in Shadowrun fiction, though its exact composition is never discussed as far as I’ve read. I know that its something that you eat if your at the lower end of the economic spectrum, and functions as a sort of “all food”, used to replace meat and most other nutrient intake. Certainly designed for survival rather than taste. They don’t give a recipe, but the vague implication is that the product is produced by immense corporate entities, probably using all manner of synthetic nutrient supplements to keep costs down. Being neither a megacorp employee nor a lab tech, I’ve had to improvise. So, now you can meet my ingredients.

wpid-20150325_153333.jpgApocalypse lentils! Tasty and easy to wpid-20150325_153529.jpgprepare, and designed to survive anything up to nuclear fallout. I’ve been gathering a lot of food cans on my zombie runs (see here) so this felt pretty appropriate.

Cryo-spinach! Because if you can’t get hold of synthetic iron and fiber then you may as well dig it outta the freezer where no living thing has any right to grow. After all, we have to keep this in genre.

wpid-20150325_154444.jpg wpid-20150325_153739.jpgA capsicum! Or a pepper, depending on where in the world you’re reading from… In honesty I couldn’t think of a way to make this any more genre appropriate… So I settled for mangling it beyond all recognition…

And finally, of course. My Soy. Industrial sized tofu. wpid-20150325_160059.jpgNow that’s done, we can get into the methodology at play here. Get a handle on that cryo-spinach and toss it into a frypan with some oil and the lentils. If you want to be real road warrior use engine oil. If you want to be alive by the end of this use canola. It will take a bit for the ice to melt. If you are using non-cryo spinach, you will probably need to throw some water in at this point as well. wpid-20150325_155208.jpgAdd brutalised capsicum. Stir and simmer. Regret nothing. Chop the tofu into smaller chunks and dig shallow graves for it in the mixture so it will fry most effectively. wpid-20150325_160242.jpgGive the interred tofu a bit of a singe so that it can soak up a bit of taste. I will admit that by this point our taste is hovering somewhere between “wilting forest” and “overgrown (ghoul infested?) cemetery”, so I throw in some ground green chilli. Sriracha will do equally well, but you may have noticed I’m angling towards a particular colour scheme for this one. Once its had a chance to cook for a bit, smash the tofu into more manageable chunks. Its at this point that we get industrial on this sorry fusker. wpid-20150325_165528.jpgBlend it down to a paste, and then return it to a mould of your choice. Since I do not have a corporation issue blender I had to do it in a few batches. wpid-20150325_170238.jpgwpid-20150325_173259.jpg So there you have it. As for taste… well, that’s not really what it was designed for. Served over rice it tasted a bit like a barely seasoned salad, though I suppose the “flavour nozzles” we encounter in the fiction are the proposed remedy for that. So; Lessons! First thing I’ll probably do next time is add some colour. Food dye is simple enough, and we get a nice nod to the Paranoia franchise with its colour coded society. As you could probably guess this attempt was meant to be green, but the light brown of the lentils and white of the tofu kind of brought it around to a kind of dull mud. Second, if I’m going to serve this to anybody it will probably need a bit more flavour. Not exactly in line with genre, but if I can get these things tasting better and elegantly packaged then it might have some appeal. Maybe in vending machines. Probably tied to the colour code… yellow would be curry. Green… maybe another kind of curry. Maybe introducing some fried bread products into the mix would allow a richer taste without compromising the basic idea of it… And finally, I think I need some sort of setting agent, but wouldn’t really want to use eggs, try and keep it as non-animal product as possible. This would let it sit happier in a block, and allow us to minimize packaging. Though single use packages are certainly more cyberpunk, I tend to have environmental concerns… I’ll tell you how that pans out. Maybe we can come up with some kind of alternative. So that’s my new cyberpunk recipe for you all. Not perfect, but it’s got potential. wpid-20150327_172548.jpg