So apparently it’s Thanksgiving in the USA; I have no idea what that really means, having only ever been to the US once for 4 days, but I’ve been made aware through sitcoms (Friends) and social media (the bombardment of Instagrams) that it involves turkey, sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top (is this meant to be served with the turkey? Or a pudding? My closed off British mind can’t deal with this), and pumpkin pie. And being thankful or something or other, I think. In celebration of this holiday, or of my very limited knowledge of this holiday, I thought I’d do a quick post about what I’m thankful for right at this moment – more as a personal note-to-self to come back to when I have to deal with my essay deadlines coming up at the end of the year and am engulfed in a phagocyte of grumpiness (that was indeed a GCSE biology inspired metaphor btw, it doesn’t really work but I love the word phagocyte).
I’ll keep it to 10, because I have a presentation to be doing and lines to be learning:
- The proximity of Coop to my flat. And the fact that it has a) a good cereal selection and b) caramelised onion hummus. The real essentials.
- Apple Music, for providing me with unlimited tunes to make all this research and reading I have to do much more bearable.
- My fluffy hot water bottle, which I’ve been heating and putting in my backpack to keep my back warm when I walk to seminars (best way to do seminars, you’re welcome).
- My mum, for posting my warmest fleece down to me in time for the weekend (and for being generally fab – except for the fact that after over a year she still can’t work out how to read my blog when I post something new).
- The wind today; it was blowing the leaves around the street today in a kind of slow-motion whirlwindy way that I paused to watch for a while. Plus the wind stops my hair from going frizzy. Pretty leaves + good hair day.
- Cormac McCarthy (and I guess Alex for introducing me to him), for giving me one of my favourite ever book quotes that I recently reread – “ten thousand dreams ensepulchred within their drizzled hearts” (from ‘The Road’). Go read if you want more juicy nuggets of imagery like that.
- My Applied Drama group, Rosie and Jess, for making this ridiculously time-consuming module a complete joy. My faith in group work at uni has been thoroughly restored (although I’m still praying I don’t have any group work in my English module next year, please just let me write essays on my own).
- Sprouts. I bloody love sprouts.
- The whole getting darker earlier part of this year. Loads of people say they hate it, but it means that when I run into town because I’ve forgotten some obscure ingredient, all of the Christmas lights are properly illuminating the street. Sure, 90% if the time I don’t have my glasses on and it kind of looks like a blurry fluorescent cloud is hanging above the shops, but that’s enough to give me that warm, glowy (if slightly blurry) pre-Christmas feeling.
- The proximity of now to being able to go home and annoy my cats in front of the fire with I’m a Celeb and a box of Quality Street next to me. My idea of perfection (although I only actually like the green triangles, but you can’t not have Quality Street at Christmas)
I could go on, but my presentation is looming and my bum is getting bit numb sat here on the floor of my room. So I’ll move onto my recipe for the evening. This one’s basically just a recipe for the gravy, since you can add whatever veg and grains you please. For a lighter, more summery version, use kale, sugar snap peas, edamame, raw julienned carrot and mooli. For the Winter version, follow the steps below.
Roasted Veg and Grain Bowl with Ginger Miso Gravy for 2 inspired by The First Mess’s ‘busy lady bowl’
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 handfuls of brussel sprouts, halved
A bunch of curly kale, ripped into small leaves
1 red onion, cut into relatively thin wedges
1 avocado, sliced
A handful of almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
Any grain you want – I used a mixture of puy lentils, bulgur wheat and barley. You could use rice
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small thumb of ginger, grated finely
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 mug chicken or veg stock
1 tbsp honey
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp spelt flour
Coriander, to garnish
- Heat the oven to 180 degrees fan. Line a baking tray with parchment and throw the butternut squash, onion and brussel sprouts on. Drizzle over some oil, season and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.
- Depending on what grains you are using, cook according to instructions. I used one of those microwave mixed grain packs so I just microwaves when everything else was ready.
- When you have about 10 minutes to go, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan on medium and add the ginger, garlic and chilli flakes, frying until fragrant. Add most of the stock, leaving about 1/4. Add the honey, lemon juice, and seasoning, and simmer.
- Mix the leftover stock with the miso paste and spelt flour until all the lumps have gone, before adding to the saucepan and stirring until the sauce thickens. You could strain it at this point to get rid of any little lumps of ginger, but I didn’t really see the point. Put the hob on the lowest setting and leave to keep warm.
- Sautee the kale in a small knob of coconut oil, season and serve on top of your grains, followed by the roasted veg, avocado, gravy and seeds. Top with coriander.