Superfluous Spice

James Proclaims (4)

My other half occasionally claims to be a vegetarian. She knows that she isn’t really, she’s actually a pescetarian but people find it easier to understand vegetarian. For some reason it’s more difficult to accept someone not eating meat if the person in question is perfectly happy to eat fish. Not that my beloved explains her motivations particularly well for her choice of diet.

“It’s because I don’t really identify with fish,” is the justification she offers.

But she’s not exactly on first name terms with any cows that I’m aware of.

Anyway, she’s pescetarian, which pretty much makes me pescetarian, but  “I do love a tasty burger!”  to quote Samuel L Jackson ‘s character, Jules, in Pulp Fiction when he is bemoaning  a similar restriction in diet (although his girlfriend is an actual vegetarian).

Well I like offal of any kind really.

I still get my fair share of processed meat so frankly being married to my wife, and the consequent dietary restrictions, has probably benefited my health quite significantly.

And I like fish anyway so it’s really not a problem.

Recently though, we decided it would be prudent to lower our weekly shopping bill, and with that in mind we’ve even cut out the sea food and gone purely vegetarian on certain days of the week. I’ve been making lots of meals in bulk and freezing them. It’s really economical and I can knock up a batch of evening meals that will last a fortnight in about an hour, so it’s not too labour-intensive.

I tend to make four different things, which we then eat in rotation. They are:

A root vegetable soup

A ‘chicken’ curry


Chilli con carne.

The last three sound like meat dishes but I use that meat substitute ‘Quorn’  instead. It’s not as nice as actual meat, but it’s cheaper, allegedly healthier (I remain unconvinced on this point, but if it’s good enough for Mo Farah it’s good enough for me) and by the time it’s marinated in the sauce it’s convincing enough for a work night meal.

Anyway I’ve been employing this economical and convenient solution to the evening meal for a few months to great effect. I’ve noticed significant weekly savings, which we then blow on takeaways on the weekend (you can’t be good all of the time).

But I encountered a problem with the last batch I made. I use chilli in all of the meals bar the bolognaise. Normally I use frozen chillies, which are conveniently pre-chopped. They bring a cheeky zing to the meals. But in the middle of my producing my last consignment, I realised, too late, that I’d run out, so I nipped to the nearest convenience store and they had neither fresh, nor frozen chilli peppers, but they did have chilli powder. I had a choice between normal chilli powder and ‘hot’ chilli powder.  As both of us like a bit of kick to our curry, I went for the hot one. And applied it liberally to the soup, the curry and the chilli con carne.

I misjudged this slightly.

It’s been a challenging fortnight.

But despite some of the meals being borderline inedible, we’ve persevered with stiff upper lips.

Waste not, want not…

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