Wednesday 30 November 2022

Advent 2022 - Fast Tracking #4

 Today's Challenge: Fast from... using the dishwasher.

When I thought about today's challenge in prospect, I thought the absence of recourse to the dishwasher might cramp my style in the kitchen big time. I felt, if I was honest with myself, that I had become rather too dependent on this resident in my kitchen as a kind of unpaid, mechanical assistant. When we lived in London, I did all my cooking in a pocket-handkerchief-sized kitchen with a doll's-house sized fridge. All washing up had to be done by hand as we had no space for a dishwasher and it was only when we moved to Oxfordshire to a bigger house with a correspondingly bigger kitchen that we acquired this particular bit of kit and, of course, having it there, means it's been used all the time and the prospect of a day without using it, I confess, did fill me with some secret dismay. 

It's not that I never do any washing up by hand nowadays - there are always things that are not dishwasher-friendly that have to be hand washed - but I have come very much to rely on the dishwasher for the 'heavy-lifting' of cleaning cooking-pots, plates and cutlery and general batterie de cuisine. 

But my misgivings have not been borne out by today's experience. I've rather enjoyed not having to wait for the dishwasher to finish its programme before retrieving the articles I use a lot. And I've enjoyed the 'thinking time' washing-up by hand has provided at various junctures during the day. Completely unexpectedly, it's felt curiously liberating. To be fair, I haven't cooked anything too ambitious, or sticky, or greasy today - just the soup and the pumpkin rolls - so I may not be giving it a fair assessment and today only represents one day without it, after all, but let's just say that I am actually looking forward to the prospect of a few more dishwasher-free days over the course of the next few weeks. 

So today's menu has been as follows:

tea with unsweetened soya milk
apple juice
citrus fruit salad as per yesterday and the day before
sweet breakfast rolls from the freezer with blueberry and lemon verbena jam 

sourdough crackers (made as per my recipe here but with 30g rather than 20g rapeseed oil and no milk or aniseed so that they are vegan-friendly and also suitable for days down the line, when imported foods are banned)
yoghurt cheese and a taste of this summer's apricot and tomato chutney 

black tea
Armenian Easter buns from the freezer (yes, I know it's unseasonal but that's what the buns are called - they're slightly sweet, dotted with raisins and candied pink grapefruit peel and flavoured with mahlepi and aniseed)

tomato and sweet potato soup - made from onions, fennel, carrots, red peppers, sweet potatoes, tinned tomatoes and homemade vegetable stock cooked in the pressure cooker for 12 minutes and then whizzed to a deep rusty orange purée
pumpkin rolls / KGB* rolls from the freezer (for the bacon fanciers)
fig and melon spoon sweet as per yesterday

*KGB rolls are an affectionate name given in this house to rolls with a secret agenda. On the outside they look like plain white rolls but in their depths they carry a covert filling of bacon pieces cooked with red onions and Aleppo pepper. H loves the things and fortunately, there are a few of them in the freezer. 

The pumpkin rolls with their sunny, yellow colour were a cheering lift on a cold, dank and grey evening and I think they go well with soup. 

All in all a much easier day than I had anticipated despite rather more time spent at the sink than usual!

E x

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