Tuesday, 12 July 2011

who needs cheese?

well my arms feel a little better now, but my shoulders are paining me, especially my right shoulder. I don't know if it's the MS or just muscle strain from grinding all them lovely seeds with a pestle and mortar, but sometimes the pain takes my breath away. Luckily it's only twinges, and luckily it's generally only when I'm resting that it plays up. There is also a numb spot on the top of my right shoulder that I've become aware of over the last few days..only a small patch, but it does feel like nerve damage to me..can't feel any sharp sensation there. Hey ho, just thought I'd mention it here in case I want to remember when my dodgy shoulders were bad at some point in the future.
I've been feeling quite low, emotionally, recently. I think this might have something to do with my achy shoulders, and the ongoing fatigue. That really gets to me sometimes. It' so damned frustrating! I have taken it into my silly head to redecorate the kitchen now that I'm mostly better. This is a job that is long overdue and that has been shelved since my first big relapse a year ago. I have decided that what I really need to maintain my new healthy diet is a pleasant environment in which to prepare my nutritious yet savoury offerings. It actually sounds like quite a reasonable idea...on paper! Our kitchen is very old and damp and in need of professional attention. What it has is me...enthusiastic as f***, but with the physical tenacity of an 80 year old! An interesting and exhausting combination! I am taking it as easy as I can tolerate, but it is happening so slowly. It is, in one way, encouraging and empowering to be getting up and doing something really constructive that will improve my daily life, but on the other hand it serves as a constant reminder of my acquired frailty; my 80-year-old's arms shake with the effort of trying to get screws out of the walls - I had to stop that for fear that my arms would yield before the screws did!
The dietary changes are going well. I'm quite enjoying the challenge. Today we all had pizza for supper. The rest of the family had regular pizzas, and I made myself a lovely dairy free version. I overdid the anchovies and chillies a little, but with a bit of tweaking I think I could be onto a winner! Here's the toppings I used...

tomato paste
polenta slices
lots of shredded spinach, washed
jalapeno peppers
fresh basil
olive oil drizzled on top

ok, it was a bit of a jumble sale of toppings, but very tasty and definitely worth repeating the experiment. I think the polenta worked really well in conjunction with the spinach as a substitute for cheese..the spinach goes all soft and moist, whereas the polenta maintains its soft firm texture - both have a mild, unassuming flavour that went really well with the more forceful flavours of anchovies, capers etc.

I also tried out the dairy free Benecol live yoghurt drink, as the shop had run out of Alpro Soya live yoghurt...I was impressed that they offered a dairy free version of the little yoghurty health fix, but it was absolutely disgusting! I think if they run out of Alpro Soya yoghurt again I would be tempted over to the Dark Side and eat cow yoghurt as a one off!

another thing that I've enjoyed making recently is good old fashioned soya cheese, a recipe passed onto me in a squat in Westcliff-on-Sea many many moons ago...

Soya cheese

dairy free margarine
soya flour
yeast extract

melt some margarine in a pan
stir in enough soya flour to make quite a thick paste
add a bit of yeast extract
mix together, put into an old washed out margarine tub, label it "soya cheese" and put in the fridge. After a while it gets a really good crumbly spreadable texture and is divine on toast, in sandwiches or wraps etc.

it's lovely, easy to knock up and keeps for a few days...


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