Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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This is Day 19 of Veganuary, a 30-day pledge to eat vegan to save the planet. Today, I experiment with vegan Mexican recipes and we try to catch a mouse. Not for protein, mind you, but because it’s probably munching away at our TV cables and it’s not a healthy diet for a house mouse.
Unlike yesterday’s earliest Burns Night in britain, this morning is very tame. In a nutshell, I get up, take a shower, go downstairs and put the kettle on for tea while my teenage daughter has breakfast. Yes, I know. Fast and furious, eh? More trepidation awaits when my second daughter comes down, an hour later, because she starts school later on Fridays.
Oh, late breakfast, guys. But hey ho, does it look familiar to regular readers? Hold on.
Yes! (Fist pump.) This week, I’m on a total Danish spelt sourdough + hazelnut butter + mystery jam roll. The streak won’t last, though, as 1) the jam jar is finished (it was a small one) and 2) I only have one more day of this delicious loaf of bread before I need to trek to the nearest Gail’s Bakery to find its successor. I could be bold and try something new. That would add some spice to my breakfasts.
I’m hungry at 11.20am but distract myself until 1pm, by writing the review of a great little camping lantern by Black Diamond. The writing process is so immersive that I sometimes completely get lost in time and realize an hour or two has gone by. It is almost addictive, like my mind can’t stop once it gets going and I absolutely have to write. Today, I have a goal of three posts to update or create and I’m on a roll. The second post is an update on great winter gaiters manufactured by a Canadian company based in Vancouver. This is my third post.
When I click on the “Publish” button on the page, the tension finally drops and I look at my watch. One o’clock!
I make two cheese toasties out of the vegan cheese left in the fridge and for good measure, seed two pomegranates so that I can fix a spinach pomegranate salad. For dessert, I eat an apple and get back to work. Finding and editing illustrations is very time consuming.
It’s my oldest daughter who decides that we should eat Mexican tonight. She loves a good burrito or quesadilla and I browse through my Mexican cookbook to see if I can find any vegetarian recipes.
Some of the most interesting recipes use ingredients that are next to impossible to find in the UK. Fresh cactus ears? Fresh chile poblanos? Dried corn husks? This is making me hungry but I can’t make food appear out of the blue. Good thing I have a well-stocked pantry, as far as spices go, and the street market is still open. There, I am able to find plump limes, coriander, tomatoes, red peppers. In oriental shops, I find Mexican beans and plantains. At WholeFoods, I find vegan sliced fake cheese and corn/wheat tortillas.
We start with quesadillas. On my plate, two different quesadillas:
I’ not sure which one I prefer. Maybe the beans? I love pinto beans, I should eat them more often. Surprisingly, I don’t miss meat in my dinner. In San Francisco, I always had the same quesadilla at Pancho Villa Taqueria: carnitas, refried beans, non-spicy pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese + salad and guacamole. It’s a far cry from tonight’s quesadilla but my girls love how fun it is to make quesadillas and go for seconds.
For dessert, I’ve deep-fried 8 plantains and serve them with vanilla sugar and cinnamon but they’re not quite right. Not black enough when I selected them? It’s tough to find really ripe plantains in stores. Everybody seems to be selling them green or yellow which is way too early. Never mind, I’ll find a better way to accommodate them tomorrow.
That brings me to what I hope we’ll find tomorrow too, a little mouse that has been munching away at something behind my kitchen radiator for the past three evenings. It’s a tiny house mouse, super cute, but I can’t get to it as the radiator is screwed into the wall and the space is very narrow. My daughter hopes that she can lure the mouse into a DIY engineered mouse trap that she builds.
It ends up on the floor with a cardboard ladder leading to a one-way funnel, the funnel opens into the box where my daughter has organized a full mouse studio: cup of water, teaspoon of peanut butter, chocolate bonbon and fluffy balls of cotton. I really hope that we can catch this mouse before it electrocutes itself or before the neighbor’s cat finds it.
Hopefully, mouse news tomorrow.