Archive for category Food

Spicy

I like spicy food. Growing up in South East Asia, almost every meal came with a liberal sprinkling of fresh, pickled or dried chilli. While my tolerance of all things spicy was never every that high, I was reasonably OK with moderate to high levels of chilli heat. I’m not sure when it started, but I realised that my tolerance of chilli dropped dramatically some time when the wife and I were living in Australia. I realised that my scalp and face started perspiring heavily if the meal had chilli in it. There wasn’t even that much spicy food there, and even the traditional Malaysian and Singaporean dishes there were relatively watered down by comparison. But still, I had the sweats every time I ate something with chilli in it. When I went back to Singapore and Malaysia, well, combined with the heat, it was drenching.

I reckoned the chemicals in the chilli caused the sweats rather than the actual heat of the chilli. I could get the sweats with sweet chilli sauce. And that’s nothing. Things are slightly different now. While my tolerance for chilli heat remained unchanged over the years since I’ve moved to London, it has changed dramatically after I had the conditioning treatment for the transplant.

Now, I can’t take ANY chilli at all. Not a single bit. A single shard of Jalapeño in a mouthful of guacamole is enough to set my mouth on fire and for my scalp to think it’s Niagara Falls. Again, I don’t think it’s the actual heat of the chilli causing the reaction, but the fact that the layer of mucous protecting my mouth from the chemicals in chilli has been eroded by the chemo and radio therapy. So when I eat something with chilli, I get the full smackdown. It’s like rubbing chilli into your eyes. Not very nice.

This is a culinary disaster for me. Most of my favourite foods have chilli in them in one way or another. And I seriously can’t imagine spending the rest of my life not eating my favourite foods. So do I just bite the bullet and take spicy food in the hope that my tolerance for them goes back to what it was? Or do I just live with not eating spicy food? Decisions decisions. 

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Growth spurt

We think Sophie’s been going through a growth spurt. Why? Cos she’s been feeding voraciously every hour! So much so that the wife can’t keep up. She’s literally been sucked dry. I’ve read that the first growth spurt starts at about 2 weeks, and can last up to 7 days! The wife’s all but given up after day 2.

Since the wife’s breastfeeding, she’s struggling to keep up with Sophie’s demands. Plus it’s exhausting having to feed a screaming baby every hour or so. We used to think that we could express some milk and store it for use if Sophie needed it. But try doing that AND feed a hungry baby in the same day. Doesn’t quite work.

It’s not just the eating that’s throwing us off. Babies going through growth spurts tend to be less settled as well. They want to be picked up, cuddled, tend to be more colicky and generally cry a lot. That sort of describes Sophie over the last few days. Normally she’s pretty good with settling herself to sleep so we generally swaddle her, and plop her into her cot or moses basket and she drifts off to sleep herself. Now we cuddle her and try our darnest to get her to sleep. We also find ourselves running to her room when the crying starts, and generally try to figure out what’s wrong. If she’s hungry, or if she needs winding, or if she did a massive poop ( cos she’s eating too much). All while trying to console a crying baby.

Hopefully this phase won’t last long. If this is what a growth spurt is like, I can’t imagine the fridge raids when she’s a teenager. 

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Galicia

Galicia. A region in the North West Spain. Famous for fish and seafood. No, we didn’t go there unfortunately. But we chanced upon a restaurant called Galicia, serving food from the region, right smack in the middle of Notting Hill. We were out for a pizza at Pizza East Portobello and saw it across the road and decided to try it one day. Since the wife is on maternity leave, we decided to go for dinner there to celebrate her ‘freedom’ before being shackled to the baby. 🙂 Who knows, it may be the last time we go out for dinner as 2 people before the baby makes 3.  

It was very homey and lively, even for a Tuesday evening. The place was packed to the rafters and more people were streaming in.



Waiting patiently for our food. It was typically Spanish (tapas, meats, fish, etc) but with a Galician twist. I think I am developing a steroid face. It’s not as bad as it was previously during course 1, but still noticeable.


Patatas bravas, or potatoes in a tomato sauce laced with Pimenton. Lovely. We always have this when we have tapas. It’s actually quite easy to make. I’ve made once. How hard can it be if I can make it? 🙂 


The rest of the food. We have grilled crayfish (Langoustines by the look of it) on the left, followed by meatballs in sauce on the right and a chorizo cooked in red wine at the back. They were all very nice. Although I can’t say for sure how the crayfish tasted. The wife had them all. 


These were so impressive looking that I had to take another picture. Mum, I didn’t have any. Really. 


The wife also ordered clams in a tomato broth, and baked in an oven. Apparently they were very nice. Not that I would know, I didn’t have any. Really. 🙂 

Now this I did have. Pork pieces in a red pepper sauce. It was yummy. 


The wife attacking the crayfish with gusto. It was a very enjoyable evening. We thought we were going to have a quiet dinner out but who knew that the restaurant would be packed on a school night. It got so noisy that baby girl was squirming and kicking throughout dinner.

But it was good to get out for a few hours. Only because it will be a pretty long time before we can do it again. 

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Crepe

Since we have 2 very hungry people at home most of the time, 1 on Prednisolone and the other eating ravenously during growth spurts, I need lots of quick, healthy and relatively nutritious food to ease the hunger pangs.

One thing that we always like to make is Crepe. It’s easy, quick and uses the usual kitchen cupboard ingredients so there’s no need to stock up on rarely used ingredients. The ingredients are

  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Pinch of salt

Whisk them all together till they form a smooth, runny batter. I don’t really have proportions, so I just gauge just how runny the batter is and adjust accordingly. Heat a large non-stick pan, add some butter and heap a ladle of batter into the pan. Swirl the pan till the batter covers the entire pan, creating a large thin pancake.


A crepe on its own is not exciting. But it’s like a piece of toast. You can literally add anything you want to it; sweet or savoury. Traditionally it’s eaten with butter and sugar, or with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.

I like to make it for breakfast with Nutella (Hazelnut spread) and bananas or strawberries, or as a savoury pancake with grated cheese and ham. 



But it’s also great with something simpler. So when the wife and I get hunger pangs in the evenings we usually eat it plain, with some sugar or honey, or ice cream. It reminds us of the times we were in Paris, walking around, exploring all the nooks and crannies of the wonderful city, munching on a crepe. 🙂 

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