Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I've become a fan of rice paper rolls. Easier to make than you might think, they look great and are very versatile. The rolls provide a thin wrap for the filling of your choice; the rice paper has a slightly chewy texture; opaque, you get a pretty good idea of what's inside; think pita pocket with less calories! Rice paper has little taste of its own.
Firstly, ROLLING. There are 3 basic shapes.
- the 'cigar' shape is made like this:
- the 'parcel' shape is made in a similar fashion, BUT start with a square rather rectangular gob of filling and roll up each side equally
- the 'open' style is made like the cigar, but start with the filling in a rectangle that touches one edge of the circle of rice paper. Fold left side toward centre, bottom side toward top, and right side toward centre to seal, leaving one end open at the top. See here:
Another way to make small opens is to do cigars and then cut them in half (at a snazzy angle) to expose the delectable and attractive fillings, voila.
Typical Asian-style fillings include
- vegetables: carrots, yam (jicama), red pepper, chinese cabbage, kang kong, green paw-paw, cucumber
- zingy bits: garlic, onion, chilli
- fillers: vermicelli
- protein: tofu, tempeh, nuts, sunflower seeds
- live spices: (Thai) basil leaf, mint leaf, spring onion, coriander, rocket, sprouts
Non-traditional fillings: whitlof, purple cabbage, grated parsnip, slivered almonds, julienned summer squash or zucchini, celery leaves, refried beans, snow peas, raisins, pickled anything, leftover cooked vegetables, etc.
Otherwise you go with whatever you like, don't you? The thing is you can do a bit of a cross-over between stuff you would put in a bowl salad and stuff you would put in a bread roll. Traditional fillings are mostly raw or only lightly cooked; you want the end result to have some crunch about it.
PAUSE, DURING WHICH BLOG ENTRY IS ILLUMINATED BY PHOTO OF TODAY'S LUNCH FEATURING 2 PARCELS, 2 CIGARS AND 1 OPEN ROLL:
This is a typical kind of dipping sauce to have them with:
Otherwise tweak it how you like. Sometimes I just put a splodge - that's a technical term some of you beginners might not know - of sweet chilli sauce inside the roll itself and that's enough for me. These fillings go well with peanuts so a gloppet - another technical term, I'm convinced of that - of peanut butter works great too.
Serve at room temperature. Hence can be prepared beforehand if necessary. Think lunch, lunchbox, healthy and neat-o party snack, dinner entree, etc. If you do the cigar shapes you can tie them up with a chive for an extra flourish (they don't need it to hold together, the rice paper gets tacky and stays stuck just fine on its own). Note: if making rolls for a platter, try to not have them touching or they will stick together like tax fraud to dodgy accountants.
Cheap! A packet of 30 costs me $2. They're the large-ish size, about 22cm diameter. For a man, 5 makes a lunch. For a woman maybe 3. Hence 1 packet goes a long way. No need to keep in fridge, they are dry goods. There are different sizes so if you want to make delicate canape-style rolls that have just a sliver of this and that inside get the ones that are about as big as a bread roll plate.
Each rice paper sheet/wrapper (22cm diameter) is 23 calories, 4.5g carbohydrate, 5g protein, 0g fat. Win!
This guy suggests using them in place of nori for those who don't like the taste of seaweed:
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
On 7 November I ran my first ever half-marathon, a year after first 'getting off the couch'. I crossed the finish line in 1:43:39, apparently in 24th place of the 230 who started. But the important thing was just the being there, the sheer joy of running, the finishing, the knowing that I had set a goal and achieved it.
I had a wonderful time running along the scenic tracks and roads around Marysville although the hill climb to the waterfall - about km 13 to 17 - was nasty. The sprint downhill to the finish hammered my quadriceps as well so I was very sore the next day or two. Still, I now feel like a real athlete :-) And now that I'm 29kilograms (about 64 pounds) lighter than when I started exercising, I'm thrilled with the way I feel (and look) in general.
Having done this I'd now like to turn my sights to a full marathon. Possibly around March or April next year would suit me. There are no events where I live so I'll need to travel. I have been thinking about the Strasimeno in Italy although I haven't made my mind up yet. Please make a suggestion if you know of any fun marathon events. (There were plenty of times in my life when I could not have imagined 'marathon' and 'fun' appearing in the same sentence, so I've come a fair way!)
Hope you're all doing well too!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Earlier this week the Sparkmail contained the introduction and link to an article shilling the wonderful benefits of eggs. And, predictably, none of the negatives were dealt with in a meaningful way.
Four days after this unbalanced article appeared, guess what I noticed at the top of one of the pages: "An Eggland's Best egg is an amazing, nutritious food and an ideal ingredient for all sorts of healthy recipes and eating occasions. Share your best healthy egg recipes for a chance to Win $1,000 in Free Groceries!"
That's right, Spark now has an egg producer as one of its sponsors. By all means think what you will of eggs but don't consider Spark as a reliable source of objective information. It is NOT.
A good start on at least understanding what eggs have come to be in the marketplace is this NY Times article: www.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/dining/17
Personally - and this should be a surprise to nobody given the teams I belong to - I find the concept of consuming the menstrual cycle of birds quite disgusting right from the outset. Then there is the disease angle. Even the American Council on Science and Health admits: "According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 2.3 million contaminated eggs are produced in the U.S. each year and about 100,000 to 150,000 cases of foodborne illness are caused each year by Salmonella in shell eggs." Are you feeling lucky?
Any good vegan web site will be able to tell you more about the negatives of eating eggs and how easy it is to manage without them. If you are interested enough in your own health and ethical living I'm sure you'll find them. C'est la vegan and have a great weekend!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Last Monday, on my 'official' weigh in day - if this was Biggest Loser would I have to vote myself out? - the scales saluted me with a 69 (kilograms...that's 151.8 for you poor pounds people). No, I wasn't reading the numbers upside down. Or maybe I was! The fact is that I have got here from 96. In 50 weeks.
Hmmmm. Okay, I am happy. I am feeling great and all my numbers are within healthy ranges, e.g. BMI, bodyfat, etc. Which set me thinking about goal weight. 69 was a number I picked a while back. Why? Because it was a bit under 70, which was what I weighed last time I felt fit. In other words it was an arbitrary figure based on a skerrick of history but nowt more than that.
After checking I found the recommended weight range for my height and gender is 56 to 75kg. As I can see myself feeling heavy at the 75 end, and looking like a prisoner-of-war at the 56 end, I need something in the middle. I also have begun to think of goal weight as a mini range in itself rather than a single number. Weight can be expected to vary a bit throughout the year, and that should be allowed to happen without panic. Gain a fraction during that two-week vacation? No dramas, just work back into a rhythm and steady the ship.
Eventually - and for now, as I'm still a work in progress - I settled for 64 to 70 as my goal weight range. For Spark goal weight purposes I have set a new 'target' of 67 as that lies squarely in the middle. Once I get to 67 I will consider to have 'arrived' and will formally go into weight maintenance mode while a large display of fireworks goes off in the background.
As I am still in marathon training and will keep running long distances while I am enjoying it, I expect to get a bit lower than 67. Maybe all the way to 64, who knows. That's what I mean about range. I already have lots of kilometres under my belt this year so it's fair I think to expect that I will keep getting leaner if I keep on running.
I'd like to do a blog with before/after photos but I'll save that for the coming 67 day, or at least when Internet Explorer is not doing my head in! Aarrggghhh!
I hope you're all doing well with your own programs. Keep strong!
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