Tofu – the Day of Reckoning

Now we have a fridge which works, we can buy perishable food and leave it in there until it goes off. I don’t do this often – in fact I’m very good at eating everything in sight – but there is one item which always seems to remain inside the fridge. My fiancé got all excited when he saw these strange blocks on the top shelf – he thought it was a posh treat from Marks and Spencer’s and got a nasty surprise when he realised it was tofu. I think he may have had a bad experience with it in the past (I was most probably involved, but may have erased it from memory). He looked haunted when I said I was going to “get back into tofu”.

I go through spurts of buying this wobbly wet mass, convinced I will make some incredible protein enriched macrobiotic meal. I’ve considered scrambled tofu, tofu stir fry, tofu mayonnaise, sesame tofu – and yet something in me just can’t get the damn thing out of the fridge. I picked it up the other day and then decided I couldn’t do anything with it until I bought some kitchen role to absorb the juices. It’s been in there for so long now the use by date is approaching. Tofu is a survivor though. What other food endures drunken fridge rummaging? What other food sits politely waiting to be seen, without a waft of defeat? There’s a reason this stuff has survived through the ages, and the fact it does last a long time is perfect for procrastinators and tofu-doubters – but also contributes to weeks of tofu guilt. I feel I must get through this tofu wall and make something.

I think you have to understand a food before you can make something taste good. What is tofu he asks me? And it’s a good question because even though I know it is bean curd (that already sounds pretty grim) I don’t really know what bean curd is.  So I looked it up. Bean curd is made from soy milk (which comes from pressing soy beans). The soy milk is then curdled using acid (lemon / lime /vinegar whatever) and then the curdled soy milk – curd- is pressed into blocks. And those blocks are then left on the top shelf of my fridge for a further three weeks until: the Tofu Day of Reckoning.

This day has now arrived and I have kitchen role. And a willing guinea pig who has requested tofu curry (he thinks this is the best option as he is imagining he can hide from the whole experience with chili – but I will fight for the tofu’s right). Today I’m going to make tofu work for me. Why not? It is low in fat, it is high in protein and it is calling for me. I can picture it, like a monk waiting for sunrise. Mocking me among all the other irresistible simple meals in my mind – I hear you Tofu. I hear you.

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Man’s best friend

When we were living in Paris I took great delight in scoffing at the little pooches which pooped all over the city, and even more delight in watching the French dog owners unabashedly ignore the mess their fur balls had made, and prance off in their tight red jeans. When we moved to the Cotswolds I found I had a lot of time to myself. Getting up at 5am and driving the man to the train station and picking him up again at 8pm meant my days were full. Of time. I took to walking and soon the cheese fat from Paris melted away as I ventured further and further into the depths of the great British countryside. After a session of tree hugging I began to think maybe I did need a companion after all. I’ve always wanted a dog, but I’ve always been afraid of getting one. It’s always the dog walkers who find the bodies you see, and I don’t want to find a body. And the village we were living in was almost an exact replica of Midsomer – bar the lovely John Nettles. In the end I figured there are more dog owners than there are murders in the UK. “It’s time we got a dog” I said to my fiance. And he agreed. It’s good when we agree. But deciding you want a dog is only the beginning. You then have to decide on the type of dog. The breed, the size, the temperament, the long hair, short hair, age and likelihood of it eating your children (if we ever have enough time in the same room to make any). Dogs really do live a long time if you look after them properly, which I intend to do.

So we decided on a Schnauzer. This means Moustache in German, which amused us for some reason but it was not the only reason we decided on this breed. Yes it does have funny facial hair, but they are also kind, loyal and do not eat kids. Woof. Next decision – there are different types of Schnauzers. Miniature Schnauzers, Standard Schnauzers and Giant Schnauzers. Try saying that quickly. We got a bit fed up at this point because I didn’t mind having a miniature dog but he thought it would make him look funny walking round with a little dog. I did not point out that adopting any dog with such distinctive facial hair, no matter the size, has to be an act of self deprecation.

Anyway we arrived home to Kent dog-less and our very keen and informative neighbours were quick to tell us that the person who had rented out our house had two dogs who barked all day long. Our neighbours added that they were extremely pleased to see us return. Not a great way to be welcomed home – people were pleased to see us because we didn’t have dogs. Woof woof.

Now my days are shorter, and we do spend more time in the same room, I still manage to get in an odd walk around the common. I do mean odd in the strange sense of the word here, because where else do you see big hulking smelly masses crapping all over the place and their very British owners scooting around after them picking up their hot crap with their hands wrapped in plastic bags? It struck me that this relationship has got out of hand. I’m pretty sure feeding, washing, grooming and picking up poo is for the reserves of people who have kids. And yet somehow the humble dog has got there. So we’re getting out of that by getting a cat. Miaow.

Move move move

I think they say moving house comes close to the stress of divorce. Well I’m not married yet and we’ve moved four times in 10 months. Maybe he’s trying to get rid of me (he does suffer from my strange macrobiotic recipes and how I’ve started leaving cupboard doors open), but he can’t shake me off that easily… Anyway it is stressful, without a doubt and I know this because I went for a massage in Chipping Camden – really nice place Cotswold House and the lady who gave me my holistic massage said the base of my spine was really hot compared with the rest of my back and that was because I was unsettled and on edge from all of the moving. But, this move is different. This move is home.

As I pack my bags for the final time (I don’t intend to die in my next house but I do intend to stay there long enough to have different things to pack, and different bags to pack the different things in) I realise how although I have moved an awful lot, I also haven’t really moved much at all. I’m talking about my arse. It’s not quite the size it was when I was being attacked by cheese in Paris, but it has not diminished as much as I’d hoped as I slowly come out of hibernation. I’ve been quite conscientious about attending my Fireman’s Training College Gym (a new definition of motivation?) and I did the Malta Half marathon in February and the Chedworth 10 mile trail run on Sunday, but basically I don’t really move.

This has been niggling at me since I saw a great programme on TV (you see, again I am on my arse as I find it hard to watch TV when taking a light jog) The Truth about Exercise which basically said we should do lots more intense exercise and that most of us don’t move enough. We should move more, all the time – so going to the gym or a run once a day is not that great. It’s clearly better than not going at all but it would be even better if we walked around all day and did gym visits and running too, which is hard when you work from home and sit in front of a computer. I’m thinking about my arse again. It does a lot of sitting because I find it hard to walk and write, and I find it hard to read and walk – unlike those people you see negotiating escalators and ticket barriers or entire crowded streets with their noses in their books. (I don’t believe they are reading at all I think they have just learnt to read and want everyone to see them doing it).

So I’ve recently started walking to work and walking on my lunch break and walking home from work, even though I work from home. I do little loops around the village and take pictures and pretend I am in a rush and I may get knocked over by that… tractor. It’s made me realise that all this gallivanting around the countryside is easy when you live in a village in the middle of nowhere, but when I move home I’m going to have to be more disciplined. So I really am going to start taking this moving business seriously, and intend to join a kick boxing gym and kick some ass. Watch this diminishing space.

Coconut craze

I don’t know why it’s suddenly become cool to crave coconuts. Coconut water is not a new thing and I’m pretty sure most people have had it before. Most of my backpacking days seemed to involve lying on a white sandy beach sipping away at the guts of one of those hairy little blighters with a straw. In Southeast Asia, Africa and the Caribbean it is a common drink, but in the Cotswolds … well I’ve been on the lookout, so yesterday I nearly crashed my trolley in the odds and sods aisle in the supermarket when I saw a carton of this new bling. Not because I had finally found it, but because it cost nearly £5 for one litre.

Everyone has been raving about the health benefits of coconut water for some time but I have tried to ignore it. I hate buying fad items in the middle of the day (I work from home so I shop during the day to avoid the zombie commuters) it makes me look like a kept woman prancing around with my organic vegetables and miso soup. Sometimes I feel I should stick a bunch of fresh flowers and a bottle of Gin in my basket to complete the cliché. Anyway I couldn’t help picking this carton off the shelf. If it cost that much did it mean it was good for me or that these young coconuts had been decapitated and decanted of their insides in a land far far away and I was paying the price? What are the benefits of coconut water and is it worth it?

Apparently it is high in potassium – which reduces hypertension and risk of strokes but at that price I reckon my blood pressure shot up as I strode quickly towards the check out. Another benefit of coconut water is that it is rehydrating. It has natural electrolytes similar to those found in those bright blue sports drinks. Potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and phosphorous all help the body to rehydrate. It also has low levels of fat, carbohydrate and sodium. It’s been used for intravenous rehydration in developing countries and athletes love downing it after a bout of exercise. I’ve just completed the Malta Half marathon (2 hours and 6 minutes of slow undulating hot pain) and I do understand the need to rehydrate after sport as it helps muscles repair and reduces the pain the next day. But what is wrong with a banana and a bottle of water on the finishing line? Apparently you’d have to have a bunch of bananas to get up to the coconut water levels of potassium and I’d have looked a bit greedy snatching more than one considering some people had just done the full 42k…

So is it worth it? My fiancé nearly dropped his Jaffa cake when I told him how much this dream juice was, but I figured if I can sit in the pub and drop £10 on a few pints, then surely a couple of litres of coconut water a week is a better idea? I don’t even know if I’m going to like the stuff without all the hair and sand. I’ll give it a go but I’ll have to shop under the cover of darkness. I’m not on the Gin yet.

A new big life

I’m back in the UK! This is not a bad thing for me although I can imagine a few people may now want to leave the country. I am quite enjoying being able to have conversations with just about anyone, knowing they understand exactly what I am saying. When you live abroad and don’t speak the language, you do start to lose a bit of your personality. I like to chat and play with words so to have that whole part of me ripped away for half a year was quite an adjustment. It’s not that I expect people in the UK to laugh at my jokes, but when you don’t even have the capacity to make a quick remark about … well about anything at all… it does something to you. But that’s my fault for moving to France without being fluent in French first.

Anyway, we are currently in the Cotswolds. I’m not sure there are many places which could be a greater contrast from Paris. Maybe the Gobi desert would come close, but moving away from such an incredible cultural centre, from the beautiful Eiffel Tower and the iconic buildings, the metro, the food and cinema right into the heart of a tiny village surrounded by farmland with one local shop which sells homemade crusty loaves and apple pies, is quite shock to the system. That’s the excuse I’m giving for being so quiet over the last couple of months.

The other reason for being a bit quiet is that I failed at going dairy-free – until I got back to the UK. Being almost suffocated by cheese for six months in Paris was never going to be easy but here, well yes there are cows, but they aren’t dumping cheese on my plate and shoving milk down my throat, and when I walk down the street I don’t get ambushed by cheesecake anymore. To get any sort of nourishment here I have to make an effort to go and get it. I have turned hunter gatherer. I get in the car and hunt down the nearest local town with a supermarket and then I gather my food in my re-usable bag. And while this does seem lazy it is much more enjoyable than trying to negotiate the Paris Metro with an old lady wheeler bag bursting with cheese and tarts, and then carrying it all up 93 steps. Plus, I can wear whatever I like here and no one will see me.

So yes – dairy free. How have I managed that? Well it was by accident really. The fridge where we are living does not really work. It makes a massive fuss about how much it is trying to work – it hums and buzzes and chugs away, but when I open the door I am greeted with lukewarm food. It’s not great for keeping milk, cheese, and butter. Or anything really. It would be better to leave all the contents of the fridge outside in a bag. Buy a new fridge? I refuse to buy anything when I have a whole house in storage (including 2 fridges). So we slowly moved to Rice Milk on our cereal and then eventually into our tea. And soon the Rice Milk will be heading for the door as my fiancé has become increasingly interested in this whole organic big life thing and is insisting we drink Coconut water. It’s the new thing, trust me.

So you see one catastrophe has led to a great success and I’m looking forward to exploring my new territory.

Say Cheese

Living in Paris, I spend much of my time avoiding two things. Dog mess and cheese. The dog mess is just an attitude problem. I mean who wants to clean up crap right? Picture the polite English lady scooping up her dog’s poop, wobbling slightly on her thick heels as she bends down in her tweed skirt and barber jacket. Can you really see a Parisian lady doing this in her stilettos and Louis Vuitton? Of course I exaggerate, I have seen one such lady in Paris cleaning up after her pooch but they are few and far between. Anyway back to the Cheese. I love cheese but I know it is bad for me. Of all the things in the world I wish Cheese was OK to eat in vast quantities. Maybe they should invent Camembert flavoured carrots or Brie flavoured broccoli. Anyway, the other day we went to lunch with friends and the chef had stopped cooking the normal menu so our friends ordered several platters of cheese and meat with bread. The next day I felt awful (red wine probably didn’t help) but my stomach was not happy at all and I wonder if it was the excessive amounts of cheese I had consumed. Why is cheese so bad? Well it’s not just cheese, it’s the whole dairy…

What do baby cows drink? Cows milk. What do baby goats drink? Goats milk. And what do human babies drink? Human milk. The whole point of weaning is to stop drinking milk because we can get the nutrients from solid foods. Cows and goats stop drinking milk but we are the only mammals who carry on drinking it – and the only mammals who drink another species’ milk. Plus we have only been drinking animal milk relatively recently in the evolution of mankind so what on earth did we survive on before? When I was young I was told to drink my milk to get calcium to make my bones strong, but no one told me I could get my calcium intake from leafy greens like broccoli, kale or Bok Choy, or sesame seeds, nuts or cereals.

So why is dairy seen as so bad in the macrobiotic world?  First and foremost it has to be because of the animal fat and the inevitable affect on our cholesterol. But there was also an issue in the USA over the last decade, as one of the ways of increasing milk production in cows is through a synthetic hormone called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rGBH). This works to make the cow produce lots of milk, but when the cow produces too much milk (more than nature intended) its glands swell and then it needs antibiotics to help it out. All this messing about with milk leaves traces of hormones and antibiotics in the end product but luckily it was banned in Europe and Canada and even in the US today large grocery stores avoid milk made with this process. So while I am pretty disgusted with the whole idea of forcing cows to produce more milk than is comfortable for them, I’m not too worried about this over here in Paris.

What I am worried about is of course dairy is high in fat and therefore contributes to high cholesterol and heart disease. Everyone knows this and most people who do know this will keep an eye on the amount they eat, but I think if you look at your diet you would be surprised how much dairy creeps in. Milk on your cereal, butter on toast, cheese in your lunch – in your sandwich, on your jacket potato, sprinkled on your soup. Then a yogurt or an icecream, cups of tea, a piece of chocolate. So in the end you have a body full of animal fat which you find hard to process and which clogs up your arteries. I wonder how I would feel if I cut out dairy for a bit. I would certainly lose weight, but apart from that how would my body feel? If you don’t have the enzymes to break down the milk sugar lactose, your body will be trying to tell you through flatulence, diarrhea and stomach problems, skin problems and breathing problems (from all the mucus). This is known as lactose intolerance (something I have always assumed was a fussy fad – everyone seems to have a food intolerance but maybe we should think about why when 10 per cent of Europeans are lactose intolerant). I think it will be hard to do in Paris but here’s the plan:

Soya milk, Almond milk, Rice milk – to be honest I would rather not drink tea if I have to have these, but I don’t mind rice milk on cereals. Tofu instead of cheese. Yep I saw some sort of recipe (along with one for mayonnaise too) and it looks simple enough and I need to give it a go. I can’t believe it will taste anything like cheese but it’s worth a try. And then just to make sure I am balanced I’ll have all the usual grains, brown rice and leafy greens.

My fiance looked a bit miffed when I suggested this idea, but we will give it a go here at Tofu Towers.

Fancy a cuppa?

I absolutely love living in Paris. It’s a beautifully compact city and I am still in awe of the architecture from the old to the new. My favourite landmarks are  the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur. I love the river, I love my local park and I am totally thrilled at the pace of life. But living in Paris has a down side. I’m not talking about the dog mess or the reams of red tape and paper work, which seem to stop me from doing the most simple of transactions. No I’m talking about tea.

So when I joked to my friends about how I would be packing PG Tips in my bag – it was actually true. This is not very macrobiotic (as my life gets more complicated out here my failure to follow macrobiotics seems to increase. I believe I need to be totally settled to manage this. But I am afraid I am never going to settle). Anyway back to the tea. Yes I am a typical English girl and when I was at work in England I would usually have around five or six cups of tea over the course of a day. And I was very particular about who made it for me. Some people really make a mess of a very simple drink – some people would not rinse out the mug so you get the scum all round the edge. Why would I want to drink that? Others would leave the tea bag in so long it seemed to disintegrate into dark flaky patches on the surface. Why would I want to drink that? And those who stirred my tea with a sugar spoon. Well I considered spitting in their drink next time I made it. Luckily I’m not interested in coffee – else this rant could be doubly as tragic. But tea, is a great comfort to me and in my view there are four elements to consider when making a good cup of tea.

1. A tea bag you like. Granted PG Tips is not the top of the tea tree but I like it. It reminds me of resting my aching feet or coming in from a cold dark night. I’ve had all the other black teas like Earl Grey, Assam and Darjeeling and I just like the taste of PG. Other brands like Tetley work at a stretch and Yorkshire a close third.

2. The right water. Of course boiling water is essential – but the type of water, hard or soft can dramatically change the taste of the tea.

3. Milk. I like skimmed milk. Anything else is just too milky. I have tried soya milk and rice milk in my tea and for me it is just not going to work – it is like drinking sour milk and there is nothing worse in my mind than sour milk.

4. The right cup. Just like my grandad, I don’t like curved lips on mugs. I like big chunky straight mugs or china mugs which hold in the heat. It matters so much that I won’t give a guest my big mug no matter how bad it looks giving them the smaller one.

So how has Paris failed in the search for a good home-made cup of tea? The tea bag? Well I have the main component so that is a good start. The water? Non! It is either too hard or too soft – some of my Paris friends actually boil bottled mineral water to get the right taste. Evian is apparently the closest one. The milk? Please – where is the skimmed milk? I have to get the demi – and this is not OK. The mug? I like my French mug. A lot.

So we have two out of four elements for the perfect cup of home-made tea. Not good enough. It’s like when you follow a recipe and you just think oh well I’ll swap that ingredient for what I have in the cupboard. You end up with something completely different and you feel stupid because you went to all that effort for a disappointing end product.

So I have actually been forced into being a macrobiotic tea drinker as a result of this dire situation in Paris. I also want to experiment more with the medicinal teas, although I won’t be making the mushroom tea for a while despite its fat burning properties (it is an acquired taste).

For now I have my Rooibos or herbal teas and I have some Bancha twig tea (kukicha) ready and waiting in the cupboard. I do enjoy these teas but just as the Eiffel Tower makes me smile every time I see it, I think the same will always be true for a real English cuppa.

The path less travelled

Ever since I became interested in Living the Big Life I have been warned by various people who follow the macrobiotic way that it won’t be an easy journey. I shrugged this idea off when I first began. Of course, I could see how chopping and preparing vegetables every Sunday afternoon in an effort to keep things easy and on track during the week could be irritating – what did you do on Sunday? But I was excited at the challenge and figured, if nothing else, I would get good at chopping. I’ve always wanted to do the whole slicing-so-fast-you-nearly-chop-your-fingers-off knife skills thing. I could also see it was going to take some time to understand the new foods I was being introduced to, and some time to adjust in the kitchen and learn new recipes. It’s easy if you eat the same foods over and over, but who wants to do that? And anyway there is so much new food out there I want to try, I am just going to have to get more organised.

So the practical aspect of living a macrobiotic lifestyle is not easy. But the biggest difficulty I have come across so far is other people. Friends, family and almost anyone I talk to about macrobiotics. My mum thought I was joining a religious cult because I was so intent on having my Miso soup every day and was trying to explain to her about the different energies in foods and how they make you feel. Other people have commented on how awful brown rice and tofu is (it is pretty awful if you don’t know what to do with it), and close friends have made jokes about how boring it must be to live in Paris and yet avoid the cheese and bread and cakes it is so famous for. I’m not sure if eating cakes makes a city more interesting (I have certainly seen and appreciated the beautiful displays in the shop windows), but what surprises me the most about all these negative comments is that I am not doing anything bad. I am trying to make myself better. Although it worries me that my allies feel this way, I guess I have to step back and remember when I first heard of macrobiotics I thought it was a fad diet left over from the ’60s for crazy Hollywood stars.

Society is not kind to those who want to be healthy. We have a habit of taking the mickey out of people who don’t drink or people who eat organic foods. We imagine vegetarians wearing knitted socks and hemp tunics and sitting on beanbags eating lentils. We roll our eyes if our friends go to the gym or play tennis on a Friday night instead of sitting in the pub. I’ve been there and I’ve thought those thoughts. I think the attitude and the jokes are born out of being defensive, which is connected to fear and even jealousy. I remember being a bit irked when people chose the path less travelled and said they were “off alcohol” or “getting fit”. I remember thinking I could do that – if only I did. When I was young I never even considered doing anything other than sitting in the pub, or eating the crap food in the canteen, or buying sweets at the cinema, just because that’s what most people did. It was the norm. Eating sweets while watching a film is just another choice we think we make, when really it has been heavily weighted towards us doing exactly that. Do you buy the Pic ‘n Mix because you are hungry and actually need it or is it just something you have always done when you go to the cinema? Isn’t it what everyone does? We’ve stopped thinking about what we want as individuals and do what we are expected to do. What is laid out for us. All I’m trying to do is think for myself and for my body and think about what it wants and listen to what it needs. Sometimes I don’t listen – I go out and have a heavy night drinking with friends – and I enjoy it at the time – but I don’t think I ever enjoy the day after. You’ll see from this blog I waver all the time from being healthy to being pretty unhealthy. But as I get older it is becoming more apparent that my body doesn’t want me to do that any more.

So I am choosing my own path. It’s a bit wiggly but I am gradually learning that what makes me feel good is to continue down this path, my own way. It would be nice if people close to me encouraged me on my way to a healthier lifestyle, but I don’t need their blessing. I won’t get too het up about it if people take the mickey – I don’t take myself that seriously – but I won’t change just to fit in with everyone else either. Now where is that rice cooker?

Fuel fuel fuel

I  recently spent a week trail running in the Alps and it made me think about food as fuel rather than as a pleasure. Of course you can still have delicious and nutritious running fuel, but it requires a lot of planning, especially when you are away from home. We were staying in a mini chalet with a double ring hob and a mini microwave/oven (similar to what we have in the Paris flat). We travelled by train so could carry very little of our own food and the nearest supermarket was 10 miles away and we knew we would have to lug any fresh vegetables we wanted in our sweaty back packs. I’m basically trying to justify why I failed so miserably at fueling up in a macrobiotic way, and I would love to hear of any tips for macrobiotic recipes, which compliment extreme sports with as little preparation as posisble.

I feel completely at home in the mountains and for me this is what life is about. Fresh air, freedom, simplicity, and you can’t argue with the views (our campsite is in the bottom of this picture).

So on day one we grabbed a warm croissant from the campsite bakery and then sipped on Miso soup with extra seaweed, now there’s balance for you. We decided to run to the nearest big town, which was 10 miles away. And so off we bounded with our sloshing Camelbaks and gooey energy bars. We ran through the woods with the soft moss flying up around our enthusiastic faces. We crossed dry river beds and clambered down landslides. We stopped in mountain villages to take water from the public fountains and dipped our fingers in the glacial river water.

We ran and ran and felt full of life, but there is only so much running you can do on a croissant and a Miso soup and for the last three miles all I could think about was food. Food becomes fuel when doing distances like these and if we were to make it back we had to eat large. Of course a bowl of steaming brown rice and Kale doused in Shoyu would have gone down a treat and given us the slow burning energy we needed for the return journey, but if I have found it hard to source this in Paris then there was almost no point looking in our mountain town. We were lucky to find a restaurant open in low season and there was little choice. It was either French bread with cheese and ham or Pizza (which is after all the same thing but flat). 

After two hours of resting and fueling up we headed back. We probably ran about 13 miles of the 20 mile round-trip. It was a fantastic feeling but a bit excessive on our first day. I could hardly walk for the rest of the week, let alone run – although we did do something every day (I count ping pong as something by the way).

Anyway we were very active all week and we consumed a lot of French bread, red wine and croissants (and an obligatory Tartiflette). I was wondering how I could have made this more macrobiotic. I enjoyed my Miso soup each day but I could have cooked brown rice each evening, and made energy bars with maple syrup for running, and I should have brought some quinoa or millet with me to make salads and burgers. I could have easily packed some pumpkin seeds, but all this involves planning and I am not too good at that.

We were careful with our water supplies and buying the right trainers to support our ankles, but I think a little more preparation on the food side of things would have helped us feel even higher than we did when we reached Les Deux Alpes. Something for me to work on.

A good image

I finally mustered up the confidence to jump on a Velib bike (The French version of the Boris Bike scheme, which started in 2007) and take on the ridiculous Parisian drivers in an effort to forage for organic food. I had a lovely ride around our local Park – the Bois de Bologne and I stocked up at my local Bio shop. So here I am on my bike.

And this is what I found. Time to get off my bike, and on my hob to cook it all up. Wish I had a rice cooker.