Meatballs with Harissa, Sweet Paprika, and Cherries…

This was just tossed together – nothing weighed or measured except if it came in packs. This, I have to say, is how I prefer to cook and how I get the best results – trusting my instincts.

Obviously, then, measurements given here – again, except when in packs – should be taken as a guide, a place to start.

Makes 3 litres in my Spoonie-friendly casserole.

Ingredients:-

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Salt and its substitutes…

A little while ago I waxed rather angry about being instructed to eat a salt-free diet. Good food means a lot to me – hell I have only one meal a day – I’m not going to ruin it by eliminating salt. Anyway, we need salt – without it we die – and as I eat little in the way of salt-laden processed food, not using it at all isn’t an option I’ll even consider.

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Rescuing Hospital Food…

Today I’m reinventing my Harissa recipe as I think a return to the cardiology ward might be lurking in my future. In fact, I’d put money on it, as this problem isn’t going to go away.** Above all else, other than survival, I need protection from its hideous, saltless, food.

**I won’t say I’m not still scared of dying – the only people who are honestly not are the young who, for the most part, are decades away from having to confront their own mortality. Me? Resigned, I suppose. And scared. Not of death, per se – that’s inescapable (but if it happens it would be nice to go to bed and not wake up), but dying of pulmonary oedema, as I almost did last week, is a terribly hard way to go.

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The end of seasoning?

I am not allowed salt.

This is a crime against nature – everyone needs salt.

It’s particularly cruel as many of us with Addison’s Disease crave salt more than usual. What hasn’t been explained is whether this craving is driven by an actual need – I must find out. (I did, see*** at the end.)

In hospital last week, in the heart ward while the pulmonology tossers tried to claim me and the heart people – in whose hands my recovery resided and in whose ward I was – just quietly got on with their thing (I’d have preferred a more hands-on approach, like consulting me before prescribing a drug, Ramipril, I can’t take).

That my heart really is a serious problem is reflected in the fact that the pulmo pillocks have screwed up my meds while announcing no further treatment or support is needed, while the heart people have consigned me to the care of the Heart Failure Nurse service, who are scheduled to put in their first appearance on Thursday. I have no idea how this works yet – whether they will routinely visit to monitor me, in much the same way as the Community Nurses, or whether I call them at need (though, really, if I do need help I need to be in hospital).

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Tofu & Chickpea Casserole, with Harissa, Deglet Nour Dates, Sour and Sweet Cherries, Romano Peppers, and Black Olives…

This is a veggie version of this lamb recipe which is excellent. I made it just before my recent reversion to vegetarianism, and I still have a few portions left in the freezer. Trust me, veggie or not, they won’t be wasted.

Despite my aversion to tofu in the past – I find the natural texture repellent – I’m impressed with this. It has a slightly chewy texture, the flabby slipperiness that so revolts me is entirely absent.

***

Ingredients:-

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My Revised Harissa Blend…

In this post I bemoaned the fact that the Harissa I’d bought was way too hot, and had too much mint, and threatened to blend my own to suit my own palate. So I did – and published it here.

However, it turned out to be far too hot as well (too much Cayenne pepper), and unbalanced in other ways. Aside from the excess heat – you can always add chilli heat, you can’t take it out – it wasn’t actually that bad, but there was room for improvement, and this is it.

As before, it could be argued that it’s not Harissa now, but I don’t buy that as there are wide variations in formulation, and the stuff varies between countries and, I don’t doubt, between villages and towns too, in its native land, so this is…

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Organic Lamb Casserole – a Recipe with a Middle Eastern Vibe…

This is the recipe I threatened you with last week. Unlike the Quorn fiasco, this worked perfectly. Note the comment about holding back the meat – you don’t want to overcook it and have it disintegrate.

Ingredients:-

800g (roughly), Organic lamb leg steaks (bone out), diced. I sometimes buy half a leg of lamb and cut my own if I’m feeling up to it. No special reason – just for the hell of it, and to keep my hand in. And Continue reading