Sunday, 30 December 2018

Left and leftovers

It is Old Year's Eve Eve, the end of the year is approaching and as usual, I get an urge to eat out the kitchen. Meaning that when all advertisements urge to buy the special this or allow myself a unique that, I go anti and look into our own cupboards.
What have we already bought that should be eaten? What did we buy and never finish? What is there just a bit left out of and could be finished? What has expired although tastes fine and should be eaten first before buying more?
And, what oddities have we brought home as souvenirs and really should eat? (Canned food is our go to way of souvenir-ing.)

I rummaged through, made a list. The man rummaged further and added to it. 
It is a shorter list than previous years. We have been attentive this year.
We now try to plan what to eat based on what is on the list. 
And I get no snacks until I popped all my pop-corn kernels.

On the list are:
Canned mushy peas from England.
Canned courgettes from France.
Fish bouillon from Portugal.
Japanese dashi powder, kombucha, bonito and wake me from the good Asian shop in town - not a need-to-eat but something I need to be reminded to use.
2 leaves of rice paper (seriously, man, you couldn’t make them all?)
Curry powder we don’t like the taste of but gives a great colour so used mostly instead of turmeric .
Pimento - spiced pepper from a period a few years ago when I bought just way too much.
Frozen cauliflower - not worth it in comparison to a fresh head. What was I thinking?
Gluten free pasta, milk-free butter, fasting powders and sugar-free foodstuff from all the difficult food-experiments in December - now all done, no food sensitivities found and while the problems continue for the man, and while the test results are pending, we just eat what we want now. And unfortunately, that includes all those remnants.

Things like that. The list is longer, the shame of some buys go deeper.

But we made Portuguese fish bouillon/dashi, white fish block risotto with spinach tonight and it was glorious. Full pot eaten.
Tomorrow on Old year's Eve we play all games we own, eat portabello stewed with red cabbage and then go and drink New Years' with friends at midnight.
As usual.

Sunday, 23 December 2018


It is Christmas Eve Eve and I make sushi.

There is no Christmas in this household, very little in this country (unless you choose it for yourself) and none in our group of friends.
So I make sushi.
It is my thing. I am very good at it. I have done it for 25 years now.
I have made it elaborately, using exquisite produce and recipes. I mostly make it cheaply and simply.

This is how I make it, cheap, simple and cheap. I cut all corners and still make really good sushi, (better than most restaurants unless run by professional sushi-chefs).

If you are a gourmet, stop reading, avert your eyes and go away.
If you are a sushi eater, a frugalist and don't want to pay exaggerated prices, go put four hundred millilitre of round rice in a sieve and rinse it with cold water until you get bored. This you should do hours before you want to eat. (400 ml is 4 dl is about 3,2 cups if your cup is sized 125 ml.)

This amount of rice is actually estimated for four people - but it is just enough to put the two of us into a very comfortable food coma. I never make less for two persons.

Rinse the rice until clear, put in a pan at least twice the size and soak in water for as long time as you have. (a day or two is no problem, preferable a couple of hours). Remove any black or damaged rice kernels if you see any.
Rinse one last time, and drain. Add double the amount of water to rice (a little more if you have a hot stove or short memory).

On stove, full heat, until boiling or possibly boil a minute, no more.
Put lid on and TURN OF THE HEAT. Leave on stove for fifteen minutes. LID ON! NO PEAKING! (The rice cooks in its own steam). Just leave it!

In the meantime, mix 90-100 ml rice wine vinegar (that is a decilitre, dl) with 30 ml sugar and 10 ml salt (regular white sugar, regular white salt (without idodine tastes better) and that is it. Vinegar, sugar and salt.  Go easy on the salt. Stir until dissolved. No need to cook it.

Prepare everything, your hands will become very ricey and sticky and you can not do anything else in the next step, so prepare now.

When the time for the rice is up, pour it out into a
ceramic form (not plastic, not metal, possibly wood) and pour the vinegar mix over. Carefully turn the rice to cover it in the vinegar mix.
Cover with clean kitchen towel and cool for half an hour.
Cut cheap frozen salmon and half a cucumber into strips.

Be in peaceful harmony. Stay zen.
Take you seaweed sheets, put a layer of rice on two thirds or slightly less of the sheet, a strip of salmon and a strip of cucumber, a THIN THIN, a mere hyphen of wasabi out of a cheap tube,
and roll the whole thing up. The bamboo mat helps but it is more dare than care. Wet a finger with water and damp the end flap. That will hold the whole roll together.
Rest the roll under a towel while you do the rest.

Or take a fistful of rice, squeeze and make a little pillow in one hand, release and put wasabi and salmon on top. (No zen for this part - just brute force.)
Cut the rolls in mouth sized bits. Use a sharp knife, cut carefully.  Rinse the starch off regularly.
EAT. Dip in salt-reduced soy sauce in a cup (I use little glass bowls that used to hold something else.)
Nothing fancy is needed. Just eat until there is nothing left.
Eat with chopsticks of you can handle them or eat with your hands.
It is perfectly OK to eat sushi with your hands.

400 ml of rice, half a cucumber, one portion piece of frozen salmon, vinegar, salt, sugar and soy is all you need to send two adults into food heaven (and coma). For two the total price is less than 4€.

Sunday, 2 December 2018


I said yesterday Saturday as we came home late after a long day of museums, art exhibitions and free conserts,
"my computer thinks that it it Saturday the first of December today. Isn't that really weird? Does it think that it it 2017 or something. Hahahahahahahaha..."

It took a few to several minutes until we realised that, although we knew that it was Saturday, that the first of December had not only come but also almost gone.

This is what happens to people living outside calendar lives. I have lost the construction of time. Through unemployment I have have been liberated from anger and frustration and salary and I have been paid with liberation from the constructions of time.
I took my watch off several years ago (although I sometimes carry it in my pocket) and date has never been much of importance. I do wonder how long I have been unaware of dates though. Surely not all of November? No, I have been at airports on the correct date several times this month.
Oh, well, it isn't as if the world ends by not knowing the time, date or even the day of the week.
There will always be tomorrow.

So, today Sunday second of December, I have counted my money as I always do at the beginning of each month.

I have already paid rent until the end of the year and I have paid my annual cultural admissions card which is most of my hobby budget. I am also plus in our shared household finances (aka The Bucket) with a lot. Insurance will be paid by the end of December but is 10% less next year than this year. No other costs have been announced to change for 2019 yet, so next years budget is not changing yet.

I have been paid all my remaining salary and that will be enough to keep me until the end of the year. There is a slim change of a slight bonus pay-out during next year (although I doubt the company will reach its targets without somebody in my position - and that has still not happened). For 2019, I will be living off savings and payouts from my private unemployment fund, whenever the paperwork clears. It's not much, but it is mine - I've paid for it so I am going to take it.
I have no debt and no other valuables (that are also not worth anything until sold, such as a car or jewellery. Rented properties should be assessed only as income in my mind, but since I have none, it is irrelevant.)

First (second) of December 2018, the financial independence number is 38,03.

That means that assets in my name has a value they now have that corresponds to 38,03 annual budgets.  (The value of my assets is a lot less after the cheeto got his fingers into the global financial pot and all I can hope is that the US politics is bringing financial benefits to the people who voted for him - on a global scale it brings ruin and ridicule.)
When the financial markets stabilises again, I mean if, the value of my assets could be increased with another annual budget or two, but hey-ho, who can know. The assessment of today is that I can live on the current budget for 38 years until it runs out. My life-expectancy is another 34 years.
All these assessments however contain so many unsure elements, such as price increases, loss of dividends, interests and value increases, that these monthly posts are irrelevant. My monthly calculations are only relevant to my life-style and to the assessment made in the same way last month.
Do yours in your way, but know what you are worth and how independent you are.

I do not include the value of my studio apartment as I always must live somewhere, the forth-coming inheritance or pension systems as their value in the future cannot be judged fairly presently.
I am better off than most, not only due to hard saving and hard working and hard earning in the past, but also due to the lack of catastrophes in the last ten years. I am also better off than most because I already live on a budget more limited than most other peoples budgets.

Being accustomed to less makes more of the future.
Even when I don't know the date of the day in the future.