The Premenstrual Cook

4 Aug

I’ve joined The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen. Over there I’m known as You Want Gravy With That?. I haven’t uploaded any recipes yet but I’m having much fun perusing what’s there already. I’ve got a little list of dishes I am looking forward to trying, without the seemingly obligatory half cup of sugar (it’s even in the salads).

I’m on a diet people! 1200 calories.

It feels like I spend all day checking recipes and counting calories.

I can’t abide a cook book without photos. I need clues. And I just love all those step by step cookery shots especially those in any Australian Woman’s Weekly. That’s food porn. It is.

I’ve got a camera. And a kitchen. And food.

Mexican Chicken Mole (375 calories) looks easy enough. Idiot proof even.

Here goes…

Gather ingredients.

Slice peppers and chop onions

Going good so far.

Spray a non-stick pan with oil, or a Jamie Oliver saute pan if that’s your bag. It’s my bag.

Bung in the chicken and onions and cook for 5 minutes or so until the chicken is browned and the onions are soft.

Unlike this photo where it’s all raw and hard.


How does anyone function without spray oil?

Chuck in the peppers, garlic and chilli powder (unless you’re one of those peeps who can be bothered dressing and shoeing your 4 year old before nipping next door, literally 50 yards, to the Co-Op to buy a real chilli – I’m not – and they probably wouldn’t  have one anyway).

Blast up the heat and stir-fry for 2 minutes, whilst diligently measuring out the dried thyme, cumin and cinammon (yeah, no Allspice in the Co-Op either). I bung the herbs and spices in the tinned tomatoes to save on washing up. It’s not at all because I don’t have any pretty little preparation bowls to photograph. It isn’t.


Add the tomatoes (and herbs and spices) and cocoa.

Stir and think quietly to yourself – this looks like shit


Told you.

AND warned you.

Next I quickly check the recipe again and realise with horror that it was meant to be TEASPOONS of cocoa, not TABLESPOONS.


Time for some quick thinking and some quick arithmetic (because clearly I am so good with numbers). There’s slightly more than twice the amount of cocoa required in there. That’s accurate enough at speed. It is.

I taste it.


It’s as bad as it looks. And I adore chocolate.

I figure I can either chuck it in the bin or try and salvage it by doubling all the other ingredients. Because I’m so good with numbers. Usually.

So I chuck in another tin of tomatoes, another chopped onion and more sliced pepper.

Stuff the saute stage this is a meal in meltdown.

Well it’s redder at least.

There’s no more chicken and it’s still tasting uncannily like a pudding gone horribly wrong. I figure it needs more savoury….. or maybe more sugar. This is decision time. The concoction has reached a crossroads in its development. It needs to pick a side. Yes it’s great to strive for the freedom to be all things, but we cannot dismiss the fact that we adopt roles in life, we are drawn to that which we recognise in ourselves. This panload needs to decide if it’s a sweet gone bad or a savoury worth saving.

Time to raid the cupboards for anything… anything….

I need INSPIRATION people!! (and my cupboard tidied).

Maybe a plan B…?

Family of 5 and one Pot Noodle? Not going to stretch is it?

Chick peas!

Geddit? No more CHICKen to be had (without that 50 yard expedition to the Co-Op with a barefoot urchin in his jammies), so add CHICKpeas.

Close enough.

At this stage it’s still a bit chocolately but there’s no turning back, I can’t make chicken pudding and let it leave home on a Harley now.

I am, however, rapidly approaching the top of this rather large saute pan. This is only meant to feed three people. It’s not as if I can invite anyone to share this with us. Not anyone we like.

So… anything I add now has to be small in volume and big in taste.

A dash of salt, a splash of soya sauce…

Chicken stock cube!!! DUH…

Vinegar?? Nah probably going too far with the vinegar….

At this stage I step away from the vinegar and survey the chaos. I decide the time has come is long overdue to stop. I’ve doubled everything in line with the cocoa, if it still tastes shit at least I can say  hand on heart it’s meant to taste that chocolately. I can and I will.

Just watch me.

I’m banking on it not being as chocolatey as I think it is. Maybe it’s just I’ve been test tasting it for so long I’m a bit nauseous. Maybe.

I leave it bubbling away for 30-40 minutes then turn off the gas and leave it to sulk for 3 hours.

I tell no-one.

Eventually the poor, unsuspecting  members of my family announce their desire to receive sustenance.

Pity them. I do.

I’m worrying at this stage if I’m going to be able to swallow the stuff myself. I have to lead by example. I cooked it.

So, 2oz rice per person becomes 3 oz. I have to diminish the impact somehow so I figure use more rice, spread the flavour thinly and they won’t notice a thing.

The Verdict


Oh the politeness! It’s amazing how fastidiously a child can pick out single grains of untainted basmati and lesser coated chick peas. And still look like she’s eating. Albeit in a huff. MrW stuck it out longer than I could manage.

So I made them ciabatta pizzas. Without tomatoes. They’d all been sacrificed in a futile mercy mission.

And I had a Cockspur golden rum and coke. It was diet coke.

I didn’t count the calories.

We’re not a bunch of lard arses because I cook bad food.

But I reckon my cooking whilst photo-documenting the effort leaves rooms for improvement.

I do.


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