Thursday, 2 June 2011

[Photo] Cat in a Drawer

Yes, I struggled long and hard on the title for this one.

My cat Chloe, who makes it her life's mission to be a nuisance, was up to her usual tricks this morning. The moment we opened a drawer in our home-office desk, true to form, within a few seconds she jumped in and made herself comfortable.

She has quite a lot of previous 'form' in this department, being particularly attracted to any cupboard or drawer around the house she's not been in before. I suspect she has a mental checklist of various places around the house that she has to 'do' before she dies.

A few years ago, she managed to get in to a storage drawer built in to the base unit of our double bed. We searched the whole house for her before giving up our endeavours for the evening and retiring to bed. She stayed snuggled down in the drawer for the whole night before she popped out the next morning when we opened it to retrieve an item of clothing. She'd been in there the whole night (right below us!) and we never knew. I know cats probably don't have the required facial muscles, but I'm sure on that particular occaision she had a smug expression on her face for the rest of that morning.

My Super Secret(ish) Smoothie Recipe

I'm not really any sort of health guru, but I've been assured by quite a few reputable sources that having a fruit smoothie from time to time is pretty good for you. I personally like them because it's an easy way of getting lots of healthy fruit inside of you without all of the hard work of peeling, chopping and chewing stuff. I like the thought of just mashing it all up, throw it down your throat and you're good to go. They taste pretty good too.

So, I thought it was time to lift the veil of secrecy off my super-secret smoothie recipe (which I copied from a book) so that you too can enjoy your very own gut-full of bowel-loosening goodness.

There are a variety of approaches to creating smoothies. Some recipes call for just liquidizing the fruit (and maybe adding some water) to create your smoothie. I personally favor recipes which create a more creamy tasting smoothie and involve milk or yoghurt to be added to the mix. My personal favourite is to use sweetened soya milk, so that's what I'll be using in this recipe.

Also, there are a variety of methods of actually chopping and mixing the constituent ingredients (the fruit & soya milk) in to the familiar smoothie consistency we all know and love. There are dedicated 'smoothie makers', which are usually rather large electrical appliances that will do the job admirably - in my opinion they  take up too much space on the kitchen work-tops. I personally have an unused juicer and rarely-used breadmaker to accomodate, so space is at a premium for me (also, my wife will shout at me if I leave another electrical appliance on the work-top in our kitchen). So, my weapon of choice is a hand-blender. It's much easier to use and clean and I like to think it has the air of sophistication and mystique of an assassin's much-prized, bejeweled dagger, but for smoothies. (As a side note, it would probably provide a pretty good defence against an assassin with a dagger, if the assassin broke in to your house - the highest blade speed setting is probably the most effective).
This is the mess I left in the kitchen

So, finally, we're on to my fairly secret smoothie recipe.

I think the basis of a good smoothie is a banana. I've tried lots of smoothies without bananas, but they definitely lack something (the taste of bananas mainly), so I always include them. I also always like to include Kiwi fruit in all of my smoothies - they just give a nice sharp tasting contrast to the banana flavour, if they're not too ripe. I also always include a few seeds (for their very useful nutrients), some sweetend soya milk and one or two types of soft fruit. As an example, I'll detail the recipe I used for breakfast this morning (enough for 2 people):

  •  2 bananas (peeled)
  •  2 kiwi fruit (skinned)
  •  half a cup of blueberries
  •  a cup of strawberries
  •  a teaspoon of mixed seeds
  •  enough sweetened soya milk to almost cover the ingredients in the jug/bowl

I use a tall measuring jug to hold all ingredients. I slice all of the fruit in to it, add the seeds and then top up with soya milk until it almost covers the fruit (I'm not sure how much this would be, I've never measured it - maybe quarter of a pint?). Then I attack it with the hand blender until everything is well liquidized. And, that is pretty much it.

The recipe shown above will fill two large glasses and will keep you going all morning (that's energy levels, rather than toilet trips, mind you...never mind). I sometimes throw in some low-fat yoghurt as well to thicken things up if the mood takes me (and I've got some lying around).

So, there you have it: my fairly super secret recipe - don't tell anyone else about it. It's served me well over the past few years. Feel free to 'mix things up' a little with a variety of soft fruits - as long as you stick to the banana, kiwi, soya base, you'll always get a great tasting smoothie.


(Disclaimer: If this smoothie gives you the shits, please don't sue me, blame the guy I copied the original recipe from - I'm sure I can find it if legal action is underway).

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