Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Again, I've been away without leave for far too long...but I'll try to rectify my lack of attention by my following tale.

I don’t consciously feed grasshoppers. There are sufficient greens for them to devour in our gardens without any help from me. Organic, open air vegan outlets abound, fulfilling their appetites! The hoppers’ choppers chomp their way through our greens without our permission. At times they don’t know when enough is enough; gluttonous little pests! If a little hopper gets trapped inside (its own fault for sticking its nose in where not invited; but I don’t let that get in the way of a good deed), I rescue it. I put it back outside where it belongs; if, that is, it hasn’t already expired before I’ve had a chance to be its saviour. Of course, if I discover one that’s already kicked the bucket, I don’t let it lie there to be devoured by ants. Ants aren’t picky eaters. They’re carnivores, vegans and vegetarians! I dispose of the critter’s carcass in a sombre manner befitting the tragedy.

Yesterday I picked up an alive, kicking, but not screaming hopper that had become stranded inside. It’d hopped in to watch a re-run on TV of its favourite 1960 movie – “The Grass Is Greener”! One would think my Good Samaritan deed towards the katydid, bush-cricket, grasshopper or whatever variety of Orthoptera it was wouldn’t encourage bad behaviour on its part. One would think that; but it wasn’t to be. The ungrateful, uninvited little beggar nipped me on my thumb – hard! My thumb isn’t even green, but it did, briefly, turn red from the unwarranted assault! It’s been documented that vegan and vegetarians aren’t aggressive; that they have an instinctive “live and let live” policy. A word or four of advice - don’t you believe it! They have a nasty streak! They disguise it well, but it’s there, masked by their fancy-free exterior. Grasshoppers, I’m referring to – not vegans or vegetarians. Although, I’m sure there are a few of the latter who harbour a nasty streak or two; none amongst us is perfect; other than you and me, of course!

In a vice-like grip, the ungracious little critter latched on to my thumb with its jaws. I tried to smack my assailant on the butt, but its butt was too tiny for me to make worthwhile contact. My attempt was futile. Having five eyes, (the grasshopper, not me), and two antennae (again, the creature, not me – I’ve only one antennae – up on my roof), I was given no opportunity to slip in a sneaky slap! Another reason for not spanking Jiminy Cricket is - I realised that once released, he could hop off to the nearest authorities to report me for hopper abuse! Finally, after releasing possession of my defenseless, non-green thumb, my ungrateful interloper bounced, skipped and vaulted off to enjoy its freedom with nary a backward glance. He didn’t even whisper a “thank you” for my kindness and restraint from committing violence upon its carapace!

I'm sure I heard him whistling “When You Wish upon a Star” as he hopped off to find his next green, leafy meal; but that could have been my imagination at play!

Heed my warning, Jiminy Cricket! I won’t be so sentimental next time; the outcome could be detrimental to your health! You won’t be so keen to attack me then - whaaaaaaaa!

French Lentil-Quinoa-Spinach Salad: Use a fine sieve; rinse 1/2 cup quinoa (pronounced: "keen-wah") under cold water until water runs clean; in pot cover quinoa and 1 cup French lentils (du Puy) with water or vegetable stock; bring to boil; simmer 20mins; until cooked; remove from heat; drain. Sweat some roughly-chopped mushrooms in a little olive oil, 5-10mins; keep juices. Wilt 400g spinach; squeeze out excess water. Combine 1 chopped red onion, 1/2 chopped celery, 2tsps crushed, toasted cumin seeds, pepper; add lentils, quinoa, mushrooms and spinach; add crumbled feta; drizzle over lemon juice and mushroom juices; season; add diced tomatoes.

French Lentils with Walnuts and Goat’s Cheese: Put 1 cup lentils in saucepan with 1 bay leaf and sprig of thyme. Pour over 1-1/3 cup water; bring to boil; simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes; drain off excess water. Heat 2tbls olive oil in pan; cook 1 large, diced red onion until soft; add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 minute; deglaze pan with a splash of balsamic. Toss lentils with onion; season; put in raw spinach-lined serving dish. Scatter over toasted walnuts nuts and 125g broken pieces of goat’s cheese. Drizzle over walnut oil. Serve warm with roasted beetroot that’s been roasted in a little walnut oil.

Lentil-Quinoa Burgers: Boil 1.5 to 2c brown lentils with 1/2 cup quinoa in vegetable stock until soft. In bowl, add 1 finely-diced onion, 1 grated carrot, 1 grated zucchini and 3/4 cup grated cheese; add some cumin, oregano and 1 cup crunchy or smooth peanut paste (or enough to bind); season; mix well with hands; form into patties. Press patties into lightly-crushed pumpkin seeds. Cook in a little oil over med- heat; 6-7mins per side. Serve with salad.