adventures in besan flour: pizza win


sorry, got a little ahead of myself/the story there…

i’ll admit it, until the veryvery the actual eating of this creation [chickpea flour pizza with tomato and parmesan] came about–i was dubious. very very dubious. mostly because the method calls for a nonstick skillet that can go from stove-top to oven/broiler. (nope.) i have one nonstick skillet. it has a plastic handle that would go “MELT” if i put it in the oven.

also: broiler? that’s cute.

and then, to add to the doubt, the crust dough looked more like…yellow water. i double checked the instructions, pondered if i’d added too much water and decided that, no, i didn’t and i fretted about high altitude and besan flour. the recipe instructed to let the dough rest for 30 minutes before proceeding so i chopped my onion and tomato and had my warm basin bath to rid myself of the post running stank.

back in the kitchen, clean and  happy, i remembered that i was doubted the outcome of this pizza. since i had decided to not use the plastic-handled-nonstick-skillet-of-MELT in the oven i opted to use a “local pot” as we call them. if you’ve been to east africa you probably know what i’m talking about–the thin aluminum/tinish/metal pots used for posho, beans…anything really. these are NOT nonstick by any stretch of the imagination…

in an attempt to practice optimism i hoped that the called-for  1 tablespoon of olive oil that went in the pot first would help keep it from sticking. however, when i poured the dough-liquid into the pot all of the olive oil was on top. ugh. OH this is where I FORGOT THE ROSEMARY! i was supposed to add it after the besan mixture had its little 30 minute nap. sigh.

the “crust” was supposed to turn golden brown on the bottom and the top was supposed to be “mostly set” when removed from the heat. well. it was STUCK to the bottom and i was busy fretting about it being STUCK FOREVER and then DINNER WOULD BE RUINED! so maybe removed it from the heat before it was “mostly set”. i think it turned out to be “mostly mostly set”.

i added maybe twice to three times the amount of onion, tomato and parm that it called for (because i do what i want) and put it in the oven (broiler. ha. as if my oven gets that hot!) as close to the bottom as i could get it. (thats where the flame is.)

about 12 minutes later i pulled it out of the oven and gazed at something that looked pretty tasty. and then remembered i had to get it out of this 6-inch-deep pot before i could attempt to eat it. nrrrrr.

the very edges were totally stuck.
so being the ingenious fake-chef that i am, i armed myself with the biggest knife in the kitchen, cut the pizza in half and started in with the spatula. after a lot of work i managed to get most of it out safely. (some of it was rather stuck, however.)

then came the taste test… housemate and i eased our forks toward the pizza and gave the first taste. and then quickly devoured the whole thing! it. is. amazingly. good. i can’t imagine how much better it’ll be when we figure out how to make it crispy, easier to get out of a pan (so not using that one again) and when i DON’T FORGET THE ROSEMARY!

later today i shall weave the tale of how the kitchen ceiling ended up on the kitchen floor. stay tuned…


c25k: week 6.1 + experiment

tuesday i finally plowed through the first run of week 6. (this week there are 3 different podcasts again.) it went pretty well, nothing exciting or dramatic happened and i didn’t interact/see people. which i prefer. yes.

okay so i did see someone, housemate was in her cool down walk/walk home a bit a head of me so i kicked up the last jog to catch up with her and we walked back to the house together.

today i “should” have jumped to week 6 run 2 but decided to try something new: put on good and fast(ish) music and just GO. my music was flogging molly’s album “within a mile of home” and i must say that it is an EXCELLENT running album. i was out for about 40 minutes today instead of the typical ~1 hour–but i think i ran for about 30 minutes of those 40.

we had a CRAZY downpour (involving hail!) this afternoon so i knew the area i typically run would basically look like a marsh so decided to avoid that disaster and ran on the roads that border town, thinking that this would be a less muddy route.

while that was technically true, there was still a fair amount of mud to deal with and i had to stop a few times and scrape the mud from the bottoms of my shoes when they got too heavy.

two mistakes of today’s run: i forgot my chewing gum. sadness. and i wore a long sleeved shirt. dumb. dumb. dumb. i hate having my arms constricted unless i’m COLD and i was running and was therefore not COLD. yes, i should have known better as i hate to even exercise or do yoga in a tshirt let a lone a long sleeved shirt. never again.

and then there were the children. if i was a nice person i wouldn’t really mind the children and would probably find their stares and curiosity adorable. i’m not. therefore, i don’t. (most of the time, anyway. especially when i’m running. i’m not nice when i’m running, remember?)

the first incident came just after i ran past a heard of goats who were hogging the road–this means i was in someone’s yard slipping and sliding in the mud and trying to not fall (success!)–and was feeling mighty successful when two children came bolting from their yard running with me. i waved at them, smiled and kept running as usually this is enough. it wasn’t. one of the children grabbed the back of my shirt and started tugging at it and laughing like a crazy person.

i stopped, removed her hand and said “mam” (“no”) and kept running. (also observing the surroundings to make sure they didn’t need something. please, i’m not a terrible person!) she followed me again and grabbed onto my shirt, tugging and again laughing like she’s totesdef mental. (its clear she isn’t but is just being mischievous, for what that’s worth.) stopping again, i removed her hand, looked her in the eye while removing an earbud and said “do you need something?” “no.” “are you fine?” “yes.” “okay, well, i am going to run now and you should go home and finish your work. sawa?” “sawa.” (“fine/okay”) yeesh.

toward the end of my run as i was rounding the corner at the mosque about 30 children (not an exaggeration) came out of nowhere and were following me, commenting on my red face and “i just sprinted a bit” breathing. i smiled (against my well. i blame jesus), waved and just went on my merry way. thankfully i was close enough to home that they quickly dispersed.

despite the small shadows, the tugging, the mud that covered my shoes and legs and the long sleeved shirt disaster i’m pretty proud of my experiment–i ran more minutes with fewer breaks that i have been so my confidence is pretty boosted. the next run, however, will be back on schedule with a boosted confidence!

for now i’m off to the kitchen for more adventures in besan flour!

adventures in besan flour: fail curry

many many moons ago housemate and i purchased gram flour. no, not graham which is what i thought when i glanced in this flour’s general direction, but gram. as in besan. chana. garbanzo bean flour. chickpea flour. oops!

said flour has been sitting around waiting for me to be less depressed that it wasn’t graham flour so i could make graham crackers. i’m finally over it (enough) and so begin the adventures in besan flour! these adventures will continue until i’ve worked through the entire bag.

the first foray into cooking with besan flour was mostly a flop. hence the name “fail curry”. before beginning this cooking experiment i did what anyone stuck with an totally unknown ingredient is: scour the internets.

i found recipes on websites from david lebovitz to fat free vegan cooking with a whole slew of interesting in between. (as an aside, the bbc has a vast list of recipes, which is a new discovery…delight!) other tidbits of information: besan is gluten free, high in iron and protein. at least its healthy!

rather than make crackers or some bread-type-thing yesterday evening (it was getting late) i decided on a besan flour curry. i wanted dinner, i like curry and thought “sure!”

i wouldn’t go so far to say that it was AWFUL, but it certainly wasn’t GREAT, either. not sure what i was expecting from something that pretty much based on a flour and water paste. it tasted like…paste!

my attempt to save it ended up okay…i used extra coriander, masala, cumin and water and added cinnamon, sugar, adobo all purpose seasoning and a chicken/olive oil/sea salt stock cube. this helped. it was also much improved with rice beneath it.

housemate and i decided that its not really a “keeper” but “would do in a pinch.” (if we were like, starving to death, maybe.)

the animals were the recipients of the remaining curry on top of their evening posho. for those of you keeping track at home, the dog seemed to like it more than the cats did. go figure, the least discerning palate ate the bulk of the fail curry…

next up i think i’m going to try the besan crackers… unless i can find those brownie recipes again, then that may have to move up in the batting order. cheers!

around the internets

okay, so sometimes i get distracted by the internets. (yes, with an ‘s’.)  sometimes i also procrastinate or forget about things that i had intended on posting here, too, and then try to fill the gaping-silent-void with random little things in hopes that your angry emails about my not posting will be avoided for just a bit longer.

this is one of those posts!

first up: while being distracted by a new favorite food blog i was lured into procrastinating whatever i was working on at the moment even more and  decided to comment on said blog even though this was going to seriously eat up my time. (if i haven’t mentioned before, my internet is far from fast…)

my comment is not the interesting thing here. the interesting thing was what i noticed while posting said comment on said blogger blog: i got to choose my identity!

perhaps this only struck/strikes me as funny and telling about our  relationship with the internet and how we interact with one another on the internet. in the moment i think i even had a “oh, that’ll preach” moment, but i shall spare you from that for the moment.

secondarily- this morning while waiting for word on if the printer would indeed decide to print i found myself on reading about the science of annoyance. naturally, i took the “how annoying are you?” quiz, too.

on a scale of 1 (saintly) to 5 (most annoying person ever) i had a score of 2.81. (according to the “about your score” the average is 2.89, so i have a below-average annoying level. WIN!) the excerpt from the book was a fascinating read  skim.

freshly painted

until very recently (that is to say 30 minutes ago) this week has been blazing hot…the sun has been shining and heating the sand and bringing the buildings to the boiling point.

heat isn’t something one typically senses with one’s eyes. unless they are being scalded by the freshly painted-bright-white walls and freshly painted-shiny-silver of one of the buildings on the compound. there really is no feeling like casting one’s eyes upon said bright-white walls and shiny-silver roof at midday 3˚ north of the equator. (which may as well be strong-equatorial sun.)

consider the feeling of a fresh sunburn.
then apply that feeling to your eyes.
that is what it feels like to cast one’s eyes upon the freshly painted bright-white walls and freshly painted shiny-silver roof at midday on a perfectly clear day.

yesterday afternoon, around 4:45p, i was gazing longingly out my window (pining for the weekend, no doubt) when i noticed something wonderful: the bright white walls were being painted a lovely pale yellow with lovely pale green accents. now before you begin judging my taste in colors remember that "my eyes are burning" feeling. then you’ll realize what a relief it is to know that the building outside of my window will no longer be quite the literal eye-sore that it was before.

so, thats my this on that.

c25k: wk5 the one where i kicked butt

yesterday brought the second run of week 5 interval. and this runner brought her a-game and totally kicked butt and took names. two running intervals of 8 minutes each. bam.

the first 8 minute run began at the beginning of “the bush” and i made it all the way to the bridge by the time it was time for the 5something minute walk. this means i ran about 1.5 miles in about 8 minutes. and i feel pretty dang-skippy-good about that.

tomorrow is a wednesday and i’m attempting the third interval of week 5 (again) which is the 20 minute nonstop run. i HATE HATE HATE running on wednesdays because its market day which means a lot of people spend the majority of their day drinking and are walking home around my running time. this may be a good day to try out a new path that is not in the direction of the cattle market. or it means i’ll wait until thursday. the tension builds…

as i’m getting annoyed with three posts a week about running i assume that you, gentle reader, are as well. unless there is MASSIVE UPROAR this c25k blog-tag will move into an about weekly digest.

*post interval tunes*
1. “on the floor” jennifer lopez ft. pitbull
2. “beautiful people” chris brown ft. benny benassi
3. “sweat” snoop dog ft. david guetta
4. “unorthodox” wretch 32 ft. example
5. “party rock anthem” LMFAO ft lauren bennet & goonrock

c25k: wk5, will i ever complete you?

its not so much that i’m in a rut, but more of a …i don’t know, antibiotics induced stupor? my run last sunday was pretty good. (the one with the dog where she only sort of tried to kill me.) but that was before i started the antibiotics for an amoeba or whatever is taking up space in my gut that shouldn’t be.

tuesday was the second day of the meds, and my first interval day whilst on them.

it was terrible.
i kind of felt like i was dying. yes, really.
so much so i even came home before finishing the interval, and even had to walk quite a bit.

so yesterday i decided that instead of attempt the most-painful, i would just walk. so housemate, dog and i went for about a 5k brisk walk. and it was quite nice. this is the last day of the antibiotics (that have made me feel drunk, dizzy, tired and totally wonky for the past 5 days) and so i’m excited to try a run tomorrow evening and see how it goes.

i may even be overly optimistic and attempt the wk5d4 20
minute-non-stop run again.

perhaps it is my desire to MOVE ON or my wonky-state creating this optimism. time will only tell…

c25k: week 5…

okay. so. i didn’t run when i was on vacation. at all. the good intentions were there, but it just didn’t happen. (hey lalibela, ethiopia is basically one huge hill… don’t hate, appreciate that i hiked a mountain (with the aid of a donkey, sure) trekked through addis ababa and traipsed around lalibela. yes.

anywho. i’m back in kotido and was excited to get back to running but also kind of put it off. i was nervous about starting again, perhaps because of the last run totally kicking my butt. yesterday (sunday) was THE day to get going again…

setting out i was a little worried that this wasn’t, perhahps, the best life choice i’d ever made… that morning i had missed church because of some unfortunate tummy trouble (ameoba? maybe.) and had only eaten 2 rice cakes and some popcorn…all day… and then, to make matters even more interesting i decided that this would be a great day to take the dog (freddie mercury) out running with me.

as you can see, i am still using the week 5 intervals (there are 3 for this week) even though i’m far beyond “week 5” of the program time wise. the first podcast of the week was my chosen workout, it has a good mix of running and walking intervals (running, i think, at least 6 or 8 minutes at a go. so its not like i’m on the 60 second intervals anymore…)

as it turned out, these decisions weren’t awful ones! yay! the dog only tried to kill me about three times. the worst was when she stopped to sniff at a bush where i’d seen some ground squirrels disappear. while i saw the ground squirrels i did not see freddie stop. therefore i about pulled my own arm out of socket because I kept running when she did not. ouch. her other errors were to stop directly in front of me so i would have to either jump over or around her. but, we made it!

i felt pretty good in the interval. i will still probably do it again on tuesday, though. (without the dog, most likely.) there were a few moments of walking when i “should” have been running. mostly due to getting to the newly tilled fields and not knowing how to get through them. i may have to scout out a new place to run as cutting down to the road where the fields start greatly shortens my distance!

maybe, sometime soon, i’ll reach week 6… one day! for now i’ll just keep faithfully plugging away until i can do the 20 minutes strongly.

post running tunes:
all tracks are from the far east movement’s album animal
1. animal
2. get that money
3. lowridin
4. fetish

journey to juba: the tyre incident

okay, its been more than 10 days… you forgive.

without further ado, please buckle up for the: journey to juba: the tyre incident

it was a lovely gulu morning; the sun was shining, it was not yet hot and there was coffee to be had. sister rosemary even sent us away with yoghurt yeast, and coffee beans grown and roasted by sisters in/near nebbi? moyo? somewhere west of gulu but still in uganda. (and, its delicious!)

housemate procured a cavara (plastic bag) from the vehicle and filled it with green mangos from one of the trees on the compound, much to the confusion of sister dorene. (green mangos can be cooked/baked/prepared like rhubarb and or apples. pie! compote! jam!)

elizabeth* had been convinced by we kotidoites that now would be a great time to come visit karamoja. i will readily admit that we used our best argument: we’re already driving there and its so much better than the bus…if you come with us NOW you’ll only have to take the bus one way! (see, we truly have your and your behind’s best interests in mind!)

we arrived at kamdini (the turn to lira) with the plan to phone one of our favorite lira eateries (who also has a branch in gulu!) sankofa cafe, with pizza orders so that they would be ready upon our arrival in lira. it was then decided that the phone call would be best placed from otino wa where we would stop for the best (only?) soft-serve ice cream in waffle cones in uganda. all of this happened. (i also purchased some beeswax candles, and my companions purchased market bags similar to the one i’d procured from the same place a few months prior. they’re great!)

post ice cream we continued on, arriving in lira in time to find a huge line at the atm. we waited. we endured some really insane rain where we stayed as close to the atm as possible so as to not lose our “next” spot in line. apparently the keepers of said atm decided that during said rain storm, with a long line (and us next!) would be a great time to shut it down and do some maintenance. blerg.

we entertained the  others by huddling next to the atm for the majority of the wait time. the wind was blowing hard enough that we actually managed to stay quite dry. AND maintain our places in line. #win!

money was withdrawn. a mad dash was taken to the car in the downpour only for it to, of course, stop a few minutes later. thanks, murphy.

pizzas were purchased and the slog off the paved road began.

parts of the road had been grated so the journey wasn’t the worst one we’d ever had. i was even able to drive, shift and eat pizza at the same time. oh, and find the detour that would have prevented the aforementioned “chain-roller” incident.

just after making the turn “up” (left, and in this case west) i made everyone listen to the vehicle, a strange noise was coming from a tyre… unable to see anything when i pulled over we continued on our happy way.

irregardless of what happens next, i would like to say that i love the detour. the road is a lonely little track through some beautiful patongo land. so high is my adoration for this detour i have decided that i will probably take it even when the new bridge is finished. (at least part of the time, anyway it IS about an 45 addition to the drive time. love me a scenic route.) onward.

at what i figure is about half way down the detour road something sort of dramatic happened. here is how it played out in my internal thoughts:

…wow this is a really beautiful drive…its crazy how much a difference a change of scenery really makes one  realize the beauty around them…i wonder if there is any more “marika special” pizza left…am i hungry?

[unexpected movement from the passenger side of the vehicle]…what is housemate doing…wait..thats outside the car…

…how strange, someone’s tyre is flying past us…wow it bounced REALLY high…WAIT. i wonder if that was my spare…NO. THAT IS A TYRE I NEED. CRAP.

and then i said and thought the “F’ word (censored for the genteel amongst the readers…:cough happymothersday,mom cough:) a lot of times. a lot. meanwhile, somehow by the grace of god and good driving lessons/examples† i managed to somehow bring the car to a complete stop without it flipping over.

there was silence in the vehicle for a few minutes while we watched the tyre bounce off through the bush, and let the realities sink in. yay for adrenaline and shock! my breathing had quickened, jaw clenched and i was clutching the steering wheel like rose clung to the headboard in “titanic”.

housemate brought us back to reality with a comment along the lines of, “um. so, we should do something.” quite right.

after checking to be sure the car was neutral i pulled the emergency break and switched dear ole gurtie off. we took stock of our surroundings and then of the damage on the car.

amazingly, a lorry came trundling by at about this exact moment. (and was the only thing for about an hour!) several men jumped down and were trying to help us out. two of them dashed into the bush, following the direction of my point and retrieved the tyre!

meanwhile i discovered that not only was my jack missing (ugh.) but so was my spanner. (double ugh.) i searched the entire vehicle. twice. because the fellows were just not convinced that i could be so dumb as to not have a jack and spanner in my car. apparently i am…

the spanner for the lorry’s tyres did NOT fit mine and so we were in a right pickle. housemate volunteered (see, ALWAYS the one sent/volunteering!) to board the lorry (it was, in fact, a eagle special [beer] truck) and make the journey to town to find a mechanic.

elizabeth and i stayed behind waving at passersby on bicycles, eating pizza, reading the newspaper and listening to the new radiohead album on my ipod. (ITS SO GOOD!)

i wandered up and down the road taking pictures of the flora and fauna…

contemplated doing yoga (didn’t end up working out, as the only flat space was the middle of the road and someone seeing me doing down-dog whilst rounding the corner would probably have just caused another accident.)

housemate texted to say that the first place they stopped so she was on her way back towards potongo to try there. and then my phone died. so elizabeth and i expressed our gratefulness that we were together and that i wasn’t just chilling in the bush with a broken car alone. its nice to have a friend about, yes? yes.

housemate arrived fairly soon on the back of a boda, conveniently driven by a mechanic. i believe her arriving words were, “hey toots, need a ride?”

our mechanic quickly got to work–requesting some large stones as he began the first jacking-up of the car. luckily enough i had spotted a huge pile of large stones on my wanderings, so elizabeth and i set off to procure two.  he used these stones to hold the car in place as he then jacked it up a second time (with the same jack. precarious doesn’t even begin to describe.)

it took some finagling, but the tire was placed back on the car, and we “borrowed” nuts from each tyre and the spare (typically bolted the back of the land cruiser) to fasten the errant tyre back to the vehicle. our wonderful mechanic/new best friend then tested the tyre by backing up, zooming forward at an alarming rate and slamming on the breaks. several times.

i think the total payment made for the renting of the boda, his time and tools was  maybe $20. (i KNOW, right?!)

as he was on his way, we were on ours in the opposite direction. we reached kotido still in a decent amount of time, and with a car in (mostly) one piece. (cosmetic damage blah blah blah…the kotido mechanic managed to fix this pretty amazingly.)

and thus ends (for real this time) the journey to juba series.but do stay tuned for a ngakarimajong bible launch report, and tales from my ethiopian easter/birthday adventure as well as yet more adventures in vehicles and mechanics from half way between lira and kotido…

*as she as pointed out in a comment, elizabeth is the only “named” person in most of these posts. let me explain: i have her blog linked over there —>
also, she comments and uses her name. i never asked housemate if i could use her name and was too lazy to ask j and j2. but since elizabeth uses her name around these parts i didn’t figure i needed to ask. so, basically, she’s the only one named because i was too lazy to ask the others. the end. (if p, then q.)

† dad, i specifically remember the story of you and…uncle k (?)…driving somewhere and a tyre falling off of your vehicle. although when you thought “tyre” you probably meant “tire”. anyway. i heard this story and your lesson about what to do in this situation in this short amount of time. i am pointing this out so as to prove that i do, in fact, listen to these stories. thanks for the “teaching moments”. and stories 😉