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Bachelor Gruel (Falsely Called So)

When I decided that I would start to consciously look after myself I didn’t really know where to start. Having slowly evolved from a diet consisting wholly of two-minute noodles and booze it seemed impossible to do all the things I needed to do to be healthy. After a while I realised to do stuff you just have to start from staples and build from there. So I thought back to various things that had been suggested to me by people who I trust who have been on this same quest for longer than myself and began to compile a recipe. I started with brown rice and slowly added more and more ingredients for taste and health benefits until I found something that was healthy, malleable, and fortunately delicious.

Since I concocted this recipe I have been eating variations of this dish almost daily, and I am yet to find myself getting bored of it. When I eat other food I often find myself comparing it to this and wishing I had brought a lunch box. I feel robust. I feel strong and healthy. In our day-to-day lives there are no miracles except for those you allow to happen by putting yourself in the place where they must land, and if you want to be healthy you need to eat healthy. Period.

The secret of the Bachelor Gruel is that it’s a collection of healthy foods combined to make something that is delicious and able to be eaten every day. It tastes good yet is not exciting enough that it becomes boring. Though variety is the spice of life, health is the source of life, and as Hippocrates said ‘Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.’ So, while you are sitting around at home, not really indulging in life’s variety, pretty much doing the same shitty things for your body over and over again, you might as well have such a medicinal concoction as your dietary base. If you get the opportunity you should complicate things: choose ingredients to add that suit you beyond the basics provided here. And if you don’t have everything on the list at any time you can always strip it back. When you are adding ingredients, keep in mind that the rawer they are the better.

When approaching a Bachelor Gruel one must remember that even if you don’t like it at first it is malleable, and the idea is health more than anything else. Taste is a multi-faceted sense, and the great thing about our tastebuds is that if you push them to a certain point with things you don’t like then you can acquire new tastes, and after a while experimenting you can find that the boundaries of ‘what you like’ are much broader than you ever expected.

All this is not to say the recipe isn’t delicious in more conventional ways, I am assured by others that it is, but it’s said to encourage a less arbitrarily descriminatory perspective when it comes to preferences in taste, and a more descriminating view when it comes to health and a broad experience of the potentials of the palate.

Ingredients

1 mug Brown Rice
1/4 mug Buckwheat
1/2 mug Quinoa (any colour/s)
4 and 1/3 mugs Water (purified if possible)
Pumpkin, cubed, skin on
Carrot, chopped, skin on
Sweet Potato, chopped, skin on
Broccolli, chopped
Green Beans, chopped
3-4 Cloves Garlic, diced
Ginger, diced
Tamari
Tahini
Turmeric
Cayenne Pepper
Flaxseeds (Preferably ground)
Black Sesame seeds (if available)

How to Make the Gruel

  1. Pour the rice, buckwheat and B/W Quinoa into a large pot. Add the water and start this on a high heat.
  2. I usually start preparing everything else now. Though the grains have fairly precise quantities, everything else is imprecise. Access your intuition. Read on to understand the point of each ingredient and then come back to this to work out how much you think you will need.
  3. Chop up all your vegetables, the garlic and the ginger.
  4. When the water begins to boil, turn down the heat to medium and put a lid on the pot.
  5. When the water has boiled down to just above the rice mixture (1cm or so) throw the vegetables in. Do not worry if some of them are not submerged. The secret is to let them steam/boil.
  6. When the rice is cooked, which is shown by the water pretty much disappearing, turn off the heat, stir the vegetables through, and leave the lid on. Be careful that you dont wait too long to turn off the heat. When it is cooked the water should be below the level of the rice, but not completely gone, otherwise the rice will burn.
  7. Add the Garlic and Ginger and mix it through. Let that sit fof 10 minutes.
  8. The vegetables should be soft enough that when you stir the gruel they will fall apart, becoming part of the mush. Do this.
  9. Add Turmeric to taste. This is variable of course, and trumeric has a strong taste, but keep in mind that Turmeric holds many health benefits, so add as much as you can. When you taste it, you should be able to taste that it has turmeric in it, but not enough that it just tastes like turmeric. The rule of the gruel is that all the tastes sit just below the overall taste so that all are noticibly present but none are overpowering. Stir.
  10. Add Tahini to taste (as with Turmeric). Stir.
  11. Add Tamari to taste (this is the least healthy thing, lots of salt, but it makes it taste real good, so add as little as posible while still being able to taste it). Stir.
  12. Add Cayenne Pepper to taste. This stuff is so incredibly good for you. Have heaps of it. Toughen the fuck up.
  13. Add Flaxseeds and any other seeds.

And now you should have an Orange/Yellow Goo filled with black seeds and vege solids that is salty and spicy and delicious. You will have quite a bit if you use a mug of rice, enough to last a few days if you are a solitary type, enough to feed the family if you prefer company. You can eat the gruel hot, or it can taste even better cold (depending on the batch). If you have cold gruel, you should add freshly crushed flaxseeds just before you eat it, because they are awesome for you as well. If you aren’t a vegan you can fry a few eggs and chuck them in as well. Cold Avocado pieces spread throughout a hot and spicy gruel is excellent. Excellent as a side dish, once I garnished it and took it to a party as a dip. Go wild.

– Concocted by Lucas George, 2013.

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