Heroes of Cosplay, episode 10 is all about preparation for and attending Wizard World Con at Portland. The show focuses on Chloe, Meg, Katie, Yaya, Rikki and Chloe’s friend, co-star and co-producer on Bite Size show Chaotic Awesome, Michele Morrow. Michele is a complete novice in the world of cosplay and Chloe and Meg are both helping her to adjust to this new experience.
Congratulations on getting 200 total follows on MikesFilmTalk.
Your current tally is 203.
After my not so brilliant day yesterday, things could only get better and they did. What is most impressive (to me anyway) is that things got better on the same day. Just when I’d grabbed my metaphorical bootstraps, pulled and nothing happened; I got two bits of fabulous news.
Firstly, it looks like I won’t have to starve to death, at least not this year, as some of my financial woes have been sorted. I’d love to tell you how but I cannot. Suffice to say the “fix” as it were has nothing to do with illegal activities such as robbing a bank or selling addictive substances.
Secondly, I broke the 200 follower barrier last night. It is amazing that something so not related to my main issues could have improved my mood so much. My heart did a long and energetic Snoopy dance and my mind set off copious amounts of fireworks.
The human brain is an odd sort of duck. It is pretty damn resilient. It’s function, beyond that of the body’s Central Processing Unit (CPU), is to help us cope with certain emotions and it enables us to “switch hit” through every day (and not so every day) problems.
When I came home yesterday I was really down. I mean right at the very bottom of the darkest well in existence. But the human brain that I call mine started to immediately function as a pep squad; cheerleaders with pom-pom’s waving and doing handstands.
After I’d written my first draft blog post about yesterday’s events I already felt better. I felt good enough that I pretty much “canned” the first post and I re-wrote it. Talking things through with my daughter Meg also went a long way to improving my disposition. I wasn’t quite ready to do cartwheels of joy just yet, but damned if I wasn’t almost cheery.
After washing the dishes, I made a cup of coffee and went into the front room. I checked my emails and the other windows I had open and I realised that I had another follower or two. I immediately went into the fist pumping show of joy accompanied by my internalized Snoopy dance.
I woke up this morning, back aching and brain on temporary hold, came downstairs and put a load of laundry on and made my first coffee of the day. Switching on the computer I saw that I was still over the 200 mark and despite the firm lecturing I gave myself the night before about not writing about this so soon after my “bragging” 40,000 break-through post; I sat down and started typing.
I am now sitting in my living room. I’ve hung the laundry up to dry, finished my first cup of coffee and I’m looking out the window at a beautiful snow-covered sunshiny day. The confusion and hopeless feeling from yesterday is a million miles away and I am back on the optimism train in the first class section. *It looks like I didn’t need to dodge the train at all, I just had to grab hold of it and “hop” a ride.*
I am also sitting here thinking about that 4th draft copy of my ancient screenplay upstairs lying on the desk. I’m thinking that while I have all this enthusiasm, optimism, and vigour I’d better take a look at it and start again.
But first I’ll have another cup of coffee and enjoy the fireworks a bit more.
So last night we decided to try a variation on an old favorite. When Meg was sharing a house with a young lady named Emily, she was introduced to one of the tastiest and easiest meals in the world.
Dead simple to make and extremely tasty.
It doesn’t have a name although you could call it Emily’s PastaDish. The main ingredients for the original dish are bacon, flat mushrooms, green and red pepper, pasta and cheese.
Now just in case you didn’t notice the bacon –which I helpfully highlighted in italics and bold print– I’ll point it out again. This lovely delicious treat has artery hardening, cholesterol raising, heart attack inducing bacon in it.
We decided to substitute the real bacon with Quorn bacon.
Now I don’t know if you remember or not, but I did say in another post that my first introduction to Quorn was not a roaring success. The texture was wrong and it didn’t taste quite right. Interestingly enough it was ham, another pork product, and I had a similar problem with the ersatz Quorn bacon. Meg noticed immediately that it looked more like bacon shaped baloney. I hasten to add it was shaped like English bacon. I had to agree.
Further more, to me at any rate, it tasted like baloney. I consider myself a bit of an expert as I used to dearly love fried baloney sandwiches. I know, you are sitting there thinking, “And this man is surprised that he had a heart attack?” But if you notice the operative part of the sentence is the phrase, ‘used to.’
Now the more crunchy portions of the Quorn bacon did taste a bit like bacon, but the less crispy bits did not. The dish was still enjoyable in many ways, it just did not taste as good as the rest of the Quorn dishes we’ve tried.
I guess there really is no perfect substitute for good old greasy, crisp bacon.
The recipe is as follows –if you are still interested:
4 slices of bacon (real or substitute)
3 – 4 flat mushrooms (by all means use organic ones if you wish)
First start slowly frying your bacon in a pan big enough to hold your bacon, mushrooms and peppers.
Start boiling your water for your pasta
While you’re boiling and frying, cut your flat mushrooms into medium-sized pieces and then do the same to your peppers. (I’m sure everyone knows this already but, don’t forget to get rid of the seeds)
Once your bacon is cooked to your level of satisfaction (crispy or not) add the cut mushrooms and peppers.
Continue to cook the bacon with the mushrooms and peppers until done.
Once your pasta is al dente enough drain the water from the pan.
Now drain the excess liquid from the frying pan.
*If you time it right, the pasta and the other ingredients will all be ready at the same time.*
Add your bacon, mushrooms and peppers to the cooked pasta and stir.
Once you’ve plated up the dish, add the grated cheese to taste.
This is a great recipe for students or someone who doesn’t want to spend a long time preparing a delicious meal.
Please excuse the blurriness of the photo, I was starving and had a hard time holding my phone still!
There is one thing I need to mention. The Quorn bacon might not have tasted like real bacon but, the dish was a lot “cleaner” with it. Making the dish with real bacon is “yummier” but “greasier.” It’s really up to you whether or not you use real Porky Pig bacon or not.
If you try it out, let me know what you think of it. Is it better with real bacon or did you prefer the imitation bacon.
So last night we had QuornKorma. It was, as expected, delicious. I can also point out that it was easier to make than our usual chicken korma. I did not have to cut anything into small pieces apart from the mushroom that is a staple ingredient of most of our favorite dishes.
Admittedly it tasted much better than it looks in the picture. After I had taken a couple of snaps of the finished product, my daughter Meg looked at the pictures and said flatly, “It looks like dogfood.”
After surveying the pictures for a moment I had to agree, but to me it looked like more than dogfood. It looked like dogfood on rice.
This is so easy to make that you don’t really need a recipe unless you want to make the whole mess from scratch. We will be attempting a “curry” type dish from scratch later, but for now we took the easy way out.
The ingredients are simple. Well, simple if you live in the UK. We took one jar of Tesco’s finest Korma cooking sauce, –which is probably chock full of all kinds of heart attack inducing ingredients, but hey, we wanted to see what it would taste like– some mushrooms, –organic is you want to be really healthy– and rice.
While we cooked the Quorn fake chicken in the korma sauce with our added mushrooms, we made the rice. In roughly 15 – 20 minutes the meal was made, dished up and put on the table.
It’s funny how differently you see things after you’ve had a “near death” experience. Before my tremendously exciting eventful day on the 30th of August this year I could not understand why anyone would prefer a meat substitute for the real deal.
Like Meg, I was of the opinion that Quorn, or products like it, was a sort of westernized Tofu. A strange sort of soybean curd thing that took the flavour of whatever it was cooked with.
The stuff isn’t made from soybean and it doesn’t absorb the flavour of what you cook it with.
The other opinion we share was our misunderstanding of why people would become vegetarians but still want meat flavoured substitutes. After the necessary changes to my diet, we can both now understand why. We are both eating healthier but are not having to live without “meat.”
So we now have a better understanding of vegetarians. The same cannot be said of Vegans. These rather eclectic “holier than thou” food snobs are completely beyond me.
Back to the recipe for a minute, I am sure that wherever you live a sort of cooking sauce exists that can be used instead of our Tesco’s finest korma sauce.
We are continuing our excursion into healthy eating the Quorn way. We are still experimenting with other vegetable type dishes and it’s on the calendar for us to attempt to do “homemade” sushi.
I will point out that I do still miss my meat, but I don’t miss the grease and the after-smell. Tonight, if the store has any, we will be trying the Quorn bacon in one of our favourite dishes.
It remains to be seen if this fungi bacon will satisfy my craving for the crisp real bacon that I adore. But, like all the other “new dishes” we’ve tried since my heart attack, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
On a completely different note, I will be putting my grimacing mug at the top of all my blog posts for awhile. Since my problem with the thumbnails the other day, I’ve had the odd person say that they liked my picture on the top. So until a lot of people complain at my apparent narcissistic tendencies, I’ll leave it up as my blog posts “calling card.”
After my previous attempt at “healthy” chilli –Turkey mince chilli– I was a bit skeptical about trying another variation on the healthy alternative theme.
Despite my best efforts the turkey chilli, even with all the extra spices added, still tasted like turkey chilli. It was edible sure, but it was not a screaming success.
I had previously thought about using Quorn. Quorn for the uninitiated is a meat substitute manufactured in the United Kingdom. It is available in 11 countries, the USA being one of them.
Now here’s the important bit.
My first introduction to the product was when my daughter Meg was in high school and in a cookery class. Her teacher had insisted that her class make a pizza with this ham substitute called Quorn.
I did not like it. The texture was funny and even though it did taste faintly of ham the texture of it didn’t match the taste. Fortunately they’ve improved on their imitation meat textures. Improved enough for me to give it a second chance.
Since my heart attack and the resultant surgery I’ve had to completely restructure my diet as well as my lifestyle. I’ve been trying to share each new recipe as I try them.
For the record we’ve tried the winter vegetable lasagna:
And the turkey Chilli Con Carne:
In my blog post For ‘Every Beat of My Heart’ Thanks I mentioned Quorn but had decided that it was too expensive. The packet of mince I’d seen in the store was priced at £1.85 for 300 grams. I had decided that I would need at least 2 packets to make chilli con carne.
That would have made it pretty expensive so I gave it a miss. Actually the reverse was true. It was extremely cost effective. Cost effective because you only need one 300g packet to make chilli.
The recipe is simple and just like making regular chilli –the meaty type– and it tastes delicious. If you’re interested, I’ll pass the recipe on before the end of the post.
But first I’d like to tell you what Quorn is made of. According to Wikipedia Quorn is made of fungi:
Quorn is made from the soil mould Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684 (previously misidentified as the parasitic mold Fusarium graminearum ). The fungus is grown in continually oxygenated water in large, otherwise sterile fermentation tanks. During the growth phase, glucose is added as a food for the fungus, as are various vitamins and minerals (to improve the food value of the resulting product). The resulting mycoprotein is then extracted and heat-treated to remove excess levels of RNA. Previous attempts to produce such fermented protein foodstuffs were thwarted by excessive levels of DNA or RNA; without the heat treatment, purine, found in nucleic acids, is metabolised by humans, producing uric acid, which can lead to gout.
The product is dried and mixed with chicken egg albumen, which acts as a binder. It is then textured, giving it some of the grained character of meat, and pressed either into a mince (resembling ground beef), forms resembling breasts, meatballs, turkey roasts, or into chunks (resembling diced chicken breast). In these forms, Quorn has a varying colour and a mild flavour resembling the imitated meat product, and is suitable for use as a replacement for meat in many dishes, such as stews and casseroles. The final Quorn product is high in protein and dietary fibre and is low in saturated fat and salt. It contains less dietary iron than do most meats.
The different tastes and forms of Quorn are results of industrial processing of the raw fungus.
Okay, boring science class over. I just felt that you ought to know what this tasty stuff is made of. It doesn’t bother me, because it tastes brilliant and is better for my heart than my lifetime favorite of meat.