On Monday, I typed the final paragraphs into my conclusion chapter, leaving me with .... a complete first draft. It was like a beacon of light shone down on me, and a chorus was singing in the distance. In the life of a PhD student, a complete draft is A Big Deal. I've spent just under three years so far working on this, first researching my face off and then writing for months on end. Now my drafts are up with my supervisors, which means a short reprieve before revisions start with a vengeance. There's plenty of work I could do in the meantime, but I basked in the moment and took both Tuesday and Friday off from uni.
So on Tuesday, I headed up to the Asian grocery shop, something I've been meaning to do for weeks, and stocked up on some supplies.
I often complain that in Townsville we lack many of the luxurious ingredients that city dwellers and North Americans take advantage of without a second thought. Things like more than one brand of store-bought veggie burger, vegan cheese, and vegan restaurant food. But for all my complaining, my basic needs are met -- the Asian grocery store carries lots of vegan staple foods.
My recent trip saw me purchase about 7 kilos of food, which made riding home a bit arduous but totally worth it.
I got: sesame seeds, azuki beans, tapioca pearls, dried shiitake mushrooms, miso paste, cannellini beans, ground cumin, loose leaf green tea, sumac, chickpea flour, gluten flour, and stinky tofu. Of the products which are available in the mainstream grocery stores, these are much cheaper -- because the Asian grocers buy in bulk and pack most things themselves. They have tons of spices and dried herbs, rice of all varieties, beans, nuts, seeds, tinned mock meat, and noodles galore. They've also got a fair bit of fresh produce, including lots of fruit and veg that you can't get in the supermarket. In short, I love it there.
The other thing I bought on Tuesday which had made it to the fridge by picture-time was a block of fresh tempeh. At $5.50 a cake, it ain't cheap, but it's approximately 12,403 times better than the tempeh we can get in the supermarket.
For me, tempeh and peanut sauce were made for each other, so I stir-fried my tempeh with broccoli and carrots and smothered everything in a curried peanut sauce.
The fresh tempeh was firm and textured, with a deep, almost mushroom-y flavour. Served with bulgur, this was a great post-yoga meal because it was so ridiculously quick to throw together.
Note to Townsvillains - I shop at the Asian grocery store in Aitkenvale. I've been to the Hermit Park shop once and wasn't super impressed, and since I'm a creature of habit I'm happy to stick with the one I know and love.