I once overheard a lady talking about her dyspraxic daughter and she was saying that one of her daughter’s dyspraxic symptoms was having issues with the texture of food. There I sat being overly nosey in my early 20’s thinking that I knew my dyspraxia inside out, but what the lady had said explained a lot about my relationship with food.
I have always been at the whim of the texture of what lay plated before me. In particular, bananas and kidney beans top the list, but as I am getting older I able to battle some of these textures on my taste buds by mixing them with tasty and colorful things. Which brings us to today’s menu and the first installment of the dyspraxic chef.
On the menu
On the menu today is Mexican bake. This one is for the veggies and the celiac, and those like me who are egg intolerant. This tasty dish is an easy one, to begin with. A bit of preparation and patience and you’ll be licking your lips with devastating hunger in no time. Well, approximately 40 minutes or so, and that’s with all the prep included.
I was tired and completely unmotivated to cook, so this was a good one because it didn’t require too much multi-tasking. I am sure that everyone can relate to that, you don’t have to be an adult living with dyspraxia.
Now, I don’t want this to be a blog dedicated to cooking tips. After some brief research, I think there are better people out there to be offering cooking advice. This is a log, if you will, of my journey into the kitchen.
For this dish you will need:
– Between 100g and 200g of long grain white rice, depending on the quantity you wish to cook
– 1 red and 1 green bell peppers
– 80g of kidney beans
– 100ml of creme fraiche
– 100g of salsa sauce (you can also buy tomato sauce and Mexican spices separately)
– Grated cheese
– Some fresh coriander for serving
– Optional: sweetcorn
You don’t have to stick to the list, there are variations of this dish that work perfectly well. I am a fan of the sweet corn for instance, but the girlfriend (let’s call her the frog) not so much and since she is still ‘technically’ in charge of the kitchen, it is in my interest to keep her happy. Not to mention, more often than not she’s the one doing the shopping.
You’re going to need an oven dish (the size is dependent on how many bellies you have to fill), a chopping board, a small pan, a dish and a drainer. Get your rice and bang it in a pan and let that come to the boil. Maybe add a little bit of salt but I don’t think you’d notice if you didn’t.
While those tiny grains are getting very hot, dice up some peppers. Now, I have a bit of strange technic when it comes to cutting peppers according to the frog. I cut them in half in a normal enough manner, and take all the seeds out, but then I slice them from the bottom up. I’ve kept all my fingers so far. If it works, it works.
Mid chopping, the frog was beginning to overload me information as to what we needed to do next.
I completely zoned out to concentrate on the peppers before I quite literally snapped back into the room with ‘ I haven’t listened to a word you’ve just said, you’re overloading me and I am trying to cut these f****ing peppers.”
That dish you need should be full of kidney beans. It’s common for adults living with dyspraxia to be sensitive to the texture of food. I do not like the texture of kidney beans, but with them tucked away in this tasty bake, they release a real flavor to it.
If you are as slow as I am at cutting, then the rice should be boiling by the time you’ve cut the peppers. Drain the rice, which is sometimes easier said than done for someone with dyspraxia symptoms, and then take a spoon or two (whichever is the easiest ) and spread a layer of rice across the base of the oven tray. Then do the same with the peppers and, just for a laugh, bring in those kidney beans.
Time to bring some spoons into action and spread the sauces and creme fraiche, only use a bit at first as this is a layering operation.
Repeat the layering until you get to near the top and then spread big dollops of creme to top it off. Finish with grated cheese. By this point, you should have a healthy colorful dish ready to put in the oven to bake.
Whip it out the oven when ready and tuck in. You can add some fresh coriander on top before serving (that’s the frog’s touch).
I found this one fairly easy to make but only because I had all the ingredients at the ready and didn’t have to worry about doing more than one thing at one. As mentioned, I do not like the texture of the kidney beans but I think being more directly involved in cooking helps me get over that. I am learning what each ingredient brings to the dish. The texture of a
food can change anyway depending on what you cook it with and how you cook it, so don’t right off that food that freaks you out just yet.
Although, bananas are off the list for me as well as beetroot, a vast amount of things that come out of the sea, some meats and anything with a fizz.
During my brief foray into the kitchen, I have so far learned that is is hard and tiring but rewarding. I find myself stood in one spot behind a hot stove, aching to sit down but driven by my desire to create something whole from some many separate entities.
I bet there are plenty of dyspraxic adults out there and people with all manner of disabilities and difficulties that think that cooking is biting off more than they can chew. But under the right circumstances, anything is possible.
Yours and hungry,
The dyspraxic chef.