#spicysaucyovalove

I do  love the feeling of optimism that comes with the arrival of spring.

A lingering notion that perhaps all is well with the world after all. Bare feet on dewy morning grass, the air crisp and fresh before the sun has cast it’s rays. Coffee beckons after meditation- life is about balance after all. My morning practice has left me feeling ravenous.

The chooks raise a shout in the yard- they too are hungry. I throw them seed whilst harvesting still warm eggs from the nesting box. The chalky globes fill an old wire basket- some relic from a local chicken farm that probably made way for comi-townhouses with ‘eggshell’ facades and neat landscaping.

The eggs are spoken for so fast they barely have time to harden. It’s the weekend, which means a slow start and a long breaky. This is my version of an exotic shakshuka and it’s ridiculously good. “Hashtag freakin amazing” according to my 14year old. But really, who knows what he’s on about half the time? I’ll take that as a positive comment until I am led to believe otherwise.

I recall him being small and I was the only person who understood his tottering talk- the funny pronunciations of new words and eager effort. I remember that gentle pride I felt, my boy and his special ways. He’s still special…..(and still requires a translator sometimes). I am as full-as-a-goog with mama love.

But over to my ova.

First I fry a little onion and chilli in some olive oil. Add some smoky paprika and ground coriander and a sprinkle of cumin seeds for good luck. I add a bottle of good quality tomato passata and a tin of refried beans. Stir over medium heat until thick and bubbling.

Heat your oven to 200 degrees and pour some sauce into ramekins. Crack in some eggs and pop in the oven for around 8 mins. Keep an eye on them and whip them out as soon as they’re not gooby- you know what I mean. :)

Top with chopped parsley and feta and serve with sourdough toast. Guaranteed to make the sun come out and the world turn in a whole new way. Every day is a good one- be grateful for good eggs and great beginnings.

Ps. Work starts on the construction of my very own yoga studio this weekend. So happy,happy,happy. See you in class soon.

Namaste xx

On open letter to cauliflower. Ugly words, ugly fritters.

IMG_2712 Oh cauliflower why do you bore me so?

With your pasty, lumpy  motionless moonface. You don't sway your leaves in the vegepatch or even attract the caterpillars. Such is the sad miserable fate of your rotund little self.

Does anyone get passionate about your ho-hum beige-ness?

You need some serious jazzing up that only a little bengali spice and a frypan can do. I apologise for the blistering baptism of oil you are about to endure. Nevermind the food processor. Eeek.

I quite like you in a salad, raw and unsullied, but it's cool outside and I need some naughty in my life. Somehow I see that your bumpy, lumpy self still manages to show it's head even with all my chopping and changing.

I remember how my granny boiled you into submission served with corned beef and (I think) PVA glue. Urgh. You tasted like an old musty Tshirt that was left in the rain. I shan't be sayin' "Don't go changin."

You need some serious wrangling.

Unapologetically,

Michelle

Cauliflower bhaji

½ head cauliflower

½ cup caramelised onions

handful of spinach

handful parsley

1 clove garlic and a little knob of ginger (2cm) grated

1 tablespoon Panch Phoron (bengali spice mix) toasted

2 eggs

1 cup rye bread crumbs (you can use ordinary crumbs)

3 heaped T yogurt

salt and pepper

Grab a food processor and blitz your cauliflower into a chunky crumb.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Heat a frypan on medium heat with a little oil (I use rice bran)

Fry on both sides until toasty and crunchy. Serve with Spinach leaves, mango chutney and minted yogurt.

 

Mama's Unplugged...

IMG_0006I know it's been quite a while since I've posted anything. I'm not sure what started it. I think I began with a modest spring clean that just gathered momentum, spurred on by the desire to live differently. Somehow quieter.

I got rid of a lot of my stuff. Culled the embarrassing number of a 'certain kind' of black dress and gave my  high heels to charity so that others might suffer the way I have. I ditched the bloody wicker baskets all over my house and even thinned out my bookshelves. I tossed toys and tearfully gave away my children's tiny clothes.

Then, when the house finally felt spacious, I turned on the 'time wasters' in my life. I wanted my days to feel spacious too. I closed my Facebook account. Instead of writing here, I wrote poetry and recipes and plans for the garden.

I spent time in the vegetable patch. Desperately trying to tame the tomatoes that threaten to take over the entire garden. The vines hang heavy with fruit, we pick kilos, trying to save them from the mouth of my lovely girl. She wraps them in fresh mint leaves and devours handfuls.

The zucchinis have taken up the call and given up a bounty of fruit. What to do with ten thousand of these babies? Fritters, salads, muffins, cakes and slices. With lemon, mint, feta, and chocolate. They've forced my creative hand and yet they're still producing new growth everyday!

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With my days expanding I baked bread and made fresh pasta. I make meatballs with the kids and made sauce from the tomatoes grown outside the kitchen. No basil yet? That's ok, we'll add chilli and fennel seeds to the meat and pick some oregano from underneath the stairs. We find one with a love heart mark, my son squeezes me tight and he smells like fresh herbs. It's all about slow pleasure and anticipation as it bubbles away for the afternoon. By dinner the boys will defy their biology and consume mountains of fresh spaghetti slathered in the rich sauce. We talk about girls and ebola.

How strange it is to be a kid these days....

 

IMG_1475I read mountains of yoga books and meditate everyday. Suddenly there seems to be so much time for nothing. I feel still inside, like this moment is all that requires my attention. I walk around my house. The aquaponics is bubbling away, ready for new seed. By summer we will pick greens and golden beetroot for salads. I've planted heirloom tomatoes and cucumber.

I sit with the chooks. We have beautiful new hens but they're still learning the ways of our bossy Squirrel (weird name I know! She's the boss). She pecks and pushes them all around. The eggs are warm and chalky and fit beautifully into my palm. Nothing makes me happier than pushing through the rosemary and finding a half dozen for breakfast. I no longer watch the news so the only soldiers I see are smothered in butter, awaiting their delicious fate.

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I'm amazed at how this land I own can still surprise me. I take my shoes off and walk barefoot at dusk. I am aware of every step, the softness of the lawn compared to the rocky earth as I get closer to the bush behind our property. I check for snakes, none to keen on that kind of surprise! I find a bumper crop of tomatoes hiding down the hill. I threw old clippings here last summer and they've fought their way to fruition. I tuck handfuls of the little gems into my pockets and then fill my hat. This would cost a packet at the farmers market!

Sometimes I think about that young girl I used to be. All long hair and heels, heading off to this or that, champagne in hand. The latest clothes and seventy pairs of shoes in her wardrobe. I marvel at how I ended up in this quiet life. More amazing is how happy I am, elbow deep in dough or cleaning out the chooks. Curling up with three gorgeous children that I (somehow) haven't damaged.

I realise that it's all for them. That somehow they gave life to this new me along the way. I couldn't boil an egg at twenty! Their love has transformed me into this mama I've become. Not fodder for social media or gossip, but a full person, living a full creative life. Many thanks to my small people.

I am thoroughly saturated in simple joy.

(and I've no desire to post it on Facebook)