Life is a bit complicated at the minute. Nothing horrible, but complicated, and I am not good at complicated. I am all: ‘Wham! Bam! ‘it it wiv an ‘ammer!’ and then zoom towards, away, anywhere, just zoom, when it comes to things that frustrate, annoy, cause me to dwell on my own insecurities and stuff. I come from a long line of fierce, warrior women who all roar at things and pounce on stuff they’re frightened off and shout at it until its ears bleed. It is very hard to ignore generations of this stuff. Very hard indeed.
I have learned, unfortunately, that it is not always advisable to fly off the deep end all the time. It seems sad that this is so, because flying off the deep end is really one of my bestest skills along with smiting, withering and growling with my tiny claws out.
Over the last few weeks I have been trying to do the grown up thing, and sit quietly and contemplate stuff and get a positive handle on things, and learn what it is about my own behaviour that makes me want to take a claw hammer out and smash stuff up and put everyone in the universe in the naughty corner. I have been trying to act from a place of kindness and good thinking.
It’s fucking difficult isn’t it? No wonder they give the Dalai Lama such a good press.
I have not always succeeded. In fact, it is fair to say that I have had one or two teensy temper tantrums, albeit in the privacy of my own home where I can roar about like Rumplestiltskin and do no harm to others. I have mostly refrained from inflicting my evil ways on everyone (except on Jason. Sorry Jason). I don’t know that I’ve learned much in the process, except that I am not the Dalai Lama, which is frankly a very good thing or Buddhism would be a very different religion indeed.
One of the things about not acting on stuff immediately is that I have had quite a lot of excess energy. All the smiting urges have to go somewhere. I am not one of life’s natural meditators. I start out with the best of intentions and then find that I am thinking about what might happen three weeks next Thursday. A quiet mind is a thing I have read about in books, but at this point in time it is not for me. Because I cannot meditate myself into a state of zen bliss, I have cooked, and cooked, and cooked, and the more frustrated I have been (with myself mostly), the more I have moved myself away from the hammers and into the kitchen.
This explains the very food heavy posts of recent weeks. Also I think it is a bit in response to everyone else going on a diet. I’ve always been a bit of a polarity responder.
Yesterday’s curry, despite taking an age and going a bit wrong at times, turned out well. It didn’t turn out well enough for me to ever want to go to those lengths again to make what was an ok curry. Although Jamie Oliver cannot be blamed for the bit where I tipped the golden syrup up in the drawer – or me burning the spices.
The bread I made in the afternoon turned out to be fine, albeit a bit medieval looking. According to Tilly, who is our resident bread expert, I had a good crumb structure, but I let the oven run slightly too hot, and didn’t put enough water in my bain marie. I will learn. It is edible though. I read somewhere that the Romans used to cut umbilical cords with stale bread, and I am thinking of donating the rest of my loaf to the nearest maternity unit in case they want to go back to basics. It would work.
Today I have cooked an entire chicken in my slow cooker, atop a bed of various veg, which I used to make a jolly fine gravy with. I served the chicken with potatoes gratin and peas. It was blinking lovely. I was inspired by Jamie’s Comfort Food for both the chicken and potatoes, although I didn’t follow either of his recipes properly.
I have also made Thai style butternut squash soup from Bill’s Cook, Eat, Smile book. This was surprisingly lovely. I am not a huge fan of squash. I don’t really do sweet veg, but I needed a butternut for a different recipe and had a lot left over, so rather than chuck it away I decided to try this. It was very simple, very easy to make and beautifully creamy with a lovely Thai tang to it.
As well as all this I indulged myself and made chocolate brownies with salted caramel pieces in from Anna Jones’ book: A Modern Way to Eat. They were very easy to make and a resounding hit with everyone including my dad and Jason who don’t like chocolate cake as a rule. The bread recipe I followed yesterday was from her book too. Despite what I did to it, the bread was very tasty. I also made the peanut butter, muscovado sugar and dark chocolate chip cookies. They were very nice indeed.
So everyone is very delighted really that I am restless and not Zen, and that I am channelling my frustrations into the culinary line. I wonder if that’s how Gordon Ramsay started out?