Lately I've been really into listening to podcasts. They're great for when my brain or eyes are too tired for reading, or I feel like filling my headspace with music could be further upstaged by adding something of even more value. I definitely feel I'm late to the game on this one, but nonetheless I'm glad I finally got the memo!
The past few weeks have once again caught me without time to sit down and write here. At any given time I've likely several blog posts (in the form of the finished recipes and photos) lined up and uploaded to the site ready for the post to be written; as the creative process of cooking, recipe writing and tweaking, and finally the photographs followed by the inevitable eating, is not something I ever need to 'find time' to do. Reading cookbooks and getting inspired to cook is never the challenge. These days, the challenge is finding not only the time, but the mental clearance and space to write. One of the recent podcasts I listened to was by The Minimalists, and the discussion was centred around knowing when to walk away. The opening essay was powerful and thought provoking, and this idea has stayed with me - the idea that in order to be our best selves, and to show up every day in the most meaningful way possible, we can actualize this more fully with the preparedness to walk away, or let go, of a commitment or obligation or even a relationship (even those most important to you) at a moments notice. The notion presented is that even our most cherished relationships; our marriages, our business relationships and partnerships, and our closest friends, can be kept sharper without the subtle laziness that can creep in when you know, or think, something is forever. Because as we know, nothing ever is. By being prepared to walk away, and knowing that any other person in our lives, could also be prepared to walk away, our perspective is kept where it should be: in a state of gratitude for those we love the most. The preparedness to walk away ensures we never forget to be our best for each other. That's a beautiful thought.
When I think about it, I've never been one to be scared of letting go, or of walking away, and while I'm extremely grateful for the sacred long term bonds in my life (marriage, kids, close friends) - the reminder of our non-permanence is a powerful notion to bring us back to the present, and to ensure we are always putting the effort in to be our best selves. So with that, I'm doing some fairly basic letting go - a few commitments here and there (pretty basic, top level stuff) to make more space for things that feed me. The quote above struck me hard, and it's true 100%. Everything we carry, we picked up - and what an empowering thought that we alone can choose how and what we devote our limited time to. It's actually not more complicated than that, and by being aware that nothing we see or do, or that the people we choose to spend our lives with is guaranteed to be there tomorrow, we can be brought into the amazingness of the here and the now. We are always in control of what we carry, and if you no longer need something, simply let it go.
This recipe is one I could make literally every day, and is almost identical to this Moroccan Chickpea Stew I posted a while back. I've adapted the original recipe only slightly, as the original recipe calls for skinning the chickpeas, and while I'm sure this would be a great exercise in mindfulness, I skipped this step (though I would like to try it at some point). I've used the Italian strained tomatoes as the Vegan Rosé Sauce I just posted uses it - and it's always handy to have more than one use for an ingredient in a busy kitchen. This tagine would be amazing served as is or with rice, couscous, or quinoa. It could also be accompanied by homemade chapatti or inside a pita.
Moroccan Chickpea Tagine3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove (optional)
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup Passata (strained tomatoes)
1-2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3/4-1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 cup water
1 tsp sugar
2 cups cooked chickpeas
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan on medium high. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and all the dried spices and cook, stirring until fragrant - about 2 minutes (don't let the spices burn!). Add the Passata, chopped tomatoes, water, salt, and sugar, and cook, covered on medium heat for 20 minutes.
Add the cooked chickpeas and cook a further 20-25 minutes, until the mixture is thick and the sauce has turned a dark shade of red. Before serving, stir in the fresh parsley and cilantro. Serve piping hot with or without a drizzle of quality olive oil.