I have moments when I am overwhelmed by self doubt.
Doubts that I have the credentials to fulfil the job description.
Last night was one of them.
A heavy black velvet veil of anxiety draped itself around me good and proper.
Our family had only 2 days before shown the signs of recovery from the WORST gastro ever to take it's grip on our family.
I went out on Saturday night with some of my gorgeous blogging pals that were in town for a conference.
It was so good to get out.
We laughed HARD all night.
The best medicine of all.
I thought things were on the up.
All the hard stuff had gone out of my head.
Then last night our 12y.o's lips blew up- he was clearly having an allergic reaction to something.
My tummy felt like it had fallen to the floor. I just felt paralysed with anxiety.
My head was shouting at me-
"You are not strong enough to cope with this.
Do I go to the hospital?
Do I wait & see what happens?
Do I ring the Ambulance or will they think I am stupid?
WHAT DO I DO?????"
Lucky for me my rational Husband comes to the rescue at this point.
We called Nurse on Call and the Nurse put us straight through to a Doctor. He told me I had done exactly the right thing (I had given him an antihistamine as soon as I saw his lip) and now we talked about a plan.
I felt better. Despite hating plans to do with my personal life- this sort of plan was my friend.
But I still had this feeling of panic- a sort of "Oh my god I have FIVE children and I am NOT any good at this parenting thing. I really am not."
Then I take a breath and think of some advice a gorgeous friend gave me a few weeks back when I was talking to her of being consumed by self doubt.
She said the key is accepting that some level of self doubt is normal. Is human nature. But that to carry on we need to accept that and move ahead by letting ourselves believe we CAN do it.
I'm trying in amongst my sleep deprived, barely recovered state to hang on to this advice.
To say it over and over.
This morning we have seen a Doctor as his lip was still way too swollen to feel at ease.
Looks like we are going down the Allergy testing route.
But somehow I felt better. I feel like we have support. Like people are looking after us.
But I feel a little scared. And a whole lot fragile. That little voice is in my head making me feel anxious. If anxious is the new black I am so in fashion right now.
The key for me is to know to ask for help.
Don't try and be brave.
People DO want to help.
And there is nothing cowardly about asking for it.
And NOTHING cowardly at all about ringing an Ambulance.
Are you full of self doubt?
DO you find asking for help easy?
GOURMET GIRLFRIEND'S XINJIANG LAMB:
I first found out about this dish from my ace Sister in Law who has Chinese heritage-( she's related to the super doop Sydney chef Kylie Kwong don't ya know?!! (gotta drop that in don't I- cause it's super ace!))
Anyway she taught me about this dish after eating it from street stalls when she was living in Wuhan.
It is an intensely aromatic dish yet ever so simple.
The flavours are not what most of us would first think of as Chinese- but they are very authentic. Most of our views of what constitutes Chinese cuisine are limited.
Like many National cuisines, Chinese cuisine has incredible variety from province to province.
Xinjiang is one of the far northern provinces- bordering Mongolia. Lamb- which is not seen in a lot of the other Chinese region's cuisine- is common here.
I went out with some ace friends and had this dish- I was reminded of it's simple glory & wanted to share it with you all.
I hope you give it a try & LOVE it!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1/2kg finely sliced Lamb (I deboned a leg of lamb and sliced the meat from that- get your butcher to do it for you & reserve half the meat to make something else)
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoons WHOLE cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
- 10 whole dried chillies (optional for the chilli lovers)
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tblspn Rice bran oil (this is a high heat tolerant oil)
To get the BEST flavour from your spices you need to dry roast them. You will NOT believe the difference this makes to the overall finished dish.
Heat a heavy based (cast iron pots are perfect) pan to a low/medium heat.
Pop in the Cumin seeds and the Sichuan peppercorns into the pan & roast until the seeds are starting to brown slightly and are giving off a gorgeous aroma.
Remove from the pan and put into a Mortar & Pestle.
Grind till there is some powder but still some whole seeds. Drink in that perfume!
Dice the onion into wedges.
Place the finely sliced Lamb into a large bowl.
Add the spice mix, the crushed garlic and the soy sauce and mix very well with your hands.
It is preferable to let this marinade for a few hours but will still be delicious if you cook straight away.
Now you need to heat your wok to smoking- the heat of the wok is super important.
Add the oil carefully and let it heat or about 20 seconds.
Add a small handful of Lamb at a time.
Let it sit in your wok for a minute WITHOUT stirring or touching AT ALL.
I know you want to! I can see you reaching for your spoon!
By leaving the lamb you achieve this lovely crunchy exterior to the meat while leaving the meat tender. It is the secret to this dish.
Once it has cooked for a minute you can now stir. Once the Lamb is cooked remove form the pan and set aside.
Continue in small batches allowing the wok to come back to full heat in between batches.
When you have done all the lamb and it is sitting aside you can now add the onion wedges and stir fry till brown on edges and soft.
Add chillies now if you are including them.
Now add the Lamb back to the wok and stir through to combine all ingredients well.
NB. This dish can be done on a BBQ plate if you have a solid plate and allow it to come to a VERY high heat.
Serve with Jasmine Rice.