I love books- I have written about it before here and here.
I look at cook books a lot. But I have stopped reading other forms of literature.
And I am missing it.
I spend a lot of time as a stay at home mum looking on the internet, conversing with my buddies on twitter & facebook. I love that- it gives me a sense of community. It is great to chat with other people who share similarites with me- like cooking, raising kids, making stuff, thinking about stuff.....you know...the important stuff.
I love that i can come and go as I please. Take a little bit here, give a little bit there.
Being a stay at home mum is a pretty challenging job.
My long time readers know how much I love it.
I love it A LOT!
Each and every day I am thankful that I can do it.
I don't enjoy my job everyday but I am thankful that I am doing what I do.
Conversing online makes it less of a solitary exercise. I can feed my brain a little.
And I have met some truly lovely people- people that I would not have met otherwise. These people have helped me through some particularly hard times over the last year.
But lately I have been thinking of how I can find a better balance.
How I can switch off from my electronic world and get my head back into books again.
I have an ever growing pile of books on my bedside table that has toppled and spills across the floor.
My tendency after a very tiring day doing my job is to head over to the internet to see what all my buddies are looking at, reading short snippets here & there. Stuff that is important & stuff that is well written.....but not BOOKS.
I have been reading cookbooks to cook with- of course. I have several bookshelves filled with them. Here's one of them.
I don't want to feel like I have to read.
But I do want to read because I feel like reading....it is the desire that I crave.
In the back of my head I am thinking of a plan to help me.
Those people that know me know my resistance to making a plan. I think I am a bit averse as I don't like to fail.
No PLAN= No FAIL.
But maybe it's time I learnt to plan......... and learnt to accept failure.
I have started to make To Do lists- but my rule is they have to have things on them that are not housework jobs but things that are good for me....this one includes something about reading. I set the bar pretty low in the reading stakes.....but in my super busy days I have to keep it realistic too.
I always tell my kids failure is natural part of the learning curve....so how come I find it so hard to practice that in my world?
I have some ideas swimming around to help me out.
I'm thinking of getting some other people to join me.
I don't like doing stuff alone......it's fun to share!
Do you have the same trouble?
I would love to know how you overcame your reading block- if you did?
CLAUDIA RODEN'S TURKISH LAMB STEW with AUBERGINE SAUCE (Hunkar Begendi):
This recipe comes from Claudia Roden's book ARABESQUE- a taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon.
I love her recipes and this book was about her revisiting the countries she had first written about in the 1960's (opening up their cuisine to many of us for the first time) to see how their cuisine & culture had changed since that time. I have a very well thumbed original copy of her Middle Eastern cookery in one of my cookbook shelves. I have very quickly fallen in love with this book also.
I made this dish last week and had a request to blog the recipe.
I fell in love with the story & had to cook it. I also have a deep love for Eggplant- and so do my kids so I was keen to try this.
The name of the dish means "Her Majesty's delight". The story is that it was served to the wife of Napoleon III - Empress Eugenie in 1869 when she was entertained by Sultan Abdul Aziz. The Empress was so taken with the pale,creamy aubergine sauce that she requested the recipe. The Sultan's cook refused however, explaining that he could not pass on the recipe as "He only cooked with his eyes and nose."
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 tblspoons Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 kg boned Organic lamb leg or shoulder, chopped into medium chunks
- 500g tomatoes (tinned is fine- use chopped ones)
- 1 tspn sugar
- 1 clove garlic (not in Claudia's recipe but I CANNOT cook without it!)
- S & P
- 3 large eggplants (aubergine)
- 75g butter
- 3 tblspoons flour
- 500ml milk
- good grating of fresh nutmeg
- 50g Gruyere cheese (or other good quality cheese).
Fry the onion until soft in EVOO. Add garlic and fry for a minute or so.
Add the diced lamb and cook till lightly brown.
Add tomatoes, S & P and sugar.
Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours with the lid on.
Check every now & then to make sure it does not dry out. Add water if it does.
Remove the lid for the last half hour and let sauce reduce.
For the puree- prick the eggplant with a pointed knife to prevent them bursting in the oven.
Place them on a large piece of foil on a baking tray and roast them in an oven preheated to 240C for about 45-55 minutes or until they feel very soft when you press them and the skins are wrinkled.
When cool enough to handle, peel and drop them into a strainer or colander with small holes to press out as much juice as possible.
Place the flesh in a bowl and mash with a fork. Set aside.
Make a bechamel sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan add the flour and stir over low heat for abut 2 minutes to cook flour.
Add milk & cook at a gentle heat while stirring to prevent lumps. Add salt and plenty of nutmeg. Cook for aobut 15 minutes or unitl the sauce has thickened.
Now add the eggplant and cheese. Stir through until cheese has melted.
Serve the meat stew in a shallow dish with the aubergine sauce all around.
I served it with a Basmati pilaf with brown lentils and a side of green beans with almonds. When the sauce is all mixed through it is AMAZING!
and todays listening pleasure....