I have the most lovely of books called ‘Lunch at the shop’ ; The Art & Practice of the midday meal by a clever man named Peter Miller.
For many of us, lunch has become a rush. It is often eaten on the run without acknowledging that we need to take a break. I am guilty of this. I eat really well. What’s on my plate is always really, really lovely (it’s important to me) but it might be whooped down in front of a computer or in the kitchen as I am preparing for a class but oooohhhhh….what a celebration it is when I fight against habit to nurture myself with not only good food but ….time for me. It is often a much needed recharge and refuel.
I have started yoga recently. Just once a week but it has become something that is just mine and I relish it. It’s my time. Lunch today felt gloriously the same.
I have been flat this past week. Yucky flat. Had a week last week where I was very teary. I don’t get like this often and it often shocks the pants off my husband when this happens (figuratively speaking before you all start conjuring up images of an unsympathetic pantless Michael whilst I weep!). One night last week I sat opposite my husband with tears rolling down my cheeks, he was lost. He couldn’t fix it and…. I couldn’t explain it. Not sure I am any clearer now (and that’s okay – I feel it really is). Today though, I do wonder, as my girls have gone back to school, after one beautiful Summer whether this likely has something (not all of it) to do with it. Watching them this morning, their school dresses are a little shorter, their shoe sizes have surpassed mine and I stand on a stool to do a ponytail. I miss them.….A LOT.. ……BUT……. I also am fully aware that juggling children in the holidays and running a business is not easy (surprise!) and I
(perhaps) beat myself up for not feeling like I do either of these jobs as well as I want to / dreamed of when I was a younger Mother, when there is too much to juggle.
Perfectly timed, I read, what I consider, the words of brilliance, by my friend, Kylie Lewis @OfKin on the weekend.
So as busy as this day was, I took some me time and I gave thanks for my tribe and to the Summer and to the husband who is learning that sometimes it can’t be ‘fixed’ and that sometimes, I just need a kiss and it’s confusing that maybe sometimes that doesn’t cut it either (you can always try a glass of wine too darling if you are reading this!).
I gave myself a massive dose of self care today and I can feel myself returning.
Sometimes I eat my lunch in my office, in a hurry. Sometimes, I am out in the big kitchen. Today, the phone didn’t ring and the lovely customers did not come to the door for my 15 minutes of ‘me’ (I am a believer in putting out what you need to the universe and …the universe listens). I set the enormous Relish Mama table just for me (oh yes I did!) and sat with a beautiful plate and a linen napkin – a treat on it’s own right there. Of course, I didn’t wipe my hands or mouth on linen napkin as that would mean I would have to wash it (good lord !) so I just placed it on my lap and looked at it every now and then and felt ‘happy’. This isn’t just about the lunch….. I am sure you all know that. This was about space. It was about getting some clarity. It was about self care and the continuation of more. It was about growth and it was absolutely about identifying that I was in a struggle and that I am cool with that…… as I take ownership and care for my emotional / beautiful self. It’s just a ride to get here sometimes, right ?
Yesterday, a gorgeous employee of mine had her first shift back. She came with some flowers and tomatoes from her garden (lucky …..eh?) This simple act of kindness was likely what inspired my lunch today, this blog post today and the celebration of my very own ‘Lunch at the shop’ ; The Art & Practice of the midday meal.
……………Just when I thought I would press ‘publish’ on this post……. I arrived home from work today to a gift on my doorstep. A bag of a beautiful friends ‘Mum’s plums’, a very thoughtful and divine posy of flowers and a card. This gift was an enormous hug and a reassurance of how opening up to friends can make you feel so normal and hopefully …..to make your much loved friends know that you have their back too. We are not super human. We all juggle A LOT. We need each other. We need to talk, to share and to practice self care above all else…………..this is my gift to myself as I grow, as I mature, as I keep loving me for being ….well….me.
Today I give thanks to amazing friends who don’t necessarily realise what gifts they are (You are amazing, amazing gifts…let me tell you), to husbands (pants on or off), to the children (I so adore) and to the gift of food, of a shared table and for keeping it real.
I love you all – truly madly, deeply – do
Eggplant dip with tomatoes from a lovely lady
Don’t be fooled – this is a 5 minute dish once the eggplant is all sexy, charred and smoky. This dip is so delightful. It also makes way more than you need for an indulgent lunch for one but it keeps beautifully and you will be grateful you have it.
2 large eggplants
60ml lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons sea salt
Place the eggplants over an open flame until they are charred all over and the skin starts to crack. Place the charred eggplants on a bowl of cold water to cool for 5-10 minutes. Peel off the skins. Open the eggplants up remove all of the seeds. Place in a colander to drain.
Place the eggplants, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt in a food processor and blend for a few minutes or until combined. The dip should be smooth but retain some texture without there being large chunks of eggplant throughout. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse just a couple of times.
Spoon the dip into a bowl or container.
On it’s own, this dip is heavenly, garnished with a sprinkling of sumac (oh how I loooooooove sumac), diced tomatoes and just a drizzle of olive oil. Or to serve it as part of a whizz banging lunch as mine was…………cut summer tomatoes in half lengthways (as always the end result depends on the quality of what you are putting in here) and place in a mixing bowl. Add basil leaves, a splash of olive oil and good splash of aceto balsimico. I then threw in some baby kale leaves and mixed this together by hand. Season with salt.
Spoon the eggplant dip across your plate and top generously with the glorious tomato salad. I finished it off with some Persian fetta that was in the fridge but mozzarella or goat’s cheese would be pretty awesome also.