Hello 2017 – and hello to all of you – sorry I’m horribly late.
Everything’s gone by so quickly – Christmas, New Year, delicious food – and I’ve let them slip away because, with time, the thought of recording them all has become more and more tiresome. A job for a long afternoon of nothingness, and how often do those come about?
Anyway, I’m now on a train on my way home from London and I feel the urge to write. Not quite a long afternoon, but it’ll do.
I know the middle of January is hardly the time for yearly reviews, but I do want to talk a bit about my 2016 (wow, doesn’t that seem a while ago?). Now contrary to popular opinion, I liked 2016. Political strife and numerous celebrity deaths aside, it was actually quite good, and without sounding too unbearable, I think I might have learned some important things.
Here they are:
- 9-5 (who am I kidding – 9-6) jobs are, for the most part, intolerably shit. Well, in any case I’ve yet to come across one that I’ve loved. I know that’s a very millennial thing to say, but if I’ve learned anything from quitting my job at a (now defunct) multi-million dollar start-up, it’s that being able to work in my slippers is one of life’s greatest gifts. And I don’t think I could ever go back.
- Speaking of which, I now know with 100% certainty that people are willing to pay me for my writing. For someone whose sole aim in life is to be able to work from a Venetian café or Parisian kitchen at one point or another, this is huge. It means I can live anywhere in the world and survive.
- I’m actually, possibly, quite good at Anthropology. In comparison to History anyway, which I never ever truly enjoyed (unless it was to do with early medieval asceticism – I LOVE that stuff). Anyway, it’s nice to be able to debate with people in tutorials and to have a positive relationship with Foucault.
- On a soppier note, I’ve learned that I absolutely couldn’t have done any of this without Dom– the one person who knows when to tell me to get a grip and, rather marvellously, when to hand me a glass of wine. He’s also the only reason I’m now pursuing a career as a food anthropologist, and for that I’m eternally grateful.
And my hopes for 2017? More of the same, with a few more adventures thrown in. Perhaps this will be the year I move abroad, or blog more, or maybe even solve my procrastination issues (actually, wifi-less trains help). But to be honest, I’ve never been more uncertain about what the future holds, and there’s a sort of liberation in that.
One last thing. In the spirit of the New Year, here’s a recipe for something healthy (almost vegan in fact) that’s also surprisingly delicious. I say surprising, because I’ve always viewed cauliflower with the same level of suspicion reserved for wholewheat pasta and sliced brown bread. However, I’m pleased to say that these are wonderful – tender, charred, sweet. Served with homemade mango chutney, sag aloo and a cucumber yoghurt sauce, and they’re heaven.
Spice-Rubbed Cauliflower Steaks
1 large head cauliflower
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (or swap all the spices for 3tsp garam masala)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Remove the leaves and trim the stem end of the cauliflower, leaving the core intact. Using a large knife, cut the cauliflower from top to base into three 3/4-inch-thick “steaks.” Season each steak with salt and pepper on both sides. (Reserve any loose florets for another use.)
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the cauliflower steaks until golden brown and charred, about 3 minutes on each side. Gently transfer the steaks to a baking sheet.
Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ginger, cumin, and turmeric. Brush or spoon the mixture onto the cauliflower steaks.
Roast in the oven until tender, about 15 minutes. Garnish with coriander or parsley and serve with brown rice, sag aloo and raita.