I only recently got my driver’s licence. Just three months ago. For the last 34 years I had walked everywhere.
Most people thought it was absolutely absurd, to be my age and not know how to drive. You see my mother doesn’t know how to drive so I was not raised with a car. We just walked, and didn’t think anything of it. It was normal for us.
When I fell pregnant 7 years ago, it occurred to me that it might become important for me to learn to drive. So I took lessons with an instructor, and I truly sucked! Lesson after lesson, still terrible. My anxiety had a hold of me. I began to feel that perhaps it was just one of those things that I wasn’t capable of. A terrible curse I had inherited from my mother. Then my enormous stomach got in the way and I decided to stop trying.
So I carried on walking everywhere and didn’t think about again for many years.
Just this year I decided to take the plunge and have another go. In fact, my boss passed on the phone number of his driving instructor friend. That little scrappy piece of paper stayed in my bag for months before I finally made the call. I am not entirely sure what I was afraid of. Oh hang on yes I am, I was scared of failing. I wasn’t particularly comfortable with that. Anyway I had lessons and lo and behold I got my licence. I bought a car. I was terrified. But I drove everywhere nonetheless.
Since then I have been driving on freeways, in the city, in peak hour, in storms. And I love it. Although I am still terrified, I still cannot get over the fact that I finally achieved something I never thought possible. Yet earlier in the week it occurred to me that something was wasn’t quite right.
I realised that I miss walking.
It became clear to me how much I actually enjoy walking. How it helps to clear my head. How it energises me. So I decided to pop my headphones on and take a little walk, to soak up the sunshine. I ended up walking for over two hours. It was incredible! Then I woke up the following day and did exactly the same thing. It made me so happy. It was like I’d had an epiphany. It became so obvious how important it is for me to take time out to walk, and sort through all my thoughts. To daydream. To have the opportunity to think big.
I returned home and cooked myself this enormous pot of nourishment. I could feel every cell in my body saying thank you to me after each mouthful. It is super easy, once you get your head around the spice list. Alternatively you could just buy yourself some ready made ras el hanout spice blend and you’d be eating in about 20 minutes. I have been eating a bowl of this everyday now, when I get home from my long walk in the sun.
Spiced Vegetables and Buckwheat
This is vegan and gluten free. Clean eating at it’s best. If you think you’d need to bulk it out, couscous would be perfect. If you have dukkah around the house, a sprinkling of that would be rather good.
Inspired by a recipe from Yallateef.
- 1 cup buckwheat, rinsed and drained
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 brown onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 zucchini, roughly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- handful of olives (I used my favourite – Ligurian, but I am sure any would do)
- 2 tsp ras el hanout (recipe below)
- 1 tsp pomegranate mollasses
- 1 birds eye chill, finely diced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion and carrot and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and zucchini and stir. Leave for another few minutes.
- Add the spice blend, salt, and pomegranate molasses and stir. Add 3 cups of water and bring to the boil.
- Add the buckwheat and leave to simmer for a minute or two.
- Remove from heat and let stand uncovered for 15 minutes. The vegetables and buckwheat will absorb a lot of the water.
- Spoon into bowls and add a little diced chilli.
- Optional: Serve with couscous and a sprinkling of dukkah.
Serves 4 – 6.
Ras el hanout spice blend
Grind the following together in a mortar and pestle.
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cardamom seeds
- ¼ tsp hot paprika
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp ground allspice