One of the high-spirited (and what I call) ‘professional mums’ at my boy’s school exhales animated banter full of expletives and honesty in the mornings. I tell her that her dose of reality is like a second breakfast for me. She comically exudes what most of us are thinking; the temper inducing traffic, the unpalatable lack of child-gratitude for what mum does, the fading of an identity of our own amongst school commitments, after school activities, cooking, driving etc., in-laws and the constant challenge of remaining healthy. Oh, it is all quite draining isn’t it?
So I have made a few changes recently, some are embarrassingly simple but my goodness they have helped. In the mornings we sing rhymes together, the boy and I. We sing them all through the traffic and when the car is still, I use my hands too- you know to count the ducks and to identify ‘peter pointer’. As we get closer to the school, we turn loudly into Bollywood pop music and we belt out a few tunes and park up in thumping and throbbing car. Maybe I shouldn’t but out bounds a dancing toddler who then wants to run with his friends. It’s better than having to cajole him and then peel him off my body at the entrance isn’t it?
When I am cooking the lunch and dinner at 7am each morning and finishing off the cooking at 5pm, it is usually to the tune of ‘muuuum, muuum, mumma, I need to ask you a question’. Or ‘mum, can you play with me’. ‘Mumma come and have a look at this, mum, pleeeeaase, I said please so I’m a good boy, please can you do it now’. I really don’t like to tell him off for just wanting my time, so this week, the music went on. The floor piano has been rolled out onto the kitchen floor and equipped with instruments we have a little band playing whilst fresh chappati disco into the plate.
At bedtime I don’t like the silence. Especially when I am on my own. Usually the TV goes on and I fall asleep to some mindless soap starring beautiful actresses with questionable acting performances but the TV flickers on and I’m not sure how relaxing this is for my mind. My glasses stay on too, and these days my husband hasn’t been around to gently remove them. This week I took my glasses off, kept the lamp on and let Ravi Shankar’s music ease me into sleep.
The simple things. The healthy ways. The generous ways. The nourishing things. The happy things. The beautiful ways the smiling things. The spicy and colourful things like this vegetarian stir fry of wild rice, carrot and edamame beans.
Ingredients to serve 4-6
1 ½ cups of wild rice
3 large carrots, julienned
1 ½ cups of edamame beans
5-6 tsp. of creole spice mix (see below)
3-4 spring onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
The juice of one lime
200g of firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp. sesame seeds
2 tbsp. sesame oil
Salt to taste
For the creole spice mix;
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. hot paprika
1 tbsp. dried oregano
½ tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground pepper
Combine all of these ingredients together.
- Wash and then boil the rice for approximately 15 mins before rinsing well and removing the water.
- In a non- tick pan heat a couple of tbsp. of vegetable oil and cook the tofu until it is crisp and lightly browned.
- Heat the oil in a deep pan heat the sesame oil and add the sesame seeds, onion and garlic and sauté for a minute before adding the carrots.
- Sprinkle in the creole spice mix and lime juice before adding the tofu and the wild rice.
- Boil the edamame beans for 2-3 minutes and then drain them and add them to the stir fry.
I served this dish with hot and crisp Gyoza, with lots of chatter with my pal who visited this week.