Here I am. Me trying to find space again, words again, after all in my life has changed.
So the last year and a half I have been busy making a baby. Growing it, battling the hormons that made all the enjoyment related to food disappear for months, fighting tiredness and worry, and then, after Bimba arrived, trying to survive months of sleep deprivation. Food is yet another chore more often than not, and I do feel grateful for ready meals and not having to cook for the first time in my life.
It is hard work, and it is fun. In a way. At least, I think this is how I’ll remember it a few years down the line.
But now Bimba is discovering food other than eating me. I did manage to cook a couple of times and I have a couple of new recipes I want to write, but Bimba has not tasted them yet. I will post them here, and she will taste them, in due time.
I have already forgotten what her first taste of food was, probably an apple, maybe a peach. So I need to start recording, because I don’t want to lose it all. A few days ago I made her a beef stew. Experiments so far with meat had not been too successful: meatballs are too dry, ragu is difficult to swallow somehow, though she loves the taste. She gums a piece of chicken happily enough though. I put a pile of chunks of carrots and meat in front of her, and a little pot with the sauce to spoon, which I thought was out of reach. She grabbed the pot immediately and it landed on the floor. With the open side up and most of the sauce still in. I could not believe my beginner’s luck.
She then grabbed a chunk of meat with her tiny, greedy hands. She sucked it with that puzzled expression she always has when she tastes something new, then dropped it on the floor. She immediately went for more. She is a little cave man at the moment, crazy about proteins, meat and fish and yogurt. Pasta and potatoes are seen as useless plastic, more or less. She loves vegetables though and she loved the sauce of the stew, flavoured with her current favourites, bell pepper and tomato. We liked it as well, after adding a bit of salt. I loved that I would not have cooked it were it not for her.
Almost forgot: when I eventually sat down to eat that evening, much later, while I was telling Bimba’s dad how much she loved her stew, I finally raised my eyes. The walls and ceiling were covered in sauce splatters. Messy, happy times.
Today I took a break from being a mum and used some of the time to write this post, and some to make her some salt free pitta bread. I love doing things for her in my own me-time.
Bimba’s first stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, yellow
2 red bell peppers
500 g stewing beef (it was chunk steak), cut in large strips
1/2 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
1 can of peeled tomatoes
tiny hint of ground black pepper
Cut the onions in wedges and the carrots in chunks of unequal shape. Cut also the bell peppers in wedges. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Brown the meat, then add the chunks of vegetables. Brown for a few more minutes, then add the bay leaf, the tomatoes, paprika and pepper. Add some more water, close the pressure cooker and cook for about 30-45 minutes until the meat is tender but not completely melted (if you want the baby to be able to grab it). Let any excess water evaporate over high heat until you have a nice thick sauce with chunks of soft vegetables in it. It tastes better the day after.