Sickness and exhaustion from my toddler’s nighttime antics have descended and taken over everything. My brain emits nothing more than a faint hum, reminiscent of the white noise that used to be produced by television sets before they commenced on their eternal entertainment existence.
I’m in no doubt how closely linked my mind, body and essence (soul? Spirit?) are. Rolling in negative thoughts quickly slows my mood, practising good principles of living (kindness, patience, love, self care) creates a lightness I feel from the very centre of my body. And physical exhaustion and sickness dull my senses, both physical and emotional, until I feel that everything’s under deep, dark water — heavy, weighed down and isolated.
The solution’s as immutable as the problem. Each day needs to be created from scratch: self care, refusing any nonessential activities, accepting any and all offers of help (a particularly difficult one for me), meditating both in company and alone, being useful to others to help distract myself, remembering that my thinking is compromised when exhausted, and the most important rule to follow is not to take myself so damn seriously… And repeat… And repeat…
It passes. It always passes. Sickness will fade and my son will sleep. And even in these days there are long moments of laughter and light — always as a result of time spent with others; particularly with those I’m coming to cherish as I risk opening my heart to the world.
Meals like this are perfect for these days. Pan roasted pumpkin with chilli and garlic is offset by a gentle, creamy goats cheese and tossed through pasta. It’s incredibly simple, while offering flavours that both comfort and dance. I sometimes squeeze sausages out of their skins into little balls and add to the pumpkin for the last few minutes of cooking. In other seasons, I exchange the pumpkin for zucchini and cook for half the time. Use the recipe as suits you best. I know I do.
- 800g pumpkin
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 – 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped, to taste
- ½ – 1 chilli finely chopped, to taste
- 400g spaghetti
- 4 tbl sp soft goat’s cheese (I use Meredith Dairy’s goat cheese infused in olive oil, but any soft goat cheese will do)
Chop the pumpkin into bite sized pieces, (very) roughly 1.5cm squared
Melt the butter and olive oil in a frying pan
Add the pumpkin, garlic and chilli and cook, covered, over a medium low heat for 10 minutes
Turn the pumpkin and cook for another 10 minutes, until golden and tender when poked with a fork
In the meantime, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions
Place a tablespoon of goats cheese per person into the bottom of each bowl
Drain the pasta and mix into the goats cheese
Add the cooked pumpkin to each bowl and serve