Since November I’d practiced the art of not breaking down in public. Now, five months on, I’m exhaling what I hope will be my last breath of grief and inhaling a breath of the excitement that I used to have for life before we lost our second baby. This time it was ectopic but more on that when I’m not grappling with the looming pressures of Mother’s Day; a day that seems to make it impossible for the vast number of women who’ve lost their Mothers and those who’ve lost their babies. For the first time in months though I’ve woken up in the now rather than in November and I want to perfect the art of something new, and there’s no better place to start than with Eleanor Ozich’s Joy of Food.
The most pleasing facet of Eleanor Ozich’s Joy of Food cooking course is the morning rituals it’s given me while we work from home. Wondering how a bookseller works from home? Social Media Manager, baby. It’s just gone 7am, the sun’s shining into my kitchen, and my laptop’s in position so that I can begin my cooking class looking out to the Waitakere jungle and slice of ocean.
I have a beautifully bound notebook next to my laptop that my Mum bought for my 30th and it houses my favourite recipes. So far it has my neighbours recipe for pizza dough (even though he still kindly makes it for us), Table Manners podcast host Jessie Ware’s Italian meatballs, my favourite lawyer’s Italian mother’s anchovy pasta dish, and a coconut and leek soup that I cooked for Mum and Paul when they were here in January and I was trying my best to be a pescatarian.
Lesson 1 – Daily Rituals
If you learn how to feel continually calm and intentional throughout the day, these feelings will inevitably spill over into your time in the kitchen.Eleanor Ozich
The kitchen is where I am at my calmest. I pour myself a drink and cook one of the recipes from my limited culinary repertoire (hence my move to self-development on the hobs). If I’m pouring a red wine then I listen to the playlist that I created for when I’m painting vaginas, which you can enjoy here. If I’m pouring a gin I will listen to my hillbilly playlist, which I created when I hoped my husband would join me in dressing up as a cowboy, and you can enjoy that here.
Aside from the ritual of setting up my perfect learning environment, Eleanor asked us questions like, what can I do today that’s kind for others? This reignited a habit that I’d tried to enforce around November because I found myself turning into a bit of a cunt. Pregnant women would tell me how tired and miserable they were while I was bleeding out my second pregnancy and I wanted to slap them with my sanitary towel. So I decided I would do something kind every day to counteract that. I bought a spirulina juice for a barista who had a cold, for example.
Lesson 2 – creating a joyful cooking mindset
Choose not to think of cooking as another chore, but as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy one of life’s most exquisite pleasures.Eleanor Ozich
At the end of this lesson there was a recipe for Almond and Chia loaf, which you can find Eleanor’s recipe to below. It’s healthy and filling and I burnt it the second time because I turned the grill on rather than the oven. As Eleanor teaches us though it’s ok to fail, because that’s how we learn. A day later my husband made an apple crumble and he actually set that on fire, which was roll-about-the-floor hilarious. It was a good job the previous owners installed a fancy as fuck oven because that evening could have been less hilarious.
In light of the all messages I had received asking what’s the recipe? I asked Eleanor if it was ok to share and it is! So you’re welcome. Next week, healthy flapjack.
2 1/4 cups ground almonds
2 tbsp corn, rice or tapioca flour
3 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
4 free range eggs
2 tbsp chia seeds or flaxseeds
1 tbsp honey or maple
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C, and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. You could also pulse the ingredients together in a food processor. Tip the mixture into the loaf tin and spread out evenly.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly golden, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the loaf. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, before turning out onto a wooden board.
Will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Freezes well, simply slice before freezing.
Check out Eleanor Ozich’s website here – you’ll be all kinds of inspired.