14 December 2015
Don't call it a Dream, Call it a plan
Winter has arrived.
I’m so happy. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe with words. When it rains, or even drizzles, you’ll find me glued to the window, tracking raindrops and entering into a kind of meditation, thoughts of what dishes I’d make for the wintry weekend ahead already racing through my mind.
I decided to make carbonnade, which is a Belgian meat and beer stew, shakshouka (eggs poached in a tomato, pepper and onion sauce), and my amazing stepmother’s wonderful eggplant moussaka.
I enjoy cooking in wintry weather. With the windows closed, heady aromas waft through the house from the kitchen. But other than the great aromas, there’s something very relaxing about cooking in winter, and I start daydreaming as I chop the vegetables.
“Follow your Dreams,” is what the world tells you – on signs, in ads, in movies such as Jerry Maguire. I have really internalized this.
So what’s my dream? Actually, I have a few, not too many, but they are “weighty” dreams. My biggest dream without a doubt is to publish a cookbook. I started thinking about writing a cookbook after my father died. The first years were difficult and painful. After you lose a person who is so dear to you, you hold onto anything relating to him. Clothes, glasses, pictures, memories, and so on.
Because everything in our family revolved around food, I have many memories involving food: from happy times and sad times, from events and family occasions. My father loved to entertain. Ever since I can remember there was always a large table laden with delicacies. My father would sit at the head of the table, but not before pouring himself a J&B whisky and adding lots of ice and coke. He would fill his glass to the top, and every time he spilled a drop, he’d add more whisky. After a sip or two, he’d be ready to sit down and eat.
I felt that I had to write down all the recipes of the food he liked, the food we loved preparing when we had guests, and slowly but surely, I’ve added recipes for food I enjoyed as a child and a teenager. This turned into a family cookbook packed with stories and memories.
So I’ve been working on it for 8 years, sitting with relatives, uncles, aunts, in order to recreate flavors and recipes… This book escaped from my stomach and my innards. I gave this project my all, especially mentally. Without realizing it, I went off on a kind of trip that began in my childhood and ended with my father’s death, but then I added a few more chapters to prove to myself that life does go on, even with the deep pain of losing the person most dear to my heart.
They say that dreams come true, and I hope that my dream will too.
Eggplant and Meat Moussaka
4 large eggplants
600 g minced beef
Bunch of parsley, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
½ tsp sweet paprika
200 g tomato paste
½ tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1½ cups warm water
Slice each eggplant lengthways into 1 cm-thick slices. Grill each slice on a grill pan with a little oil, on both sides. Do so with all the slices.
Combine all the remaining ingredients, not including the sauce. Take once slice of eggplant and top with a little mince mix. Roll the eggplant and place directly in the baking dish. Do so with the remaining slices, filling up the dish.
The Sauce: Combine all the ingredients and pour evenly over the rolled eggplant. Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C for 40 minutes.
wonderful life by black