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The sea, the sea…

It calls to me. Infrequent but persistent.

The feeling starts in my feet, a tingling prickle of energy, before i know it my shoes are on and i’m heading East. The electricity slowly creeps up my nerves until i feel a positive pull at my stomach, lurching me continually onwards. To the coast, to the waves, to the saline, beating winds.

When i get like this, its all too easy to block out the external, intermediate environment.  I was largely unaware that i wasn’t walking down a quiet country track but in fact striding alongside heavy articulate lorries and speeding family cars. My focus was on getting to the promenade, of getting that first real lick of sea air.

I was hot under my thick jumper and mac, my thighs were pounding from the pace i had been oblivious to. My heart similarly drumming from the exertion but the pull was climaxing, my breathe bated for what was imminent. And then i turned the corner…

The sun, effervescent amidst the velvet grey clouds, beamed that little bit brighter. A fresh peal of wind carried a roll of enormous waves and i was hit with the sheer magnificence of it all. Lungs full of majestic air, hair and face stripped clean, mind blown free of cobwebs, free from half thought dialogues and half remembered ideas. Spirit completely renewed.

And i waited. I waited for those waves to crash over me, for the spray to embrace me, but it never did. And it hasn’t yet. In all my years i have been waiting to be overcome by that phenomenon. I guess i’ll keep waiting. I know it will happen one day soon, just as its mean’t to. Just as life happens exactly how and when its supposed to.

After all this, after this experience and hundreds more like it in the coming months. When you return home, aching but infinitely grateful for everything that is, there are few things more pleasing than a hearty dish bubbling in the oven. So without further ado, i present the sheperdess pie, because really, the sheperd would have been far too busy tending to the flocks and it would certainly have been his good lady who crafted this beauty.

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(Serves 4, Vegan, Gluten Free)

  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Tarragon, chopped/ torn
  • 1 + 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 + 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Red Onion, diced
  • 1 stalk Celery, sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Puy Lentils, cooked but still with a bite
  • 1 Carrot, sliced into 1/4″ disks
  • 1 Beetroot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup Red Cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup Green Cabbage, shredded
  • 4 Broccoli florets, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes (or equivalent fresh)
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine (optional but worth it)
  1. Preheat your oven to 180c, lightly oil a crock pot/ medium sized casserole dish
  2. Chop up the sweet potatoes and steam/ boil until just tender, drain well and allow to cool slightly
  3. Mash the potatoes with the tarragon, salt, 1 tbsp of coconut oil and 2 tbsp yeast, set to one side
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet/ pan and add the onion and celery, cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat until soften
  5. Reduce the heat slightly and add the garlic, carrot and broccoli and cook for a further 5 minutes
  6. If using the wine add now and cook for a further 5 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients and cook on a medium/ low heat for 8-10 minutes
  7. Transfer this mix to your pot/ dish and smooth over with a spoon
  8. Carefully spoon the mash on top, sprinkle the remaining yeast on top and a wee pinch more salt and pop in the oven for 30 minutes, until the juice is bubbling up the sides nicely

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