He was standing beside the taxi. In one hand he held his suitcase, in the other, he held my waist. Tears were streaming down my cheeks as I coarsely said goodbye. “I want to be your husband one day!” he said as he wiped the salt water from my cheeks. He looked torn, neither of us wanted him to go. Lifting my chin to his, he delicately kissed my lips before entering the cab. I stood on the footpath watching as the car disappeared down the street. I was alone, again.
Since we have been together, our relationship has been a roller-coaster of ambiguity. It goes hand-in-hand being in love with a foreigner. In total, we have been apart for more than a year, but it doesn’t get any easier. We thought being in Australia would be simpler for us to be together. Perhaps that would have been true, but he found work in the remote Australian outback. Out of the year, we will only see one another for a total of six months.
Hugging my sides, I returned to the house and nursed my misery over a pot of herbal tea. It occurred to me, with my partner’s absence I had complete freedom to do anything I wished.
When you suddenly have the time to do anything, either two things happen. The first is that you can waste the opportunity completely on empty pursuits. Or with the overwhelming pressure to be more productive, you overfill your calendar with appointments. There is something very necessary in finding a balance between the two.
Perhaps it is my ‘inner child’ but I initially felt a sense of mischief. I slept in the middle of the bed, savoring the feel of the linen on my skin. I wore his socks while dancing to my favorite music and I went to a ball on a “school night”. To find balance, I made the choice to make the most from our time apart. I made a commitment to become the best version of myself. To broaden my knowledge I started a small course on photography. I made new friends, I created a regular exercise regime, and I prepared wholesome meals; this quinoa salad bowl is one of them.
The quinoa, fresh watercress, and lightly blanched asparagus are devoured with a delightful crunch. Although the dish is utterly delicious on its own, two lovers steal the show; spring peas and mint dance softly on the palate, and the creaminess from the feta creates balance with the subtle tones of cumin lingering in the almond dukkah.
It’s seasonal, wholesome and it leaves you feeling satisfied.
There is something delicious about creating an intention. Whether it’s to eat healthier, to explore your passions or to simply make time to cherish yourself. What would you do with a month to yourself?
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 bunches of asparagus, chopped in half.
- 1 cup of spring peas
- 2 avocados, mashed with a fork
- 1 bunch of watercress or spinach, rinsed
- 200g sheep / goat's milk feta, cut into 1cm squares
- 1 cup mint, rinsed
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 4 eggs, poached (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. On a baking tray, roast the almonds, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and ground cumin for 5 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Once roasted, remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the nuts and seeds to cool.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan over a medium heat, bring two cups of water to the boil. Add the quinoa and cook for 20 minutes, or until al dente.
- Bring a separate saucepan filled with water to the boil over a medium heat. Once the water is boiling, blanch the asparagus and spring peas until bright green for 2 minutes. Allow the asparagus and spring peas to cool in a bowl of cold water.
- Add the roasted almonds, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and ground cumin to the peppercorns, sea salt flakes and chilli flakes. Pulse in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped. Put aside while you prepare the salad.
- In four bowls, divide the watercress or spinach, quinoa, asparagus, peas, mashed avocado and feta. Sprinkle with the almond dukkah and serve with a squeeze of a lemon and poached egg, if desired. Bon Appétite 🙂