Week 36/2021: vegerama!

Week 36/2021: Week of 6 September 2021

What did I want to do better this week?

Be more mindful and observant, and start to develop my capacity to explore.

So, how did that go then?

I guess this a learning game, right?

Two gulls on a rock at the beach
Gulls on the beach

21 for 2021 update

Vegetable of the week (thing 2)

Thing 2 is to choose a different vegetable every week from Alice Zaslavsky’s book In Praise of Veg and make a recipe from the book using that vegetable. It was time to get back to this work. I’ve missed a few weeks of cooking a new vegetable although, to be fair, I have made some of the recipes I’d already tried over the last couple of weeks and veggie recipes from other cookbooks so I haven’t been completely veggie free.

This week Jerusalem artichokes were in the shop so I decided to make the Roasted Tomato and Jerusalem Artichoke soup (page 306). This is another vegetable I know nothing about. In fact, one time I thought I was buying ginger and the lady at the shop asked me if I really wanted one Jerusalem artichoke or if I was actually after ginger. I imagine that people don’t usually buy just one of these so when someone does, it could well be because they think they’re buying ginger. I’m guessing I’m not the first person to have ever made this mistake.

Indeed, Alice says to make sure you are actually buying Jerusalem artichokes and not ginger.

This is what a kilo of Jerusalem artichokes looks like.

A kilo of Jerusalem artichokes
A kilo of Jerusalem artichokes

The name has nothing to do with Jerusalem. It comes from the French word for sunflower (girasol), which might explain their other name, sunchokes, and they aren’t actually artichokes at all. They are a tuber.

According to Alice, Jersusalem artichokes are rich in inulin, which is a prebiotic that is good for cultivating healthy gut bacteria, but they produce a lot of gas in doing so. To counter this, you can add a form of acid when you cook them, which is what Alice has done in this recipe, with a hefty amount of tomatoes.

This was a pretty easy recipe. Roast the sunchokes, tomato, garlic and sage, add some veggie stock and cook in the overnight till everything is soft and pureeable. This took longer than I expected, so I think if I were to do this again, I’d cut up the tubers smaller and roast them for longer. I did see that Alice suggested using sunchokes that were not super firm, which would also reduce the gas, and I imagine reduce the cooking time too. But you can only get what the shop has, and the ones in the shop were pretty firm.

Sunchokes, sage and tomatoes roasting
Roasting the sunchokes and tomatoes

Anyway it all worked out in the end and the soup was yummy. The acidity from the tomatoes gave it a nice tang but didn’t overpower the dish. Next time I will have to make my own veggie stock too and start to use the leftover bits of veggies that end up in the compost most of the time.

Roast Jerusalem artichoke and tomato soup toped with sage leaves
Fancy sage leaf garnish

The Change Journal (thing 4)

I didn’t work on the mindfulness chapter of the Change Journal but I made a small bit of progress on the “Pitch Yourself” chapter.

Grow some vegetables in the garden bed (thing 6)

On my way back from the chook yard on Saturday morning, I decided to have a look at how my veggie planter box was doing. I’d spoken to a friend a couple of weeks ago and he’d been telling me how well his garden was growing and I felt a little guilty that he was doing all this and I hadn’t even managed to keep a one-metre square bed alive.

I opened up the cover and, to my surprise, there was stuff in there growing! There was a cavolo nero stalk that is probably three or four years old but somehow seems to be able to sprout new growth, another kale variety I think I planted earlier in the year, and some parsley. All doing quite fine without my attention, thank you very much.

A weedy vegetable bed
Many months of untended growing

There was also a bunch of weeds, which were relatively easy to remove. So now I’ve cleared it all out again, saved most of what’s in there, and am ready to put something else in to take the place of the weeds.

A weeded vegetable bed with parsley and two different types of kale
That’s better!

Kramstable’s videos (thing 8)

I did some more work on the video. It’s coming together slowly.

My mother’s story (thing 9)

I didn’t visit my mum this week. They day I normally go was super wet, cold and windy and I did not want to go out.

One of the things I’m trying to do is find the exact location of my grandparents’ farms in north west Tasmania. They moved about a bit when my mother was young so she can’t remember exactly where they were. I did some online searching and found the land titles of all three properties but this hasn’t shed much light on my problem because the roads aren’t named on the diagrams. So I’m not sure where to go now.

The Compelling Frame course (thing 11)

I was starting to lose track of everything I was learning so I made a one-page cheat sheet of the key takeaways of the lessons in the course so far.

I watched two more videos. The first one was about balance and tension, which I found very hard to understand and will need to go back to that over time. The second one was about patterns and repetition, and how the impact in a photograph comes from breaking a pattern, not the pattern itself.

I might be able to finish this course by the end of September. That would be good. Another thing crossed off the list. Not that it’s supposed to be a thing to cross off a list. I’m supposed to be learning from it, not just watching the videos as quickly as I can for the sake of watching them. And I am learning. Slowly.

Brainsparker (thing 17)

I worked on module 9’s third workout, which looked at five ways to be a better innovator. The one that caught my eye was “stimulation”, which is about exposing yourself to new things, places, ideas and people. I think this ties in well with the work I’m trying to do on being a better observer and exploring more of that yellow energy from last week.

21 for 2021 summary

  • Things completed this week: 0
  • Things completed to date: 3 (1, 18, 20)
  • Things I progressed: 7 (2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 17)
  • Things in progress I didn’t progress: 6 (5, 7, 10, 13, 14, 16)
  • Things not started: 5 (3, 12, 15, 19, 21)

What was the best thing about this week?

I was talking to Kramstable during the week and somehow ended up talking about a career choice I had been considering in high school but that my mother had discouraged. He asked why I hadn’t done it. I said I didn’t have any of the skills to work in that profession. It wasn’t even a hobby. He replied, “That’s what training is for”.

I mean, we all know this, right? If we want to do something and we don’t know how, we go and learn it. We don’t just abandon it because we can’t do it yet. How can I be so oblivious to something that is so obvious to a 14-year-old? And why was 14-year-old me so terrified of trying new things that she gave up before she started? What lessons did that teach her, and how did that affect her willingness to try new, difficult things as a adult? (Don’t answer that.)

What didn’t go so well / What do I want to do better next week?

I’m still working on trying to put my observation/mindfulness practice into place. I’m struggling to remember to do it, but I guess that happens with any new habit, doesn’t it?

What did I learn this week?

I photographed this cool scene on Friday afternoon.

Anticrepuscular rays over the beach near sunset
Friday sunset time

I had no idea what these black rays were because normally I see sun rays coming down from the sun at sunrise, and these were expanding upwards and the sun was in the completely opposite part of the sky. It was close to sunset. So I googled it and found out that the rays I could see are called anticrepuscular rays, which converge at the anti solar point (ie opposite to the sun).

What I’m reading this week

  • Mindfulness-Integrated CBT for Well-Being and Personal Growth by Bruno A. Cayoun
  • Writing True Stories by Patti Miller
  • Outrageously In Love by Jen Morris

I never used to read romance novels but I’d followed Jen for many years in her previous life and admired her courage as she made a huge change in her life and became an author. So I guess now I read romance novels.

The cover of Outrageously in Love by Jen Morris, a woman and a man seated at a table playing a board game
Outrageously in Love

Habit tracker

  • Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 5): 7
  • Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 5): 0
  • Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 5): 0
  • Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 4
  • Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
  • Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
  • Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
  • Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 5
  • Days I shut my computer down before 9.45 (Goal = 6): 7
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