It’s a funny thing, this Calvinist work ethic / guilt thing. I handed over my last job for the year on Thursday, but – so accustomed to the discipline of sitting down at my desk at 6am (or earlier) every day – I’m at a bit of a loss. I’ve decided to spend the holidays on what may be an outrageous undertaking: I’m going to do a coffee table book and try to get it published next year. A mixture of food stories and photographs, foodie porn, if you will. Is this a ridiculous idea? Never mind, if nothing else, it will be a nice thing to give my daughter when she has her own kitchen one day, and I am having tremendous fun making up the pages with all my old photos.

In between playing with my book pages, I cook and bake. We’ve a vegetarian lady coming for lunch today. She’s a chef and I’ve never met her, so I’m a bit nervous. I’ve done an asparagus, olive, cheddar and spinach tart, which I’m trying not to nibble on.

I also did a pumpkin gumbo, a large pot, which I did a sneak pre-taste of last night, ‘mighty rad gumbo’ as the Little Feat song goes… Hope it passes muster …

I used a recipe found here, left out the tofu and substituted pumpkin for the okra; and added cannellini beans for bulk.



60 Comments Add yours

  1. I hear you Cin – i am one week into my holiday (of sorts) and yesterday was the first day that i could sit in my lounge – LOUNGE and feel good about “lounging”. Today is a pearler of a day here – my intention is to form a close bond with my pool lounger ……… i have turned into a lounge act ………… Fab!

    PS; I LOVE THE BOOK IDEA ….. but you could also just join the lounge society and become a “lounger” …………… shut up! Janice!!!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m keen to hit the pool lounger, but the gardener may blanch. Enjoy your day, Jan. xxx

  2. just as well I’m not there or that tart would have a me-teeth size piece missing 😉

    enjoy the lunch, if she’s a chef then you two should get on very well

    1. theonlycin says:

      It smells lovely, Sidey. I hope we do get on, I like her husband a lot.

  3. u’re killing me w these pics! i’m starving

  4. nina says:

    I think a coffee table book is a rad idea!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Not recipes, just stories, think it could work?

  5. souldipper says:

    Off you fly, you remarkably talented woman!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you so much, Hon!

  6. You absolutely have to publish the book! Not sure if it will be the same when you get around to it but getting an ISBN number is MUCH cheaper here in Mauritius than back home in SA so let me know if you want the details.
    You are going to share the tart recipe hey… shew but I am cheeky today *blush*
    🙂 Mandy

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sure thing, it’s terribly easy.

      Puff pastry (I have no shame using store-bought)
      Spinach – cooked (I used a bag of baby spinach from our greengrocer) and all water squeezed out.

      1 tin white asparagus.
      1 packet pitted black olives.
      a cup of grated extra strong cheddar.
      salt and ground black pepper, ground nutmeg.

      4 eggs, whisked with a dash of cream.

      Line your dish with puff pastry.
      Place the spinach in a layer, then the asparagus, then the olives.
      Cover with cheese.
      Mix the seasoning into the egg/cream mixture and pour into dish, making sure to cover all the cheese.
      Bake at 180C until done. Mine took about 40 minutes.
      Enjoy with a leafy green salad.

      1. Fantastic! Thanks so much!

      2. theonlycin says:

        You’re welcome 🙂

  7. how about a book with cooking tips and NOT just recipies.

    Such as easy and workable substitutes, how to cook several things at once, what to do with cheese sauce that goes lumpy etc?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the good idea, Sidey 😀

  8. Babygirl says:

    Pumpkin gumbo… very unique. I enjoyed reading this post

  9. Rosemary says:

    What an excellent idea – I would love to see your book with your beautiful poetry, funny stories and lovely food.
    Have a great holiday and enjoy your work for pleasure.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Rosemary, you too. Look forward to seeing what you cook up over the hols.

  10. leigh says:

    Little Feat, now there’s a thing 🙂 Enjoy.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Penning a blog about Frank Zappa, he’s like Kevin Bacon in film; connected to everyone in music. Remember the Smoke on the water connection? Well, the connection with Little Feat is just unbelievable! Hell, maybe it would be a boring post, so go look here if you’re interested:

      1. leigh says:

        Fascinating, even more so that they’re still creating. Dixie Chicken is an all time fave – and Zappa is, well, Zappa.

      2. theonlycin says:

        Did you hear Captain Beefheart died 😦

      3. leigh says:

        Yeah 😦 A milepost.

      4. theonlycin says:

        We’re getting old 😦

  11. Baglady says:

    Lovely idea about the book. What is pumpkin gumbo?

    1. theonlycin says:

      A sort of spicey stew 🙂

  12. granny1947 says:

    I think it is a brilliant idea…you have such a special way with your stories.
    Now I am going to copy that tart recipe for when the Frog eventually visits!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’ve mailed it to you. Love you. xxx

  13. Love the veggie dishes – yum! I think your book idea is fabulous, but then I’ve said that to you before, hey?
    Sunshine xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Have a fabulous Friday, Sunshine. xxx

  14. Tes says:

    I am so excited about your book. It sounds so amazing. I’ve been writing books,too, but get serious just 6 months ago.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Sounds interesting Tes, would love to hear more about your books.

  15. aardvarkian says:

    Put me down for a copy when it’s ready 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks James *heart*

  16. Count Czardas says:

    I think the book is a thrilling idea and will e-mail further thoughts over the weekend.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Oh thank you, Czardas, would value your input.

  17. What a tart! (You have to imagine that in a Vinnie Jones hard man accent…)

    Seriously, though, this will get me out of a deep hole on Saturday when we have our Christmas lantern party.

    Are you going to put details of your book online so we can purchase one?

    1. theonlycin says:

      Let’s just get the draft copy done, Kate, LOL!

  18. nrhatch says:

    Hmm . . . where should I start?
    With that fabulous tart?
    Or with your fab idea for a book?
    With photos worth a second (and third) look.
    Or with the free time you now face?
    Having a bit of pondering time is no disgrace.
    Enjoyed this post, from first to last.
    Now, I need to eat . . . it’s time to break fast.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Ha, you witty thing you 😉

  19. Jenna says:

    I’m definitely checking out that pumpkin gumbo recipe. It sounds too fascinating to pass up. And I say, go for that book! Your photos are gorgeous, and even if it doesn’t get published (though I don’t doubt you can do it =), creativity is good in and of itself.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re right Jenna 😀

  20. slpmartin says:

    Oh…thanks for the recipe…I never know what to make that’s unique for my vegetarian friends. 😉

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s a real goodie, Charlie, my husband just asked if I’d make it again today 🙂

  21. valbrussell says:

    Darling Cindy, with the way your pen drips wit this is a brilliant idea. Do it. I will buy it. I will promote it. I will even vlog it. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      You’re just such a star Val!

  22. Well, Cin – it all look great! HOWEVER, as far as your “pumpkin gumbo,” what you made is “pumpkin stew.” Take it from a girl who grew up in cajun country, USA. Gumbo is gumbo only if it has okra in it! “Gumbo” is the cajun word for “okra,” so you can’t really call it gumbo without it! Along with a rich roux, okra adds a thickness to the dish, which is usually served in soup bowls, over rice, and with healthy sprinkling of filé, which is also added when cooking. Filé also adds some thickening qualities.

    I’ll be preparing seafood gumbo for our Christmas dinner this year. My Dad’s recipe. I love preparing it, because I always feel my Daddy standing near me, peeking over my shoulder, making sure I get the roux browned JUST RIGHT!!

    When your coffee table is published, I WANT A COPY!!! Sounds great – you go, girl!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for the lesson, Paula, I do hope you will have Sonya share your seafood gumbo recipe with us!

  23. Liane says:

    That book sounds like a marvelous idea, Cin! It would certainly be a timeless gift to your daughter. Could become something passed down from generation to generation, which always only sounds REALLY cool once it gets to the fourth or so generation haha (something which is a bit hard to really imagine when it is brand spanking new!) 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Wonder if the world will still exist by that time, Lee, best not to dwell on that too much, hey?

  24. gospelwriter says:

    Working like crazy and then suddenly free is, well, crazy-making… What a great idea, the coffee table book. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, I’m slowly adjusting to the luxury of leisure 🙂

  25. Count Czardas says:

    I too have a Calvinist work ethic, only mine is more Calvin and Hobbes than it is John Cauvin.

  26. I usually get bored easily and close the tab but i think you have a unique blog. Grats !

  27. wow! you have a wonderful idea in sharing a recipe of this pumpkin gumbo..how about a book for cooking tips?.. its nice when you put also a full video on it!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Working on the book, the video will have to wait 🙂

  28. I am not certain regarding the outlay, it’s a bit dull. but i want it to be very minimalistic and not have too significantly shade as we will all post pictures in a variety of styles. so i feel thats better

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