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 thoughts on “JUST AN IDEA

  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!!!!!

  2. 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

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. 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!

  9. 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!) 🙂

  10. 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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