I like to think I’m not such an anxious mum, I leave M free to pretty much explore his territory and try not to limit him too much; in fact if you asked my in-laws they’d probably tell you I have the most casual attitude to restrictions on a child they’ve ever come across – but then they’re Turkish so take that as you will. Yet there are a few things I’m paranoid about: windows, stairs and anaphylactic shock. The former two probably because of our third floor apartments door opening out onto stairs and being bars-on-the-window-free; the latter is because I know, have witnessed first hand, how fatal the condition can be. Because of this fear, despite having used a baby-led weaning approach with M and food, we have restricted his access to nuts, starting the introduction slowly with the least allergen (hazelnuts/pistachios) leading to this weekend when we finally allowed him a peanut.
I’ve been so anxious about this day coming, yet looking forward to it so much! A huge peanut butter lover, restricting it from my diet to ensure it didn’t make its way into mini-me’s hands has been a struggle the past few months! We erred on the side of caution, of course, and smeared it round M’s lips on day one – careful not to let him ingest any and watched for signs of reaction. There were none, thank you God, so yesterday we threw in our lot and gave him a spoonful to taste. Not only did he not react in the slightest, he seems destined to follow in my footsteps as peanut butter lover extraordinaire – he loved the stuff! (crunchy, sugar-free, whole fat, as it should be)
By the time I put him to bed last night, I’d forgotten the days peanut butter excitement until two hours later when he woke up with a scream. He never wakes screaming. Ever. As I picked up my son, my heart was pulsating. He wouldn’t keep still in my arms but as the light flickered on his squirming face, his eyes seemed to be swollen and red and my heart stopped pulsating. I have honestly never felt fear as I felt in that second. There’s no way to describe the emotions which overcame me in the seconds it took to keep him still enough to look again and to realise it had been just a trick of the light. I never again want to experience that pain, so strong, so cutting that even now as I type tears are filling up my eyes. All I could think in those seconds was “Allah, please, no!” Overcome with fear my son was having a reaction I couldn’t control, I knew there was nowhere to turn to but God.
It turned out to be teething pain which woke M from his sleep. The entire night he was up in my arms, poor baby, so uncomfy, so needing of me. Being a mother is the most humbling of professions and last night I re-learnt this once more. There is no end to our fear, no limit to our dreams. InshAllah M will sleep sweeter dreams tonight.
Olive Oil Artichokes with Broad Beans, Carrots and Peas (Zeytinyağlı Enginar)
I’d never seen an artichoke until I came here and in the five plus years I’ve lived here, have never once bought the pre-prepared veggie to cook in my kitchen. Few food stuffs intimidate me, but olive oil artichokes were one which did. Until now! ha! G went to the bazaar alone yesterday and returned with a bag full of pre-popped broad beans, and prepared artichoke centres leaving me with two choices: Stick them in the freezer ’til my sister-in-law comes around, or grab the bull by the horns and get cooking. If like me you’ve been intimidated by this dish, please don’t be anymore! It’s so easy, actually!
Two handfuls of broad beans
1 medium carrot, cubed
A handful of fresh peas
Juice from one whole lemon
2 tablespoons flour
5 glasses of water (1 pint)
1 glass of olive oil
Mix the flour with the water and lemon juice and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to ensure it doesn’t clump.
Whisk in the olive oil
Add the broad beans and carrots, reduce heat to a simmer.
After five minutes, add the artichoke centres to the pan, ensuring the water covers all the veg. Add the peas.
Simmer for around 45minutes until the vegetables are tender, not soft, and the sauce has thickened.
To serve, fill each artichoke with a mixture of beans, carrots and peas and spoon the sauce over the top. Sprinkle with dill and enjoy!