Morning Grace

 

(Mostly) Every sunday I stand here,

In awe.

Light reaches in;

Unbounded,

Touching glass.

Our deeper rhythms – we call out, kneel, turn.

Again in this place,

A rushing love.

A steady reminder.

A collective prodding.

Faithful arms are reaching out, down

God is bringing

To me, who longingly needs it;

This welcome I am receiving.

Slowly.

Again and again.

It’s adding to my self.

A space carved out where I can sing and remember

A praise that has always been,

A praise that abides within.

greater than

Last week, I was sitting down on a large velvety lounge in the Opera House Playhouse. Some spare time came and I was quick to look at the booklets given to our group on the show we were about to watch “The School of Wives“, translated and produced by Bell Shakespeare company, written by french playwright Molière. I learnt of how promising this play would be – humorous and entertaining in thematic considerations, subversive in dialogue, and intriguing in characterization.

Flicking through the pages my eyes stopped in it’s tracks. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it” I read.

Not sure if it referred to the protagonists attempts at wedding a women he had confined to a Nunnery in the hope to raise a perfect wife or the initial unresponsiveness to Moliere’s play-writing in French society.

But in a seemingly busy and unending week for me, it was a wonderful quote to consider and a personal tibit of wisdom to remind me of working hard in the present to receive rewards in the near future.

awakening



to those small surprising acts.
coming home,
to sushi prepared by my mother.
waking late,
to the garden gathering up soft and pale lilly pillies.
stomach turning,
to the buttery, bitter crackle of Lebanese pastry bought by my father.

morning flame

The past week I’ve been contemplating this passage in scripture;

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.

Psalm 104:33-35

After some thought, I moved away from my personal expectations of how little I sing and am thankful to God and moved into the promise that the psalmist speaks of. It’s become less about needing to do all the things I deem valuable which will please the Lord and more about accepting that the heart he’s placed in me is entirely capable of turning and responding to God. Therefore, a life built on this intimacy with God will more naturally bring about action and works that will please the Lord.

Our faith, then, is less based on what we think we ought to do and more a response on who we know God to be and how we comprehend his unfailing love and mercy to us.

God has promised us the Holy Spirit which counsels and protects and helps us understand and apply his Word to any and every situation and life circumstance. Like the psalmist, we too can have such faith (“I will sing, I will sing“), that in all things that come our way, in all that God has given, with all the mysteries of the world, our response can be to turn to God in thanksgiving, rejoice and thoughtful meditation and understanding.

So even if I am not singing praises to God every hour of the day (though if I had this gift, I would), I know that my mind and heart are not far from His because quite simply, my heart will ache and long to return to the one who gives me true life, a life called to His Spirit.

Dukkah roast


I found this recipe on the Veggie Num Num food blog for dukkah and it was so divine!

What is dukkah you ask. According to Food Safari, it’s Egyptian and a mix of everything I love! It combines nuts, seeds and spices for a unique nut-spice blend. It is traditionally enjoyed by dipping roasted bread into good quality olive oil and then into the nut-spice blend but can also be sprinkled on top of soups, salads etc.

I am fascinated by all these new combinations of spices I am learning about! What is it about these combinations which make it work?

Moreover, this combination of pumpkin, tofu and dukkah is so interesting. Part health foods, part traditional, I found it a very lovely fusion between middle-eastern and western convenience cooking…perhaps something to explore further.

This is a delicious easy three-step recipe that yields amazing results! A great vegetarian addition to a picnic. If you serve it with cous cous like I did, it aptly constitutes as a healthy and filling meal.

Serves 4. Adapted from Veggie Num Num.

DUKKAH

This makes a large amount of dukkah. Keep it in an air tight container for multiple uses over the weeks.

3/4 – 1 cup nuts of almonds, cashews, brazil nuts
1/4 seeds –  pumpkin, sunflower, sesame seeds
1 TBsp ground cumin
1 TBsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp white and black pepper corns
1/2 sea salt
1 tsp oregano

ROASTED VEGETABLES AND TOFU

500g firm tofu*
500g piece of pumpkin, seeded and peeled
500g sweet potato, peeled, cut into chunks
1 cup home-made Dukkah (see above)
3 TBsp olive oil
2 TBsp organic honey

*You can get these from Asian supermarkets to beat exorbitant commercial supermarket prices.

METHOD

Making dukkah: pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Spread nuts, seeds and spices on a large tray lined with baking paper and roast them for 7 minutes or until they are fragrant and turn golden. Then, bringing the two ends of the baking sheet together pour the mix into the morter and pestle. (what a lovely freshly-crisp sound they make when they touch!) Coarsely process the mix until the nuts are chunky and they have a coarse texture (be patient, the nuts will take the longest). Store dukkah for up to 2 weeks in an air tight container.

Roasting vegetables: Chop pumpkin, sweet potatoes and tofu into big chunks and place in a bowl. Add the honey and olive oil. With your hands rub the dukkah, honey and olive oil over the vegetables until it’s well coated. Cook at 180°C for 30-45 minutes or until the vegetables are golden and begin to crisp.

Serve: over cous cous, rice or with bread.

Home-made vegetable stock


One of the most simple things a cook can know: how to make your own home-made stock. Similar to a broth, it’s added to soups, casseroles, risottos and much more. It is great because it carries added nutrients from the vegetables that come out in the boiled water.

One of the defining moments I had when volunteering at the Earth Vegan Cafe (now sadly changing owners and has a completely different menu….goodbye ahimsa beans and the most amazing dhal I’ve tasted) was pouring a huge 4L of prepared stock into another large pot. A divine mixed-vegetable smell. And free face steam and arm muscle work-out right there!

Stocks are a fantastic way to use food scraps, waste less and enrich the flavour of many vegetarian recipes. It keeps stored in a take-away container up to a month.

INGREDIENTS

1-2 onions

2-3 carrots

3-4 celery stalks

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1 small bunch parsley

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Optional

Leeks (especially the green parts)

fennel

tomatoes

mushrooms (stems included)

parsnips

*The onions, carrots, and celery are a great base for a stock. Start with these and add more vegetables.

METHOD

Roughly chop all the vegetables (no need for precision, we want to extract the nutrients). Throw all vegetables scraps into one pot. Pour in some water, cover the pot and get it boiling. Reduce the heat once it’s boiled and cook for one hour or until the water tastes infused with vegetable flavours.

Drain well into another pot. You can store it in ice cubes (for smaller quantities) or small take-away containers (for big quantities).