Being Brave & Squash Scones
I think if you asked any of my friends they'd deffo use words like 'restless', 'adventurous', 'busy' to describe me, as well as a load of less complimentary others ( and some nice ones ) but we can probably skip those for a later round of therapy ... One of the things that menopause has the claws to rob you of, is your confidence which you need to do all those things above. Ergo, you don't do them, you feel shit, your confidence plummets even further, you eat cake and drink wine. Before you know it you're pottering around in your teenager's fluffy boot slippers online shopping for Christmas presents in June. I did that ONCE ok ! I'm calamitising I know but only today I was reading that Jo Whiley felt like a 'liability' on air because the bloody brain fog stops you finding the right words as quickly, which for broadcasters is a proper kick in the balls. I concur Jo .. it's terrifying.
And that's what it's like sometimes .. walking around scared of everything. From opening your mouth and not finding those words or the punchline quick enough, to skinny jeans and cocktails that might give you a 2 day migraine. PTA meetings, builders and going out dancing. We're going out dancing at the weekend actually ( Homobloc at The Depot Mayfield ) and I'm doing everything in my power to avoid it 'cause I'm SCARED. I hate being scared, I really hate it. And because I'm me, I go at problems like this hammer and tongs. I'll buy all the books and make appointments with gurus and gyneas that I almost certainly wont keep. Am I the only one ??? Clearly not, because there' s a lot of books to buy trust me. There's so much helpful information and good work being done around menopause and I'm going to do it all, twice ... but sometimes I feel like I did as a new parent and that somehow I'm in a weird knowledge competition and this one is 'Meno Mastery' as opposed to 'Successful Sleeping'
So I retreat to the 10 square meters of earth and soil where I do feel quiet and safe. Maybe it is something as simple as fresh air, but I can think out there. I can plan and what's more I can plan to do daring things that I haven't done before. This year I grew sweetcorn and squash.
I made a bean tripod wigwam thing and cooked using chillis that came from baby plants that a friend left on my doorstep. I did that and I'm sorry, not sorry for turning my Instagram feed in to an alter to my vegetables. Like any mild obsession the highs get higher, finding the thrills gets more tricky and so I'm going to put the books down, stop Googling 'how to get rid of the meno belly fat' and push my gardening skills to the limit to grow myself 3 raised beds full of goodness for next year. I might even re-wild a bit of it with a mini field of Valerian that I can waft around in a maxi dress listening to Fleetwood Mac.
That's my plan for next year my gardening buddies .. my Menopause garden starts here. Veggies full of vitamins that we lovely ladies need peri or post periods. Spinach and Chard, all the legumes to harvest for warming fibrous soups next Autumn. Yes, I'm. going to have a crack at chickpeas and quinoa ( how DO you pronounce it ffs ) I may have a dabble in the Okra pot. Loads of leafy green kale and cruciferous vegetables. I'll be honest I'll have to look that up but I think it might include Brussel Sprouts which I've been avoiding because I'm scared of them. To be fair I did say that about Squash and as you can see from the pic although they are diddy, they are lovely and after a few tries of the recipe from Nigel Slater and the addition of a bit of home grown chilli, they make amazing scones. I am being brave in my own little way at my own pace and if I can do that in the garden, perhaps I can do that on the dance floor this weekend ? Watch out Manchester here we come ;)
Chilli Squash Scones ( from Nigel Slater's Pumpkin Scones )
250g butternut squash peeled and chopped in to chunks
400g plain flour
1 red chilli deseeded chopped small
4 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
85g unsalted butter
80 grated cheese ( Nigel says Parmesan but I like cheddar tbh)
2 tsp grain mustard
1 egg beaten
Steam / boil the squash for just under 10 mins until nice and squashy ( you should be able to mash it with a fork )
Mash it with a fork but leave it lumpy
Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a food mixer. Add pinch of salt, a good grind of black pepper and the cold cubed butter. Whizz to fine crumbs. If you haven't got a posh mixer you'll have to do it old skool with yer bear 'ands.
In goes the lumpy squash, grain mustard, chopped chilli and then gently add milk and water and bring together until it's a sticky dough.
Frown at the mess you'll now have to clear up but channel visions of hot buttery squash scones that are now only about 20 minutes away.
Put some flour down on the surface and put the dough on it and pat it onto a circle about a thumb's thickness. Use your scone / biscuit cutter to cut our around 12 scones. Put them on a baking sheet, brush with a little bit of beaten egg but don't soak them !
Put them in the oven 12-14 mins gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C
Let them alone for 5 mins when they come out to cool down and rest. Cover in butter, jam, jelly, more cheese and go back to the shed to eat the lot.