Feeling like a yo-yo and moroccan spiced lentil and pumpkin tagine

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Sorry for having been a bit quiet lately. It’s been a weird, exhausting and very much up and down period. Feeling a bit Stephen Fry-esque, not the high IQ (far from it), more the bipolar bit. But without the serious depths of depression and the productive highs. I’m just up and down like a yo-yo. But really what it is, I’m overwhelmed and exhausted by this whole parenting business, and all the other stuff that is going on in my life at the moment. You know, when there is so much going on that all you want to do is hibernate under a blanket, give someone your gigantic to do list and say; wake me when all is sorted thanks….

Also had my seriously delightful lumbar puncture and 1 hour long MRI scan and now have to wait for a month for the results!!! Seriously. A month!

Anyhow, next week my son will start nursery for a whole 6 hours a week and if you see me in some cafe staring blankly into space, I haven’t collapsed, I am just enjoying to stare into space!

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I tried to up my doses of vitamin B12 which usually keeps me on an even keel but not all the B12 in the world seems to help at the moment. If anyone suffers from depression, anxiety or stress ( or being Bipolar I just found out) I can’t recommend B12 highly enough.
Since the B12 doesn’t work I made my favourite moroccan comfort dish instead, and man is it comforting (and healthy of course)

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Spiced lentil and pumpkin tagine
Slightly adapted from a cookbook called Cooking Moroccan, a great book with lots of healthy moroccan food

Serves 4-6

275 gr or 11/2 cups brown or green lentils
3 tomatoes
600 gr butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
6 tablespoons coriander, finely chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into 3 cm dice. If you are using a tagine put in a tray with a little bit of olive oil and put in oven for 15-20 min ( this will allow for much shorter cooking time) Otherwise put aside.

Rinse lentils in a sieve. Tip into a saucepan and add 1 litre ( 4 cups) cold water. Bring to the boil, skim the surface if necessary, then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, halve the tomatoes horizontally and squeeze out the seeds. Coarsely grate the tomatoes into a bowl down to the skin, discarding the skin. Set the tomatoes aside.

Heat the oil in a tagine or a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over low heat until softened. Add the garlic, cook for a few seconds, then stir in the cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the grated tomatoes, paprika, tomato paste, honey, half the parsley and coriander, 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste. Add the drained lentils and chopped pumpkin, stir well, then cover and simmer for 45 min if you are using a tagine or 20 min if you are using a saucepan or until the pumpkin and lentils are tender. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and coriander. Serve with crusty spelt bread.

In Morocco they eat from the tagine with their hands, we tend to eat this dish using the bread as a spoon

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One thought on “Feeling like a yo-yo and moroccan spiced lentil and pumpkin tagine

  1. Hang in there. My experience of bipolar (father) is that purpose is a valuable friend. My dad got into Zen Buddhism, in fact he really got into it and ended up becoming a prison Chaplin he found the order and ritual soothing. On the plus side I bloody live tagines and have just come back fro morocco where i stuffed my face on them on a daily basis. I will definitely be trying this.
    good luck maybe try doing something with no mind (but not mindless)

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