I'm in the kitchen, it's a Friday in March, 2021...
I'm making falafels, sauerkraut, and zucchini grigliate while starting to edit a 90-minute zoom chat with Elizabeth Sheppard & Janice Nix about their #1bestseller on Amazon #BreakingOut published by HarperCollins (It is also selling out at Tesco!) I am aiming to produce a very tasty 30-minute edit (why 30 mins? I dunno, seems like the right amount of time - I haven't done this before!). I look forward to sharing as soon as it's ready - the ingredients are top quality and very organic. I pray I will do it justice (it's about the message, the message, the message!).
Interrupting the flow of my kitchen capers with this update, October 2021 LISTEN TO THE PODCAST OF THAT CONVO HERE (It was an hour, in the end!)
Probation worker and justice campaigner Janice Nix and writer Elizabeth Sheppard talk creative partnerships, working together in lockdown, coming back from 17 years inside and what it really takes to help people with criminal history to engage with a system that often doesn’t feel like it’s there to help – in a free-ranging conversation led by activist and playful creative Samia Tossio. Can we change the world? How do we know until we try?
Back in the kitchen, I recommend you...
2) Listen to my chat with Liz on my radio show last October, when I invited her to share her journey from volunteer to bestselling author, and gush over how brilliant her first book is, and why I just know intuitively that Breaking Out will hit the right notes (it is!)
3) Carry on reading my blog post....
During this kitchen-edit process, I learn that:
- it's kinda hard to make notes while massaging thinly sliced red and white cabbage by hand.
- using drained tinned chickpeas for your falafel mix without adding flour to soak up some of the moisture leads to 'falafel spread' - but is still absolutely delicious (my men scoffed the lot).
- my husband is a diamond. 'Yes my love (he's being patient with me), I can put the edit together but until you go through it and note the start and end times of the bits you want, I can't do the cutting, trimming, and piecing together so you can tell the story you have in your heart'.
It's a craft, one he's developed through making and promoting his music, and one that my brain has an allergic reaction to (if anything is going to trigger a hot menopausal flush, it's defo tech-related). 'Thanks bubba, (I am feeling like I can do this now), I might want Step Forward (number 4 in the list, from the album Everyday Moments) to go with the edit, I sense it has the right message.' (I really struggled to get the vocal right on this track, I still don't think it's right, Paolo loves it though, so that'll do!)
I'm at the dining table, my desk. It's Sunday. I realise I subconsciously made 3 foods from my heritage while editing on Friday. Editing which was going to resume today, but I'm now pausing for more thought and closer inspection of this gem of a cookery book! (PS I am the daughter of a Palestinian Refugee and a German Italian beauty. I was born in Bromley. My folks met in Southend On Sea - but of course they did!).
Falafels the recipe comes from a book on my shelf that I've never paid more than a quick flick's worth of attention to, a book I picked up from a local charity shop years ago, attracted by its gorgeous green cover - 'A Taste of Palestine', Aziz Shihab, 'Menus & Memories' a culinary map of Palestine:"
"Aziz Shihab shares memories of a childhood in the Holy Land when Arabs and Jews found it easier to live as friends"
Earlier in the week, I fail to buy 'Palestine on a Plate'. It was in my basket when my phone freaks out, twice, and I can't confirm the order, so rather than get my knickers in a twist over it, I pause for thought (hot flush abatement tactic I've picked up along the hot flush way) and - plink plink fizz - my brain recalls the little green paperback on my shelf!
I laugh my ass off as on closer inspection of my little green treasure I see a little gold logo next to bold all caps text: 'A CORONA BOOK'
Published by Corona Publishing in San Antonio, 1993. Copies are available here and from Amazon. I have now read the book through - if you want a palatable history, this has it all in a nutshell (it's about the message, the message, the message!)
Sauerkraut - my mum kept the cupboard stocked with the shop-bought stuff, it's a staple in many countries, and it seems to hail from China originally. Fermented foods keep well for months and are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics in a jar. I devoured sauerkraut as a kid, snacked on it, I'd eat sauerkraut sarnies, it was one of the foods I needed to 'eat right now' while pregnant.
On a recent trip down memory lane on my old school Facebook group, a few friends shared endearing memories of sitting around our house eating...sauerkraut! The Krakus brand was my fave until this January when I started making my own - why oh why did I wait so long to make my own!?
Zucchini grigliate - pan griddled long sliced courgettes, drizzled with olive oil, garlic, salt, parsley. Just so good, cheap, and simple to make. You can do the same with aubergines. The zucchini worked really well with the falafel spread too, we ate Friday's batch faster than I could photograph them so here are some I made with a courgette that grew in an accidental community veg patch I started with 4 redundant drawers during the first summer of #COVID19. During that process, I learnt how to grow veg like a boss! And the neighbours got involved (safely) too.
I call it #COVEG19 - blog post coming soon.
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Other things which happened last week
- Guest Speaker for Poetic-Endings, sharing our family-led funeral experience
- I worked on some tasks for Arts Network Sutton
- I went one minute over my 5-min presentation on BOB, Business Over Breakfast
- I connected some dots which may lead to new fruit trees being planted where I live
About the author
Samia Tossio is an artist, playful creative, and yarn bomber doing things with a spirit of playfulness, love, and imagination. She aims to inspire and share through creative communication and her motto is Love Life, Life Loves You!
Radio Show - Listen to the PODCASTS
Samia presented The Go With The Flow Radio Show during the Lockdowns of 2020. The show featured special guests, eclectic tunes, creative news and positively kind vibes, and was often co-hosted by her husband, Paolo Tossio