We have a new home.
This little place, a quiet rental on the Mornington Peninsula is our first venture away from snug apartments and units. We now have two bedrooms, a large kitchen, a fireplace, a shed, an office and a vegetable garden. It's small and it's creaky and it's old, but I find it to be very fetching. It feels like the right kind of snug.
My days these past two weeks have been spent unpacking boxes and putting our posessions, which had been hibernating these past eight months, into new nooks. We're discovering the corners and bumps of this place and making it our own. I already have my favourite corner of the house picked out.
Beyond unpacking, I am busy with my private practice. Yes, I'm learning to stoke the fires of business practice as keenly as I'm learning how to heat our home with our fireplace (in regards to the latter activity, it's presently much less Girl Guides woodland skill and much more heavy-handed match application). Though I have maintained my private practice for a few years, I will be focusing on this work primarily in the future as we venture into the land of "being true grown ups" and running our own businesses. It's all very exciting. And despite the fact that being your own boss (and feeding a fireplace) can be more work than the alternative...often relentless and exhausting and stressful, Ben and I both believe the benefits to be undoubtedly worth it.
Though it must be said that following our dreams in this manner does require keen conservatism. Particularly after all this recent travel...some of which was necessary and for business, and some simply "because we were in the area..." (I'm looking at you, New Orleans). Yes, it's time to settle down and sprout a little income, some monetary success. Don't get me wrong, this year has been an absolute gift - all the lessons and adventures are priceless, and we've thrown ourselves in wholeheartedly towards this crazy ride. But we do have to pay for the electricity to keep this new home of ours running. And so...
And so we've taken to cooking more simple meals, simple plates, often vegetarian, focusing on wholesome ingredients and pantry staples. A piece of meat feels like a luxury. As it should.
Ben and I have been enjoying this roasted brussels sprouts salad for lunch of late. The sprouts are sincere and earthy and despite the bold flavours present on your plate, with the sweet molasses and stock-kissed grains, it all marries together very happily. This salad is nourishing, rich, sweet and warm, with a sure zing. It feels like home and it tastes like a good life.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad
~350g Brussels Sprouts
1/2 cup uncooked Wholegrain - I used a wild rice blend, but any wholegrain would be lovely. I favour freekeh but quinoa can be a quicker option.
Stock and Water to cook your grain
2 tablespoons Craisins (other dried fruit would work here, play with your favourites)
2 tablespoons Unsalted Roasted Almonds, roughly chopped (dry roast your almonds if you don't have pre-roasted on hand)
50g Goats cheese (Meredith is my favourite. Fetta or panfried haloumi would work too - note that I didn't have cheese on hand when I made the version I photographed for this post)
1/2 tablespoon Pomegranate Molasses
A generous squeeze of a juicy Lemon
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 small pinches Smoked Paprika
2 small pinches Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Halve your brussels sprouts and place in a bowl. Drizzle the oil, paprika, sea salt and pepper over the sprouts then mix well using your hands. Place the sprouts cut side down on a baking tray lined with baking paper. When the oven is hot, bake the sprouts for ~20 minutes until golden and sticky.
2. Meanwhile, cook your grain according to packet instructions. I like to use 1/2 stock, 1/2 water for extra flavour. In the last couple of minutes of cooking your grain, add the craisins to the mix (drain any remaining liquid as required). Cover and set aside.
3. To make your dressing, add the pomegranate molasses to the lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust as required (you might like to add some water to dilute the mix).
4. Drizzle the dressing over the grain mix and stir, then spoon onto plates. Top with the roasted sprouts, chopped almonds and goats cheese.