Roasted beets and sweet potatoes with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and walnut tarator sauce

Roasted beets and sweet potatoes with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella

Roasted beets and sweet potatoes with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella

Here at The Ordinary’s home for over-used and worn-out metaphors, we’ve been visiting an old friend. We’ve been thinking of a metaphor, and we’re driving that tired horse the extra mile down well-traveled roads. It all started the other day when I described Malcolm’s mind as a vivid, teeming, beautiful place. I began thinking of it as a garden, I started to imagine what Malcolm’s garden would be like. I pictured it as a wild mix of different styles. In some parts it would be carefully planned and cultivated, and would yield delicious herbs and vegetables. In others it would be wild and unruly, full of raspberry bushes, say, delicious but prickly and hard to control. There would be gaps in the walls, hidden behind bushes or clever doors that Malcolm had fashioned from objects he’d found. These doors would open to secret passages, beautiful and rambling, which run for miles to unexpected places, alongside clear creeks. And Isaac’s garden would be bright and sunny, full of vibrant flowers and sweet smells. But there would be shadowy patches of skeleton flowers, or ghostly weeds or crazy jaggedy monstrous plants that look scary but would never really hurt you. His garden wouldn’t be hard to walk in, it would have plenty of paths, but they’d be meandering and twisting, and you’d never end up where you expect to. And my garden would be a miss-matched jumble. I would have started out carefully enough, drawing detailed plans in a little notebook, I would have chosen strange aromatic herbs and obscure fruits. I would have started with energy and good intentions, but somewhere along the way I would have gotten distracted or discouraged, and the flowers would never be as beautiful or the fruit as fruitful as I’d hoped. And I’d constantly be surprised by what I found in my own garden, forgetting that I’d planted something, or bewildered by some plant that had found its own way in and grown with wild gusto almost without me noticing. And sometimes this unexpected unremembered thing will be more beautiful than anything I’d planned. Like all gardens, ours will be dormant sometimes, seemingly bare under a layer of frost or snow, but beneath the soil all of the roots will be growing and alive. And like all gardens, we’ll have to be careful what we plant and what we allow to grow, and we’ll try to pull away the vines that choke everything healthy and vital. But we’ll never reject a plant because it’s not bright or showy enough or because somebody else calls it a weed. And we’ll understand that it’s good when our gardens are wild and alive and teeming, but it’s important for us to take care of them, and make plans for them, and forge paths through the brambles, so that we can share them with other people. We’ll revel in all the different moods and seasons, the sun and warmth and rain and frost, because we’ll know we need them all. Yeah. It’s an old metaphor, but the soil’s still good, it’s still got years of crops to harvest.

beet-sweet-plateBeets and sweets from the local farm! The season’s almost over, so we’ll make the most of it while we can. I sliced the beets and sweets and a few regular potatoes quite thinly. Then I roasted them till they were crispy. I lay these on a bed of baby arugula, and then piled them high with fresh tomatoes and basil (from the farm) and mozzarella, and then I drizzled the whole thing with a creamy vegan walnut tarator sauce. A sort of warm salad, perfect for this season of unexpectedly warm days and unexpectedly chilly nights.

Here’s REM with Gardening at Night.

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Harvest pie with potatoes, tomatoes and basil

End of summer pie

End of summer pie

Autumn is a good season for time travel. Not extensive trips involving complicated machines, but small, simple glimpses into the past. Maybe it’s the way scents travel in the clear air, or the way the light seems more slanting and golden, but for the last few days I keep finding myself in some other time of my life. Not that I’m just reminded of another time, but for a moment I’m there. I’m a child walking to school in England, or a twenty-three year old walking through the world with my new friend David. For some reason I’ve been thinking a lot the past few days about time passing. Not in the usual way that I think about it passing in my life or in the lives of people I love or in the seasons changing, but on a larger scale, a bigger cycle, about how the world has changed so much and is constantly changing, but under all the clutter and confusion people haven’t changed that much. We still all want the same things: someplace safe to rest our head when we’re tired, enough food to eat, sunshine when it’s chilly and shade when it’s warm. People have probably always struggled, as we do now, to free ourselves from the burden of being hopelessly, irredeemably, the center of our own universe so that we could be kind to others, and see everything around us with more clarity.

End of summer pie

End of summer pie

Here’s a good pie for the change in seasons! It’s like a pizza, so you can call it that if you want. I made the crust much thicker than I usually make my pizza crust, so it would be comfortingly soft and strong enough to hold up to all the toppings. All the herbs and vegetables are from our farm. I like potatoes on a pizza, it’s one of those things that shouldn’t work, but somehow does. I parboiled these and then tossed them in a little olive oil, so they’re soft but just starting to crisp up. I love the combination of tomatoes, potatoes and basil, but you can add any kind of vegetables or cheese or herbs you like on here.

Here’s Good Feeling by the Violent Femmes. I’ve been listening to them a lot lately…talk about a portal to the past!!

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