Friday, 22 January 2010


“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” - Robert Frost

Another very busy week, with lots of meetings, much to chase up on, lots of submissions to write and quite a few issues to resolve. At least I have quite a feeling of achievement as there have been some very favourable outcomes in the last couple of days to show for all my hard work. It is also good to work with people that one can depend on and to be able to collaborate with as a team. One can achieve a lot more, but also there is that great feeling of camaraderie that bonds people together.

We have a fairly quiet weekend planned this week, with hopefully some time to rest and relax. It’s always hard to have a weekend full of commitments and activities when the week has been so tiring. Nevertheless, the simple fact of being at home and not going into the office can be enough of a respite. Most people tend to bring work home nowadays, and yes, I am guilty of that. However, one can work differently at home and there is no pressure, precisely because one works alone.

For food Friday today, I’ll tell you what we had for dinner, which was derived totally from our own garden in the back yard. No, it wasn’t roses (some of you may know that our back garden has mainly rosebushes in it), but rather food from the few small plots that we have where we grow seasonal vegetables and some fruit. In summer, we have a couple of tomato plants, some cucumber vines, an eggplant, a couple of capsicum plants, some bean plants, a couple of zucchini plants and some seasonal greens. In winter there are leeks, some broad beans, lettuces, spinach, snow peas, broccoli, etc. All year around of course, there are herbs growing everywhere so we always have on hand some parsley, dill, mint, rosemary, oregano, sage, chives, etc.

In summer a characteristic green that we plant is a typical Greek one, which is considered a weed in most Western countries, although consumed widely in various other places around the world. It is the humble blite or purple amaranth (Amaranthus blitum, to give it its botanical name). This needs little care, is multi-cropping and provides for a delicious, healthful and satisfying meal. It is always prepared and served together with other vegetables and greens. For example, also growing in the garden we have the black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) which is added to this dish in smaller amounts, and some French beans, a few baby zucchini and a couple of potatoes, as well. Blites, black nightshade, zucchini, beans and potatoes are all boiled together until tender, strained and served with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Some crusty bread and a few pieces of cheese complete the meal, which believe it or not is very filling and satisfying.

The blites have lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre, as do the black belladonnas and the other vegetables. However, the black nightshade (a distant cousin of the deadly nightshade – Atropa belladonna) also contain some bitter principles that act as liver tonics. A very healthful meal, and completely organic, as it is harvested right from our own backyard! (we have sometimes even planted a few potatoes).

Enjoy your weekend!

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