You know when someone puts something so succinctly and you’re like yes, this articulates something I didn’t even know I needed articulating but I feel so seen having absorbed these words? Yes? Well, yesterday I read a tweet that said “this year I kept feeling like ‘sorry I wasn’t the successful mental health recovery story you wanted'” and I was like…yes. Me. Earlier this year when I got my ADHD diagnosis I was all, my problems are solved! Ritalin helps everything! I’m great now! But in fact, to the surprise of absolutely no one except my wilfully naive self, one success does not equal a nonstop upwards trajectory. By which I mean, I’m in a weird place currently where all my resources are exhausted – my brain is tired, my body is tired, I’m pretty sure my skull is still tired from my wisdom tooth operation even though it was like, a week ago, and the hamster running in the treadmill of my mental health faculties is very, very tired.
All I want to do is sleep for a thousand years, but also all I can do is sleep and it’s the most frustrating thing ever because I can’t get out of my own way – or bed – and get anything done that would help myself – like tidy my room or do yoga or whatever other vague self-care things you’re supposed to tick off on the road to wellbeing. As well as feeling hellaciously lethargic, my anxiety is scratching a sharp, bitten fingernail down the back of my spine more than ever. I’m really hoping I can bust out of this feeling of being suspended in a bowl of jelly, unable to claw my way through and find myself, because being tired is so tiring.
As such I haven’t really cooked for myself in a while – I’m eating regularly, I just don’t have the energy to stand up and put one ingredient inside another. Fortunately my disinclination towards progress has its own shady rewards, as in, here’s one I prepared earlier! But totally missed the boat on blogging about because, like so many small tasks, I just didn’t. For all that I am coming across as TOTALLY MISERABLE the fact that I’m actually here writing this blog post and putting one foot in front of the other and one letter of the alphabet in front of the other is a definite achievement, so – dubiously – yay me.
So let’s get to the less uncomfortable content! Panna cotta is an Italian dessert, comprised more or less of cream heated and set with gelatine – silky, yielding yet firm, immensely ploughable to the spoon, rich yet light, rather fancy yet childishly reminiscent of packet-born pudding. I had this idea that turmeric – as in the whole turmeric root, not the vivid yellow powdered stuff – would go well with vanilla – as in the excoriated black dust from an entire bean, not the essence in a bottle. I was pleasingly correct. It’s all very simple – just heat the vanilla and turmeric with the cream and throw in some sugar and gelatine – but has glorious results. The turmeric tints the cream a pale primrose colour and gives it a slight lemony-carroty freshness (I don’t know if that sounds awful but I promise you it’s good) and the vanilla seeds have a soft, almost chocolatey richness which makes it taste incredibly luxuriant and scented-candle-y. If you can’t get hold of whole turmeric root I imagine a small teaspoon of powdered stuff would work okay but it might be a bit intense and earthy – maybe change tack completely and instead use the grated zest of a lemon or grapefruit.
Generally panna cotta is set in small moulds and then turned out but I was happy to cut out any additional stress by instead pouring it into cute receptacles and eating it straight from them. I recommend you do the same.
turmeric and vanilla panna cotta
a recipe by myself
- 300ml cream
- three leaves of gelatine
- three tablespoons of caster sugar
- one vanilla bean
- one knob/root (lol) of turmeric
Peel the turmeric roughly (I just use a sharp knife to slice the skin off) and roughly chop into pieces. Place it in a saucepan with the cream and then slide a knifepoint down the length of the vanilla bean and scrape, as best you can, the seeds of it into the cream, then just chuck the bean itself into the cream as well.
Heat the cream gently till it’s juuuust starting to wobble on the surface. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water – they’ll turn translucent and soft after a minute or two.
Remove the cream from the heat, and either strain it into a bowl or scoop out the vanilla bean and bits of turmeric. I prefer the latter because…less dishes. Scoop up the soft gelatine leaves – which will feel pretty delightful – and give them a squeeze to remove any clinging water before dropping them into the cream. Add the sugar and give it a stir to dissolve everything.
Pour this mixture carefully between two waiting vessels of around 150ml each. Refrigerate them for a couple of hours and then they’re all yours to eat.
Serves two. I ate both at once.
Leaf gelatine is generally available in supermarkets these days and is much more fun to use than the traditional powdered stuff – it comes in sheets that look like old fashioned glass windows, which soften in cold water and then dissolve in the hot cream. As a result, the texture of this is incredible – so pillowy and satiny, like the feeling of raking your fingers through cool water as it slides across your tongue.
Seriously though, I’m sorry to be so damn glum, it’s like, I’m fine, honestly, I’m just really really really tired in every possible way but also totally fine and don’t worry about me but also someone please pick me up and lay me down on a soft, warm loaf of bread and let me sleep until I finally feel rested, while taking care of all my responsibilities and maybe rewiring my brain while you’re at it, but also I’m fine? I mean, I wouldn’t say I’ve never been better, but I’ve definitely been worse! And I’ve written this blog post, which is absolutely something. And now to try and work on more somethings.
title from: Soundgarden, Black Hole Sun. The unbelievable sadness about Chris Cornell aside, this song is magnificent and huge and was the first music video to truly terrify me. Like, for real, I’ve linked to a lyrics video here rather than the original one because I honestly still can’t watch it.
Sky Ferreira, Everything Is Embarrassing. I mean!
Kesha, Praying. I’m happy she’s back.
next time: well I finally read some of a book about coping with ADHD that has been under my bed, untouched, since February. And I’ve been reading the food blogs and cookbooks that spur on my hunger for cooking the most. It’s something!