Asparagus, sundried tomatoes & black olives
Ingredients – Makes 12 muffins or 1 loaf
100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
250g asparagus spears, each cut into smallish pieces
200g all purpose or whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp thyme leaves
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Handful pitted black olives
100g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
100g Gruyère, grated
0. Pre-heat oven to 190C/fan 170C. Oil and line the base of a loaf tin (approx 22 x 10 x 5cm) with baking paper.
1. Cook the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, drain, and cool quickly under cold running water. Dry with kitchen paper.
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and thyme in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and then add the eggs, milk and oil, stirring all the time to draw the flour into the centre. Beat for 1 min to make a smooth batter.
3. Reserve some asparagus tips and a few olives. Add the remaining asparagus, tomatoes, olives and two-thirds of the cheese to the batter.
4. Pour into the tin and put the reserved asparagus and olives on top.
5. Bake until the cake/muffins feel firm to the touch and is golden and crusty on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word.
In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked. “What does it mean, mother?”
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity—boiling water—but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.
“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”
Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.
If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hours is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another lever?
How do you handle Adversity? Are you a Carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?