Like most people, I have days when it’s hard not compare my current life to the lives of others. I’ll work with someone, speak with someone, read about someone who is no doubt my age or younger (almost always younger- of course), fully immersed in their careers and passionately making great strides and accomplishing new things, and I’ll wonder what exactly I’ve done to contribute, to advance.
During this period in my life I have two small children. Neither are old enough for full time school and full time nursery isn’t a financial option for us. This means more often than not both girls are in frequent need of my help and attention all whilst balanced with part time work. Work that I love doing, but work that at this stage has no choice but to take a backseat to my children.
This stage of immediate hugs and snuggles, coaxing, wiping, explaining and reassuring in its present form is exhausting at times, but it is also fleeting. I know that all too soon my childrens’ interest in spending time with me will make way for time spent with friends or in school, pursuing their own interests and experiences, and I will likely long for the days where I felt so needed and necessary.
Someday I will once again have the time to linger in the kitchen, making complicated dishes, exploring intricate spice layering, experimenting with a new ingredient or reading about an unexplored cuisine with both the luxury of time and without worry that my efforts will be rejected and dinner left untouched or in piles on the floor. That day, and those self-satisfying experiences will of course be in lieu of something equally desirable happening right now. Something I try to remind myself of when I’m covered in sand or dirt or whatever, needing to make dinner, hold a baby, help a toddler, all alongside an email or deadline to respond to. Someday I won’t be pulled quite as much, and there’s a large chance I’ll miss it.
It doesn’t mean these days of “what the hell am I doing with my life” won’t still occur, from now until forever I imagine. When they do I try very hard to firstly stop comparing myself to anyone else, because it never works out in my favour. Never. And secondly, to do something small to remind myself that I can still parent intensely and progress in my own interests or goals even ever-so-slightly. This stage, like the last, is thankfully and heart-breakingly temporary.
This dish was my solution to a “what the hell am I doing” moment. It’s a tiny bit more interesting than the pesto pasta and quesadillas that we eat far too often, but just as easy to make. It served as a glimmer of hope or relief or something. And honestly the fact that everyone ate it sealed the deal and brought me back to reality- to the life that I actually really love living most of the time.
4 fillets salmon, deboned with skin still on
2 tbsp white or brown miso paste
1/2 thumb ginger, grated or diced
1/2 lemon, squeezed
Mix your miso paste together with your ginger, and spread it on the top and sides of your fish. Miso paste keeps for a long time in your fridge so don’t worry about not using the whole packet. You can make this recipe (or others) again with the leftovers for a few weeks without risking it going bad.
Leave your lemon juice for right before you go to cook your fish, to avoid any cooking from the acidity. Marinate the salmon for an hour or two in the fridge. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve it, take it out and preheat your oven
Using the oven and grill setting, turn your oven on to approx 220C/420F and move a shelf to the top 3rd of the oven, close to the grill. If you’re oven doesn’t have a split setting either grilling or baking setting works just fine, but you’ll have to play around with the cooking time. With the baking setting you will lose any caramalised finish on the miso paste, but it will still be tasty.
Squeeze your lemon over the fish, pop it on a oven-safe roasting pan and in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is just pink and the miso is starting to carmelise. We served it with broccoli and jasmine rice.