This post is inspired by the effervescent and ever dancing ‘young’ elderly lady who set down her shopping trolley today and gave herself over to the music in the middle of the lunchtime masses. You made my day – I thank you!
At lunchtime I had wandered into the Bourke St Shopping Mall (Melbourne) enroute to buy a shiny new food processer. My head was giddy with ideas of what I might create with my new purchase however, I was quickly drawn to the melodic pulse of gypsy flamenco music which was drifting my way. As I got closer, my attention was soon captivated by the real star of the show who was already surrounded by delighted onlookers.
A lone woman, dancing in a whole world of her own with only the whimsical smile on her face and beat of the music to accompany her. I was absolutely moved. The crowd around me were also obviously enjoying and taking in this same wonderful experience, their smiles infectious.
Her occasional dancing partner throughout was a little boy no older than 6 or 7 years old. He took his queue from the more experienced dancer and then found his own rhythm. He eventually retired but she kept going and had hardly broken a sweat.
I then thought to myself; how poignant that the only two people dancing were at their prospective ends of the age gap. As we become older can we dance like no one is watching (if we are able) because we simply no longer care? As children can we dance in the street because we are too young to know the fear of what people might think? When exactly does this change in mindset happen? When do we stop listening to the beat of our own drum and lose the fearlessness we wore as a badge of honour as kids?
Sadly the music came to an end and as the crowd dispersed, I was genuinely disappointed. I approached the woman to tell her just how much I had enjoyed her beautiful dancing . “No” she replied in a far away accent. “I enjoyed such beautiful music”.
She reminded me that sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to take the time to enjoy life’s music which are the daily fleeting moments, experiences and the flicker of past memories that make you smile on the inside and change your perspective on the world outside if you choose to embrace them.
Such is the power of creating experiences and memories through food and how the smell of a forgotten aroma can transport you back to a treasured time and place in a second. Do you remember?
In honour of today’s flamenco dancer, I dedicate this Spanish recipe for Vegetarian Paella with pumpkin, pistachio and orange which I have adapted from one of my favourite vegetarian food blogs veggie. num .num. The vegetarian recipes to be found here are simply beautiful to look at, delicious to devour and should be visited quite often. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Paella with Roast Pumpkin, Pistachio and Saffron
Find veggie num num’s original and strictly vegetarian version here
- I used chicken stock instead of vegetable simply because I prefer the flavour
- I did not add the snow peas as Im not a massive fan (sorry snow peas!) and enjoyed without
Paella Cooking Tips
- Speed up the cooking process of the pumpkin by zapping in the microwave on high for approximately 8 mins before roasting in the oven. To do this, cover with cling wrap and place in a microwave proof bowl.
- Don’t stir the paella as it wont form a crust. DON’T WORRY! It wont burn as long as you have medium heating only.
- If all the liquid has been absorbed and is still a little crunchy especially around the edges of your fry pan , pour a little extra stock in the pan and let it cook some more.
- Remove the paella from the heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes to allow the crust to crisp up
- Expected cooking time start to finish = 1 hour
Shelley hall says
What a beautiful moment you experienced Gill. I shed a tear in the beauty of what it is to be human and relating to that story. Lovely writting Gill 😉 I’m not sure I would be making this recipe for my vego friends with the chicken stock but for myself on the other hand… Xx
likewise you took my memory back to my father (with MND) discovering the beat of some heavy band at age 72. thank you for your beautiful writing the recipe entices.
Used the pumpkin and orange combo in a risotto on the weekend. I didn’t have pistachios so went with almonds, which worked too. Yum! Thanks for the idea…