There’s something about autumn that wakes up our senses and reminds us to live. -Unknown
Autumn, here in Montréal, arrives gently. First the trees are tinged with colour, and then slowly over the weeks, they transform into creatures of gold and red. First the nights get cooler and gradually that carries into the day. Then, as gently as she arrived, autumn fades away, usually under a blanket of snow. Her purpose, fulfilled.
Autumn is a time for slowing down, for reflection and restoration. It’s the time of year when we seek comfort indoors and around the table with our loved ones, as well as in quiet contemplation from deep within our soul. It was at this time a year ago, that the idea of giving up my career to become a stay-at-home mom was creeping in, slowly at first, like the change in the colour of the leaves. But by the time, the last leaves had fallen and settled to the ground, the idea was well settled on the mantle of my thought. Come January, I handed in my resignation.
Nearly a year later, I sit here in quiet solitude as a new autumn morning breaks; my loves still asleep. I remember looking forward to a slower pace of life and spending more time with my children. But still, there were feelings of fear, regret, a sense of loss and defeat.
I remember the first evening at home as a stay-at-home mom. In one swift act of surrender, I snipped off my long locks of hair that I had lovingly curled each morning before rushing off to work. I banished all my office clothes and pairs of high heels to the back of my closet. And I took the thick stack of technical papers sitting on my nightstand, still waiting to be read, and threw them in the recycling bin. The next morning, alone at home, I dusted the treadmill in our basement and began to run. I ran as if for my life. For the next few weeks, I did this each morning, until I was in pain and I’d fall to the floor sobbing. Years of stress had piled up in thick layers. Somewhere along the way, I’d become so broken. Within a month, I was bedridden; stuck in a transient between death and rebirth. Somehow, I emerged stronger than ever and funny how all that has turned out to be the best thing ever.Dear ones, use these dark days to slow down, reflect and restore yourselves. Make changes, however small, towards a simpler life. Your days will be all the brighter for it.
And to warm these cool autumn mornings, here is a quick and easy recipe for a semolina-based pudding. It’s simple enough. The semolina (or cream of wheat) is first roasted in ghee and then transformed into a soft, fluffy pudding by further cooking it with milk, flavoured with cardamom and topped with dried fruit and nuts. You may pair it with fresh seasonal fruit (or if you’re like me and can’t resist, out-of-season raspberries!) This is a rich pudding, a small amount will fill your belly…. and maybe even restore your soul.
Semolina Pudding (Gujarati Rava Sheera or Sooji ka Halwa)
- 50 g (about 1/4 cup) ghee (or butter)
- 175 g (about 1 cup) fine semolina (sooji, cream of wheat)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom (optional)
- 245 g (1 cup) milk
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup (or to taste, you may replace with sweetener of your choice)
- dried fruit and nuts for serving
- Melt ghee or butter in a saucepan over low heat.
- Blend in semolina and cook for about 12 minutes on low-medium heat, stirring often, until it is fragrant.
- Stir in cardamom and milk and cook on low heat (lowest setting you have), covered, for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, stir, scraping bottom of pan. If the texture is still wet, cover and cook for another 1 minute. Repeat if required. Always ensure the the stove setting is at its lowest to ensure the pudding does not burn at the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in maple syrup (or other sweetener).
- Turn off heat, but keep covered for another 2-3 minutes. Give it a final stir and now you are ready to serve.
- Top with dried fruit and nuts of your choice when serving.