Monday morning was a Delight.

IMAN BAYALDI

Sometimes this blog is absolutely nothing to do with cancer, tumours or chemotherapy. Sometimes it’s not even to do with recipes, although in this case there is a recipe involved and please feel free to just skip to it now. Although you may miss some of my razor sharp wit and insight!!.

So on Sunday night we did family camping in the garden, part of our staycations, which was amazing. We did toasted marshmallow on the bbq, games of Uno and then the uncomfortable sleep in the tent. Even though we had brought down a super comfy mattress. I admit that I left my non existent hair down and had a glass or two of wine which was great. Now while I was sipping my wine and taking into account the fact that I found this cycle of platelet injections bloody hard on the system, in the back of my head I had this little voice telling me to enjoy the wine as I would pay for this in the morning.

So at 6am I woke with a strange sensation, I just thought my bladder had moved to a higher level of alarm and that perhaps I should go and empty it. It was when I tried to move the rest of my body that the pain began, now when I say pain I actually mean pains, as they were shooting from the front of my legs up the front into my stomach then my chest, my shoulders and then continuing back down the back of my legs. I had to crawl from the tent and into the kitchen and then drag myself up to stand at the work top, worry turned into panic. Now this was a family night camping and I could have woken Rachel to tell her what was happening, but I did not want to wake anyone because I had this vision in my mind of shit I am having another heart attack and here we go again, another bloody hospital stay and the vision of the kids faces of me going away in an ambulance. I already have cancer I would not want to add this to thier worries. Now as all of this was happening I grabbed my blood pressure monitor and made the next mistake which was to sit down and this is where the anology of a spanner in a magnet factory comes in, as every time the pains kicked in then my legs and arms went into spasm and it must have looked funny, picture this I am sitting on a chair with the BP machine strapped to my arm and my arms and legs are jumping up and down and my chest feels like its been sat on. But my BP is normal and my pulse is sitting at 70. After about fifteen minutes of this, I had finally figured out that I wasn’t having a heart attack and that I probably would not need a hospital visit, I had confirmed on google that filgrastim (the injection) can cause muscle spasms,so I felt able to take out the bin, which during all of this I though that Monday is bin day and it was very full.

I did bring it out but then found that when I went to come back in that my legs would not support me. I spent another ten minutes holding onto the bin while I waited for the feelings in my legs to return, meanwhile two passerbyes stopped to ask me was I alright to which I replied yes I am just putting out the bin and taking a few minutes to catch my thoughts. So that was my Monday morning, I spent most of Monday walking like John Wayne (much to Rachels amusement) for balance, but also because the only muscle group to actually pay for the spasms were my buttock muscles. For a while it was easier to walk as if I was saddle sore. I did talk to my specialist Macmillan nurse and explained what had happened unfortunatly this is a potential side effect and that once I had no other symptoms I was to continue on as normal.

Anyway here is a great simple vegan/vegetarian recipe that is fantastic eaten at room temperature or even cold, straight from the fridge. It can work as a snack, or as a main course with say a good vibrant tomato and basil salad or a Greek salad which is what we have it with it this evening.

So this dish is claimed by most countries that border the Mediterranean and Adriatic sea. Its called Iman Bayaldi. In a nutshell its a stuffed Aubergine which has fantastic flavour. I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to up the heat, by adding in chillies.Its an easy recipe with only a few stages but it does need a bit of patience and you add your own extra vegetables to it if you wish just remember to cut them small so that they cook out at the same time as the tomatoes and onions.

Recipe

2 Aubergines

3 cloves of crushed Garlic

1 medium onion finely chopped

2tsp smoked paprika

2tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground cinnamon

2tsp coriander seeds

1tsp fennel seeds

1/2tsp Chilli Flakes

6 semi dried apricots sliced lengthways I just love the aftertaste the apricot brings to the dish

6 Whole medium tomatoes roughly chopped

1/4 Bunch coriander washed well and roughly chopped

150g Natural yoghurt(Optional you can leave it off it you want the dish to remain vegan.)

Method.

  1. Split the aubergine in half lengthways and score the flesh with a knife but DO NOT pierce the skin(See Photo) then brush with olive oil and season with a little salt and pepper and a dash of paprika. Roast in an oven at 150C for thirty minutes or until nice and soft so that you can scoop out the flesh and chop it roughly when it has cooled.But do leave it cool as its had a brush with oil it will be hot.
  2. Take the onions and the garlic and cook with out colour for five minutes on a low heat in a frying pan. Add you chopped tomatoes and continue to cook out(See Photo)
  3. Now add all of the spices, seeds etc and cook until its really hitting your nose. Now remember keep the heat low as you really dont want to burn the spices and add your precooked chopped aubergine to the pan and continue to cook slowly for a further five or so minutes until the entire dish is really well combined. At this stage you need to check for salt and pepper but remember you have already seasoned the aubergine flesh so steady with the salt. I find that if I add say 50mlsmls of water or tomato pasatta at this stage it brings the dish nicely together. I now add some chopped coriander to the mix now as this will be the last time you get to season or change the dish before eating.
  4. Now arrange you aubergine skins in a roasting tray and fill the four skins with the vegetable mix and pop back in the oven for fifteen minutes at 140C
  5. To serve you can simply pop them on a plate and pour the natural yoghurt down the middle of each and sprinkle with the chopped coriander or leave the yoghurt off and use it for making a raita.

A couple of other things with this recipe you can drain and add a tin of chick peas to the mix just before you stuff the aubergine skins as this will add to the protein level and also as its roasted back in the oven the chick peas give a nice nutty texture to the dish.

Dont forget that the chillies are optional and you can add in or leave out personally I like them in the dish and then serve with a simple light salad its your choice after all.

Thats it thats the Iman bayaldi recipe, this can also be served with the little lamb koftas recipe from an earlier blog.

If anyone tries this I would love to see a photo.

Also if you are going through Chemo and you have any reactions of any kind then do contact your specialist nurse or indeed the hospital where you are getting your treatment as even though I may appear to make light of this scenarion on Monday it is scary and not to be ignored.I do not want to interrupt my treatment and perhaps I was wrong in how I handled it but that was my own decision that I took knowing the consequesces plus I do know my own body so it was a calculated risk I took but I dont think thats for everyone so I cannot recommend it to anyone else.If in doubt dont mess about pick up the phone and talk to an expert…

Take care and enjoy the recipe and PS My bum muscles are still sore.

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