The prenatal period is a very volatile time for a woman (and anyone in her vicinity, really). She is liable to be under a lot of strain - not from the sheer exertion of growing another human being, we're actually ace at that. The prenatal strain comes from our heroic continued efforts to not scream at or physically attack all the annoying people who orbit us during these trying times.
You know, the people who keep saying: "How far along are you? You must be about to pop" when you're barely 17 weeks' pregnant, or "Are you sure it's not twins?" or "Was it planned?" or the most hateful of all: "You'll have your hands full now!" Yeah, no shit, Sherlock, I want to scream, while clawing at their stupid faces.
Don't get me wrong, it's not people commenting on my size that's the issue here, it's the level of intrusion I find so irritating. Once you're out there sporting a bump, you essentially become public property. People can, and will, question you closely about your life, while you suffer through a casual mauling of your belly. Gross.
Also, you can't say anything in response without someone blaming your hormones. Deeply irritating. Even as I sit here typing, I can picture you, dear reader, rolling your eyes over breakfast, moaning, "Ugh, yer one in LIFE is preggers, we'll be listening to this hormonal ranting for months now".
Well, buckle up, because as long as people insist on interacting with me, I'll be ranting for the duration of this thing. The latest offender was, of course, none other than Himself, long-time nemesis and regular goader.
I was musing aloud - as parents of small children are often wont to do - about how a minor road accident would be lovely. "Nothing serious," I said. "Just something warranting a few days in hospital under the care of medical professionals. Far away from my loved-ones." All parents think like this from time to time. It's the coma fantasy - inevitable, really, after many years of broken sleep and existing in a permanent atmosphere of simmering resentment and toddler screaming.
Himself looked stricken, and I felt a momentary pang of affection for him as he clearly contemplated how bleak his life would be without me. "Aww, would you miss me?" I was touched. "Ugh. It's not that, it's just I'd have to visit you all the time, and that would be a logistical nightmare." So sweet.
Natch, he tried to put my subsequent strop down to hormones, but I knew better, it was just a classic case of 'hanger' and marriage fatigue. This hearty salad certainly cured one of those.
You will need:
2-3 sweet potatoes, cubed
6 tablespoons olive oil
Two handfuls baby spinach
40g pomegranate seeds
2 teaspoons tahini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
3-4 tablespoons water
Pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons miso
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6. Toss the sweet potatoes with two tablespoons of the olive oil, then roast them for about 20 minutes until they are tender.
2 Divide the baby spinach between two bowls, along with a dash of the olive oil, and add the pomegranate seeds. Once the sweet potato is cooked, allow it to cool slightly, then divide it between the bowls.
3 To make the dressing, combine the tahini, the lemon juice, and the crushed garlic. Then whisk in the water, one tablespoon at a time, to achieve the consistency of pouring cream, and add a pinch
of sea salt to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the salad in both bowls.
4 Heat the remaining olive oil in a griddle pan over a high heat. Slice the aubergine in half lengthways, and toss the halves with the miso. Cook the aubergine halves in the hot griddle pan until they are tender and lightly charred. Serve with the bowls of winter salad.