The Bucket List

A friend asked me the other day “Do you have a bucket list?” Without much hesitation, I shook my head and replied “No, never really thought about it.”

Bucket

But it did get me to thinking. Is it ever too early to have a bucket list? When you are in your teens, you think you are invincible and the world revolves around you. The early twenties are pretty much the same or maybe even more narcissistic. But when you hit your late twenties, things start to happen that you never imagined could.  This can start to hit home when you hit your thirties.  All of sudden, you are going to the funerals of your friends’ parents (or your own as in my case); you have friends who have children who are ill or disabled; you have friends or family that are dying or very sick; people you know are getting killed or maimed. The list goes on.

So this leads to the question is it ever too late to have a bucket list?  And yes, I think it is. Because by that time, you may not be healthy or able enough to do those things that you had wanted to do simply because you never thought about it or even worse, just kept putting off. The bucket list should not just be about things to do before you die; it should also be about things to do before you are not able to. I imagine that as we get older (and maybe wiser), our bucket lists will change.  But there’s nothing wrong with that. You just never know what’s around the corner as the wiser person will tell you. So have your big dreams but also have little ones, ones that you can do now. Before it’s too late.

The first thing that came up on my bucket list is the pub. The place I have always wanted to buy, restore and transform into the most amazing gastro pub. But, I had to ask myself, is this really achievable? Do I want to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 4 years before I make any money? Do I want to put up with cranky chefs and ever changing wait staff? And horrible drunk customers?  And yes, if I had the money to buy such a place, I would! Every bucket list should have a big ticket item and this is mine.

The Stonemasons Arms - my first gastro pub experience in Hammersmith, London.

The Stonemasons Arms – my first gastro pub experience in Hammersmith, London. Around 13 years ago now!

As the gastro pub is out for now, I had to come up with something smaller, a little more practical and achievable. I have always fantasised about being able to belt out a tune in one of husband Dean’s bands. So during a bit of a drunken girly night with my best friend in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, we decided that I was going to learn.  It’s early days but I love it so far and it seems that I can actually sing. Apparently, all I need to do is train my voice which, of course, is the hard part. And not only that, I am finding that singing relieves stress!

And it’s not until recently that I realised that growing and eating my food is on that list too. So, I did have a bucket list except I didn’t know it! I am even growing vegetables that I don’t  normally eat which makes it harder to prepare. Beetroot is one of those. So, to brighten up the slightly sombre subject of the bucket list, I share with you a great little dish I came up with (I am sure it’s been done before) but let’s just pretend it’s mine, for a minute.

Beet it

Fresh beetroot from the garden

Fresh beetroot from the garden

The other day I picked a beetroot from the garden and I struggled as to what to do with it. When I was a kid, the only beet I knew came out of can which, you have to admit, is just not the same.

I cut up the beet, tasted it and it was a little bit bitter. So a quick google later, I learnt that cooking it will sweeten it. So I gave it a try and google was right, of course.

This recipe uses the entire beet. No wastage, just simple and tasty.

Warm beetroot and feta salad (a bucket list recipe)

Ingredients: Whole beetroot with leaves (from the garden preferably), soft feta, chilli (optional)

  • Remove leaves from beetroot and wash thoroughly.
    (To do this, I generally fill the sink with water and toss the leaves in. At this stage, I will also remove the leaves from the stems.)
  • Place the leaves in a salad spinner to remove excess water. Use a knife or fingers to chop or break up the leaves into smaller pieces. Set aside.
  • After removing the rooty bits, peel the beet. Cut up into small pieces.
  • Pour some olive oil in a pan.
  • Let it heat up and toss in the beet.
  • Add a pinch of salt and sauté till soft (no need for lots of salt as the feta is salty or forget the salt)
    (Beet softening time will depend on how small you cut the beet up – best test really is your tastebuds)
  • Add the leaves and cook until just wilted.
  • Spoon out into a bowl.
  • Let it cool a little.
  • Mix in the feta (use as much or as little as you like depending on how salty the feta is)
  • Grind in some black pepper. Add in some chopped chilli if you like.
  • Drizzle over some good quality extra virgin oil.
    (If you haven’t got one of those fancy oil pourers with the spout, get one. You won’t regret it and you will use it all the time, just like the chefs do!)
  • Plate and serve.
Oil drizzler

Oil drizzler

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