Self-doubt's a pain in the arse, but it's something most of us deal with in greater or lesser degrees, every damn day. It's that demon which renders me useless on occasion and is something that I feel we all need to be more open and honest about. See, some people suffer in silence, thinking they are the only ones who doubt their own abilities, looking at everyone else's perfect lives/photos/recipes/family, whilst instantly downplaying their own. But what we all need to realise is that we are not alone. I recently spent time with a beautiful group of talented females and the subject of self doubt came up in a slightly emotional way, for us all. I shared a few of my thoughts on the matter, but it's also a conversation I'd like to start here too.
Self-doubt is nothing new, but I feel in this world of social media and over-sharing that this feeling is becoming somewhat of an epidemic. All it takes is for one quick scroll through Instagram or Facebook to leave you feeling like what you are contributing to this world is just not good enough. And well, that just plain crap. I think what people need to remember, what we ALL need to remember is that what is shown online (and often in person too) is usually just the shiny pretty bits. That one corner of the house which looks tidy and together. What we don't often see is what's outside of that frame
It's all too easy to believe that everyone else has their lives together, only leading you to that feeling of inadequacy again. I mean, surely everyone else feels happy all the time.. their Facebook status is always so positive?! Ha! It's a crock I tell ya (and part of the reason I've pulled back from social media of late).
I'm a perfectionist, but I'm far from perfect.
Chatting with one of my friends whom I look up to (in every way) earlier this year, I was shocked to hear she too had self-doubts about herself and her work. From the outside it looks like everything she touches turns to gold and so effortlessly too. With this in mind and the profound effect this had on my own feelings of self-doubt, I offered up that we all feel this way at times when I was with this group last week. I talked about how there were days during the writing of my book where I was so overwhelmed with self-doubt that I verged on having panic attacks, I'd look at other cookbooks or blogs and think I'd might as well give up now. I think every creative struggles with these demons and while I'm far from ridding myself of these feelings, I do think the key is to not let them stop you from doing what you love. Or more simply put (and in the words of my dear friend Grace), 'give that little gremlin the middle finger!'.
I have to admit I've felt a little lost on here since working on my book. This is a space I love and I've always used it as a place to share whatever has been inspiring me in that moment, but after the book I've been feeling like I can't post recipes on here unless they are truly amazing. The more followers I've gotten and recognition I've had has only increased this feeling of pressure to perform and my overthinking mind. I constantly have to remind myself of why I started this blog in the first place. It sure as hell wasn't to try and attract thousands of followers on social media or to win fancy awards (that's nice don't get me wrong, but has never been my motivation). The self-doubt has kept many recipes from appearing on here, even though I have all the photos for them and they are probably still of a much higher quality than most of the recipes I was posting a few years back, but for some reason or another I've managed to talk myself out of sharing them in the fear that they won't be seen as good enough. I was actually close to talking myself out of sharing this simple, but tasty recipe with you all today, but after witnessing my eight year old wolfing down a huge plateful and licking her lips, I thought what the heck. It may not be award winning, but it sure is good...
lemon-roasted asparagus + green beans w/ smoked paprika dressing
Toasted hazelnuts would also be lovely in place of the macadamias, as would macadamia nut oil in place of the olive oil.
Serves 4-6 as a side or 2-3 as a light lunch.
3 bunches asparagus (approx 500g), hard ends trimmed
2 big handfuls green beans (approx 300g), trimmed
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
olive oil, sea salt + freshly ground black pepper
1 small clove garlic
1 teaspoon runny honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
handful macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
handful of dill, roughly chopped (or use mint/parsley/coriander (cilantro))
lemon wedges, to serve
Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Lay asparagus and beans out onto two large baking trays, drizzle with olive oil, season well and scatter with lemon zest. Bake for 20-ish minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and golden.
Finely chop garlic clove, sprinkle with a little sea salt and use the side of your chefs knife to mash the garlic to a paste. Transfer to a bowl, add honey, smoked paprika, lemon juice and vinegar and whisk. Continue to whisk whilst drizzling in olive oil in a steady stream. Season well. I've left the dressing quite piquant to counteract the oiliness of the roasted veg, however you can increase the amount of olive oil in the dressing if preferred.
Remove asparagus and beans from the oven, transfer to a serving platter, scatter with macadamias and dill and spoon over dressing (any leftover dressing will store happily in a glass jar in the fridge for 5-7 days). Serve salad with extra lemon to squeeze over.
Note: I chopped the asparagus spears in half when serving, to make it easier to eat. In hindsight I probably should have just done this before roasting...