If you follow me on social, you probably know that I have not had the best week this week. I skipped my usual Wednesday post as I’ve been feeling a bit burned out. Everything felt like pushing water uphill and I felt like I had nothing left in my tank and I needed to recharge and not think about cooking or recipes (haven’t quite succeeded at that as you can see) for a little while in order to keep on bringing value to this space.
I’m not a robot, although sometimes the way my recipes are delivered into your inbox or show up in your feeds may seem like I am 😉 . Sometimes even I feel like I am! I appreciate technology for all the things it has made possible. If not for technology, I would still be stuck in an office cubicle pouring over timelines, resources and costs of advertising campaigns for a product I did not really care about, wondering where I’ve gone wrong in life to be doing THIS for a living. Don’t get me wrong, by many modern standards it was a job that many people would be happy in, but for me personally it was absolutely soul destroying.
Thanks to technology, and a lot of hard work, I can call THIS my job now and I love it but like every job this one also has a bit of a flipside. The Internet is an insatiable beast that you need to feed on a regular basis in order for your work to be seen by anyone. Once you stop, you very quickly get downgraded by Google and to then dig yourself out of that hole takes months, even years and the less your work gets seen the easier it is to succumb to thinking ‘what’s the point of all that anyway’ and give up.
This is where being a human rather than a recipe generating robot makes it tricky. If you are having a week filled with anxiety and self-doubt and feel like you are incapable of producing anything of value, you cannot just simply take time out. Google does not care WHY you’ve stopped posting, it simply notices that you did and downgrades all your work accordingly as you are ‘seen’ as someone unreliable. It would be better for you to post a picture of your cat (she is adorable but still…) or a recipe on how to brew tea than nothing at all. This is where the pressure is coming from and I would be lying if I said it doesn’t get to me from time to time.
So to appease Google and to hopefully inspire you to try something different, I’ve thrown together a simple summer salad based on two of my old recipes. As you may know, I am a massive fan of fennel (I buy several bulbs a week) – a vegetable that’s a little underappreciated here in the UK. It has a distinct but mild flavour so it does well in so many contexts – both savoury and sweet. It’s great in a simple slaw, in a creamy pasta and in a simple late summer-inspired soup too. I also love it paired with fruit (cherries and grapes, for example), which is what this salad is – it’s a happy union of fennel and blackberries. The mildly sweet, aniseed taste of crunchy fennel shards contrasts with tangy and soft blackberries, which are present both whole and blitzed into a beautiful, burgundy red dressing. A bit of bitter rocket, fresh basil and a smattering of satisfyingly crunchy hazelnuts and the side dish is complete, yet requires little effort. I hope you’ll enjoy it.
PS: If you make my fennel salad with blackberries don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @lazycatkitchen and use the #lazycatkitchen hashtag. I love seeing your takes on my recipes!