This whole ‘self-care’ thing has been popping up like a cartoon thought bubble lately. And, I’m not sure why, but just the term seems irritating to me, maybe its overuse has spread it too rough and thin somehow? There’s bound to be a year’s worth of psychological analysis right there. Anyway, usually cause to have a better look at something when I notice it gets under my skin like that.

First reaction, I don’t have time for self-care. Second reaction, Oh.

Irony is a little minx isn’t she? Time and the perceived lack of it is such a big one. I have a friend who figured she’d just rename things to strike up a more harmonious relationship with time, and so, ‘blessed is the new busy’ she said. Sounded like a brilliant plan. The next time I saw her after a ridiculously full week, ‘yeah’, she told me, ‘busy’s bullshit’. We got a decent laugh out of it. Maybe that was the point all along.

The idea of finding a new way to approach self-care without feeling selfish made me want to take my friend’s lead and just call it something entirely different though. Mostly because when I think about, or more to the point, feel self-care, it’s not the ‘let’s go shopping and buy lots of things’ kind, or a ‘stay home and eat Pringles all day’ scenario, it’s more about that aspect of self that just wants to know you’re on side, wants to be acknowledged as the stripped bare essence of who you are. No ‘should be / really better’ list, just the part of your self that seeks out the kind of analogue warmth that comes with small gestures; sitting in the Winter sunshine to drink your tea, closing your eyes for a moment when a favourite song shuffles itself to the top of your iTunes list, pulling on a pair of really, really warm homemade socks that you know will change your approach to the whole day, making a pot of soup from veggies in the garden by picking whatever comes across your path, pushing your face into the golden-hay smell of your horse’s neck, you get the idea. The things that sustain us rather than divert us. The things that may mean little to anyone else, but everything to you. No one else knows that stuff, which is why ‘being by your self’ is the best way I can explain self-care. Not in any solitary sense, not at all, but in the way you would stand by a buddy when they needed you most – it’s that.




Pig Pie (also known as Roasted Beetroot and Brown Rice Pie with Rye Pastry)

For the pastry:

3 cups organic wholemeal rye flour

4 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil

1 tsp Himalayan salt

room temperature rainwater

For the pie filling:

2 cups cooked organic brown rice

1 1/2 cups cooked organic black lentils

2 medium organic roasted beetroot, diced

2 cloves roasted garlic

2 tbsp organic black tahini

fresh tarragon, chopped

fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Using a 22cm diameter x 5cm high tart tin with removable base, prepare it by rubbing the inside base and sides with coconut oil, using your fingers to warm the oil as you work your way around the tin. Dust with flour and set aside.

To make the pastry, put the rye flour, salt and coconut oil into a food processor and blitz until the coconut oil has been ‘rubbed in’. Starting with a tablespoon at a time, add the rainwater while the food processor is going so you can see the dough come together in a ball. You will end up using about 5-6 tablespoons depending on the rye flour you have. It shouldn’t be sticky, but it should just stick together!

I always roll my pastry between two sheets of baking paper, just easier that way. Split off 2/3 of the dough and roll out for the base, leaving the other 1/3 for the top. Roll to a rough circle about 5mm thick. Pick up by rolling around your rolling pin and gently place into the tart tin, pushing the pastry into the corners and sides. Trim any excess pastry from the top, prick the base with a fork a few times and bake for 8-10 minutes until just set but not cooked through.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool while you prepare the filling.

I had left over rice and roasted beetroot already in the fridge which is the main reason I went with this combination, but you could really add any roasted veggies to any pulses and mix it with rice. Blitz about half of the cooked black lentils with tahini and the roasted garlic to give yourself a smooth puree to work through the rice and remaining lentils to hold them together. Add the fresh herbs. Season to taste.

Put half of the rice/lentil mixture into the pie base and then add the roasted  chunks of beetroot, followed by the remaining half of the rice mixture. This should be quite a snug fit to the top of the tin. 

Roll out your pastry lid, using the baking paper sheets to avoid sticking. Place the lid on the pie and seal by pinching it together along the top edge of the pastry base. With any leftover pastry you can make a piggie, or any similar well-loved animal  for the top.

Brush with a little soy milk and bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and starting to brown around the edges.

If you’re taking this on a picnic, leave it in the tin for easy transport, otherwise remove from the tin after about 10 minutes and serve with garden greens and a few blooms; nasturtium, calendula petals, fennel fronds etc.