It’s 4:08am and I’ve been staring at the wall for about 40 minutes. Since it’s clear I’m not going to get back to sleep, I thought I’d document the things running through my head as I sit here waiting for a time I deem appropriate to get up and make breakfast.
The topic of today’s insomniac thoughts is names, specifically weird/pretentious/’out there’ names. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the Harper’s Bazaar list of ‘most fashionable baby names from A to Z’ and was astounded at the level abuse that this magazine was condoning in the simple act of naming a child. Here’s a selection of my favourite names considered ‘in vogue’ at the moment. Middle class juice-diet-participating, yoga-followed-by-vodka-soda-at-lunch mums-to-be, take note.
(also, I’m so sorry if you’re name happens to be one of the list below. I mean no offence, but I think you’ll agree that your parents must have had a twisted sense of humour).
- Apollo (or indeed any Greek God. I’d go for Dionysus myself)
- Binx (This child’s life is one big preparation to become a regular on Made in Chelsea)
- Chanel (or indeed any designer; Dior, Gucci – wait, those are genuinely on the list too…)
- Dree (was this child named after the first sound that came from its mouth?)
- Erdem (‘heard them’ said in a West Country accent)
- Fabiola (Urban Dictionary’s definition is ‘a girl who loves reeses and absolutely loves music. Also a skank’…)
- Gucci (I wasn’t joking before)
- Hermès (seriously, these kids are named after the handbag collection of their mother)
- Isabeli (because Isabella and Isabelle have been done far too much, so why not throw a spanner in the works with a different vowel ending. Much more exotic)
- Juergen (this child will be either a shot putter or a football manager in future)
- Kacper (not sure how I’d feel about having a synonym for shit in my name)
- Lake (River, a name I genuinely like, has become far too mainstream, so it’s time to look into alternative bodies of water. Next is Reservoir)
- Mert (B is quite close to M on the QWERTY keyboard, so I reckon they made a typo and decided to roll with it.)
- Nan (warning: family gatherings could get confusing with one)
- Olivier and Oscar (not unusual, but the fact they’re both suggested made me laugh. I like Bafta myself)
- Roksanda (Like a pretending-to-be-more-rock’n’roll version of Roxy, Roksanda has her hair dyed pink at the salon in Mayfair and wears the Prada version of Doc Martins)
- Suvi (I’m looking at my keyboard and there are no legit typos that can justify this one)
- Tory (as if it wasn’t obvious enough already)
- Ulyana (Scandi is all the rage right now. Sven didn’t make the cut disappointingly)
- Victoire (also on the list: Vika and Viktor; anything but the run-of-the-mill Victor)
- Wes (After Fabiola, Roksanda and every designer in the Harrods handbag department, what the hell is Wes doing in this list?)
- Yohji (is this a Pokemon or something)
- Zahara (like the desert, darling. You know, the Zahara, where we stayed in the eco-resort last summer)
So thank you, Harper’s Bazaar. If anything, I have to commend your creativeness. My housemates and I were talking about baby names last night (hence why it was on my mind this morning), and we actually came up with a few suggestions we think should be added to the list, courtesy of our kitchen supplies. Top of the list were Polenta, Paprika, Arborio, Granola, and Nestlé. You’re welcome.
Today’s recipe is one posted a few days ago that I dedicated to the Cook for Syria campaign – a really fantastic fundraising idea, aiming to raise money for the UNICEF Syria Relief Fund and educate people on the pretty amazing world of Syrian cuisine. There are tonnes of ways to get involved – there are events all around London, pop-ups and specials in selected restaurants were a % of the profit goes to the cause, or you can host your own Cook for Syria supper club to raise money yourself. Have a look at their site here – the cookbook is coming out soon as it promises to be pretty fab.
This is my Cook for Syria recipe – roasted aubergine drenched in tahini yoghurt dressing, with toasted seeds, raisins, chilli garlic sautéed broccoli and coriander. Good for a side or on its own. I don’t claim it to be particularly authentic – I just love the flavours, which are reminiscent of the Middle East.
Roasted Aubergine with Tahini Yoghurt Dressing and Chilli Broccoli
1 Aubergine, cut in half lengthways
Oil, to brush
3 tbsp full fat Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp tahini (more or less, to taste)
The juice of half a lemon
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp honey
A handful of mixed nuts and seeds
A small handful of raisins or dried cranberries (or barberries but these are harder to come by)
A handful of tender stem broccoli
Chilli flakes, to taste
Seasoning, to taste
Coriander, to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c fan. Brush the cut side of the aubergines with oil, and place face down on a baking tray. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until very soft and slightly charred.
- Meanwhile, mix the yoghurt, lemon juice, tahini, honey, 1 clove of crushed garlic and seasoning. Adjust to taste, and thin down with a little water until the desired consistency. I like mine just a little thicker than pourable.
- Heat a pan on medium and toast the nuts and seeds. Set aside.
- Place the pan back on the heat and add a little oil. Add the garlic and broccoli, and sauté until soft. Add chilli flakes and seasoning to taste.
- Once cooked, serve the aubergine and broccoli with the yoghurt tahini dressing dolloped on top, and add the raisins/cranberries, toasted seeds and chopped coriander.