I am, without doubt, a comfort eater. I would love - absolutely love - to be one of those people who, when under stress, lose their appetite. Reclining on a chaise longue like a Victorian heroine, sniffing smelling salts and shuddering, "Oh no, I really couldn't" when there is the mere suggestion of a consommé for supper. People who, in the midst of a break up or a house move or a broken nail drop half their body weight overnight.
Not me. I am of a more, shall we say, robust, constitution, and my reaction to anything in life, but especially to stress, is to eat. The phrase comfort food takes on even more significance as it is comfort I am seeking, in its most basic form. As we were preparing to emigrate, packing up houses, saying goodbyes, both Andy and I came down with what we now suspect was swine flu and felt just horrific. Yet still, I ate on. Anything that is pleasant and can take my mind, if even for a second, off the strains around me. That is my version of coping.
As we're now on our fifth (or sixth? I've genuinely lost count) move in seven years, I wish I could say I've got better at this but no; I am a walking testament to the fact that moving house is one of the most stressful things in life to live through. BUT! We have finally, finally managed to find somewhere that is not even "that'll do" but is, in fact, just lovely. I will be boring extensively on this subject over the next month, but suffice to say, we're happy, and I'm sleeping better than I have done in a couple of months.
So, I am still eating, but I've regained my sanity enough to know that if I do insist on continuous refuelling, I should at least make an effort to make it the good stuff. I made a lovely pumpkin soup the other day (3 litres for the bargain price of $2 for all the ingredients - it really did tick all the boxes) and, in my favourite spirit of waste not, want not, I roasted up the seeds to be my snack of the day.
Who am I kidding? Of the day? They didn't last 10 minutes. But, as they were so nutty and delicious and moreish, it was for the right reasons rather than the wrong ones.
Seeds from 1 pumpkin
1.5 teaspoons olive oil or similar (I used chilli & lime infused macadamia oil)
1.5 teaspoons coarse sea salt
0.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
Remove all the pumpkin flesh from the seeds and rinse well. Soak overnight in salted water - this makes the seeds easier to digest.
The next day, preheat your oven to 160C.
Mix the oil, salt and paprika with the seeds. Spread them in one layer on a baking sheet.
Bake them for 20 minutes, shaking them half way through.