Some lessons come easy, some a little harder. Lessons relating to parenting usually follow the path of the latter. This year, in terms of parenting at least, I have learnt how to measure success, and it might not be quite what you expect.
If you follow Pomegranate Days on Facebook, you may know that this week’s post was somewhat delayed due to me spending two days in Oudsthoorn. I was there in my official capacity as the founding member of the Pretty Girl Trampoline Gymnastic Team Supporters Club.
Friends, unless your child does gymnastics or perhaps a similar non-school type sport you may not fully understand me when I say that gymnastics demands a level of commitment to the sport from parents, akin to, if not exactly the same as that of the actual gymnast. Let’s just say that it’s all fun and games until you find yourself driving four hours across country to watch what amounts to a total of about 20 minutes of actual gymnastics.
Now for the past four years Pretty Girl has run happily off to practice absolutely loving the trampoline. Last year she had a smashing year. She was up on the podium at many of the events, she shone at every competition and she finished the year off on a high, even competing in the SA Gym games.
This year for reasons we still do not know Pretty Girl’s confidence came crashing down. Jumps that she did fearlessly last year became almost impossible. Going to competitions were torture for her (and also for me). Each time we headed towards a competition venue she would grow quiet and awfully pale.
Every time she took to the floor she would land on her bum, or she would jump off from one foot, or she would land on one foot, or she would pause halfway through her routine. These are all gymnastic errors which earn you the dreaded zero score; the ultimate gymnastic failure. Honestly, it was hard to watch. My heart would break watching the tears fall down her little cheeks and knowing that despite all the hours of practice, the giant had quite simply won again.
We have had countless heart to heart moments where I have reminded her of the importance of positive self-talk, of believing in yourself. We have spoken about working hard and being disciplined and being a good sportsman. We have never spoken about giving up. And my Pretty Girl has cried tears of frustration and disappointment more times than I care to count this year.
So, when I watched her walk out onto that competition floor this past Thursday, to take part in what is the biggest competition of the season at provincial level, my heart caught in my throat.
And then it came. My lesson: To learn the true measure of success.
Pretty Girl had a smashing day. She landed every jump. She landed on her feet. She sailed through her routines presenting at the end with her head held high and her smile true. Did she win? No. Was she even close? No. In fact, she was scored pretty much in the middle of the group. But dear friends, for me it was a win in every way. And the reason I can call it a win has to do with the measure and not the result.
Pretty Girl had to dig deeper, push harder and really, really fight to get her confidence back. And if we can measure success by grit and determination, good sportsmanship and a remarkable attitude rather than by only the numbers in the result, then I would say we knocked this one right out of the park. It was a fabulous day to be a mom.
What has all this to do with a Curried Beef Pie? Well, absolutely nothing really. The detailed post I had planned regarding the nuances of curry just seemed so trifle in comparison; I know you will forgive me.
The Curried Beef Pie is actually great though, I really hope you try it.
PS Is it just me or does that little pie bird look like its crying for help?
- 45 – 65 ml (3 T- ¼ C) sunflower oil
- 1 kg beef, cubed (chuck, goulash, rump or similar)
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 whole cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 ml (1 t) ground coriander
- 5 ml (1 t) ground cumin
- 5 ml (1 t) paprika
- 5 ml (1 t) cayenne pepper
- 65 ml (¼ C) plain yogurt
- 375 ml (1½ C) water
- 2.5 ml (½ t) garam masala
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 250 g ready to roll puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and brown the meat cubes in batches. Set aside.
- In the same saucepan, add the onions and fry for a few minutes until the onions soften and begin to brown.
- Add the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon stick. Stir.
- Add the ginger and the garlic and fry for a few minutes more.
- Add the coriander, cumin, paprika and cayenne.
- Add the meat and any juices back to the pan. Stir well.
- Add the yoghurt, 15 ml (1 T) at a time, stirring well between each addition.
- Add enough of the water to cover the beef.
- Bring the curry to the boil, scraping all the browned spices off the sides and bottom of the pan.
- Cover with a lid and cook on low for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. (Alternatively transfer to a Wonderbag for 6 hours)
- Stir in the garam masala and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Transfer the curry to a casserole dish and cool.
- Roll out the pastry and cut it to fit the casserole dish. Place a layer of pastry over the curry and press it lightly with fingertips to secure it to the sides to the casserole dish by.
- Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake the pie in an oven that has been preheated to 180˚C for 25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp, golden and well risen.