2015 went very quickly. So many things happened since June and I didn’t have much time to sit down and write long posts for the blog so when I did have time to write I tried to keep it short. Let’s see if this year I can manage this blog much better than in 2015!
Last year wasn’t an easy year for me. Back in June the oil crisis hit me because the project I was working on came to an end. The company I was working for for the past 9 years didn’t have another project and as I was self-employed I faced unemployment for the first time. Knowing that I was going to be out of work because the oil and gas market was dead and the British major oil and gas company was predicting three years for the market to get back to normal, this worried me a lot and I was preparing myself for big changes. Actually! I was welcoming the idea of a few months break so I could take my daughter out of the nursery and enjoy motherhood but the prediction, cuts and redundancies happening in most of the oil companies made me feel insecure. My husband was trying to make me see the other side of things and use this as an opportunity to enjoy the break but if you know an Aries person you may know me.
So back in the middle of May, before the end of the project, an invitation to work in Abu Dhabi reached me and after a few weeks, phone calls and interviews I was offered a position on a new project there. The package was good and after long and careful thought and spreadsheet calculations I decided to accept it. While the paperwork and contract was being prepared, I started researching about accommodation, nursery and removal plus all the things we would have to have done in terms of renting our home out in London, deciding what to take to Abu Dhabi etc etc…it was exciting and scary at the same time. I worked in Kazakhstan in 2009 with the temperature reaching -22C so I had had a bit of experience living as an expat but this time I was moving with all my family to a very,very hot country.
Then, rumours about oil companies reducing employees’ rates from 10 to 20% started and Oh No! after two weeks an email from my agency saying that the company could not keep the same offer, hit my mailbox. Phone calls and negotiations started again and I was already out of work. Should we riskit or not? And if… I decided to stay in London because I thought that even out of work was better and more sensible than moving abroad when the oil market was going through one the worst crisis.
For two months I had phone calls from agencies every day but I wasn’t happy with the offers until I got a job description that was more or less according to what I was looking for. I was invited for an interview. The interviewers spent an hour bombarding me with questions and going through every single detail of my CV.
After 3 days I was offered the job. I really thought I would start 2016 out of work but back in the first week of September I started my new job. It is far from home, much less responsibility and less stress, and I need to rely on trains but I am glad I have a job and I am now enjoying the time on the train to read and chat with my friends.
The restaurant at work is better than the one at my previous job and I have the option to go out and do some shopping during lunch time. However, there is nothing better than a homemade lunchbox.
This spinach gnudi appears very often in my lunch box because it is a light and nutritious meal that doesn’t make me feel heavy after lunch, especially when I spend most of my time sitting down. I usually make a grilled breast chicken to go with it so that keeps me full for a few hours. It is quite easy to prepare and this is also one of the reasons why I make it often. I must say it requires a lot of spinach and once cooked, reduces a lot so is perfect for 2 people. I prefer to make the sauce by roasting the tomato because of the flavour but you can make it using a saucepan on the hob.
- 250 Spinach , cooked and squeezed
- 200g fresh ricotta
- Salt and pepper
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- grated parmigiano
- rice flour, to coat
- 400g cherry tomatoes
- 1 large shallot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160C.
- Combine the tomatoes and shallot in a small baking dish. Pour oil, salt, and pepper and roast, stirring twice, until the tomatoes collapse, about 1 hour.
- Chop the spinach finely and place into a medium bowl. Add the ricotta, salt, pepper, egg, parmeggiano cheese. Mix well.
- Place some rice flour inside a plate.
- Using a teaspoon take some mixture out of the bowl and shape it with your hands in the size of a walnut. Coat each with rice flour.
- Arrange on a large plate.
- Bring a large pan of water to boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and drop in batches of 8 balls at a time.
- When they rise to the top, leave for 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm while you cook the rest.
- Take the hot tomato sauce out of the oven and pour the gnudi over. With a spoon carefully mix them and sprinkle some cheese on top.