Wednesdays see me spend the morning at Headway, where I cook and take selfies, apparently. As I have said before, it's great to be able to contribute for once and make dinner, so Amy does not have to, and gets a break.
This week it was a dish I have done before at Headway; parsnip, orange and chestnut soup, so at least it was familiar to me. I would love to take the credit for being organised enough to buy all of the ingredients last Sunday, when we did our 'big' shop for the week. I feel all grown up now we do 'big' shops.
As I have said before, I have never made soup completely from scratch, and if I'm honest, I wasn't really sure how it was done. So I have definitely learned new skills here, which I did not know before this experience. So there have been plenty of plus points to it. Maybe I will bring out my own line of soups now.
Today, I was working with Roxy in the kitchen, who is brilliant, she is such good fun, and reminds me a bit of my own mum, which is nice, as she has a similar cheeky sense of humour. All of the staff, or helpers at Headway, are great; patient, considerate, thoughtful and understanding. Roxy and I always have a good chat about rugby too and how Gloucester are doing. There was plenty to talk about today with the last match of the season taking place last weekend and their director of rugby, Nigel Davies, being sacked, following a poor Premiership campaign.
I managed to chop up the parsnips using the special Headway chopping board; which has special spikes on it, so you can hold down whatever you are trying to chop and use the knife with the other hand, my stronger right hand.
I think this unique invention should be released on the open market for everyone to use; maybe a celebrity chef like Jamie Oliver or Gordan Ramsey, could endorse it. Maybe it is already out on the market, and I was just unaware of it, until my injury, which shows how my eyes have been opened to the world around me since.
Next, I put the chopped up parsnips on a baking tray with some oil and pop it in the oven to roast for 20 minutes. While that is all happening, I chop up the carrots and shallots into quarters and put them in a frying pan with oil to cook. It is difficult to hold the pan handle and control it with my weaker left hand but today my grip and fingers felt a little stronger, and looser, probably because of the swimming I did yesterday, after getting a good water workout. This is definitely another benefit I now see from swimming, which I did not appreciate before. Amy will be happy, being a south-coast girl.
One thing I forgot to mention is before I start cooking, whether that is at the beginning, or after the 11am tea break, is how difficult it is to put on and tie an apron, with your hands behind your back when you can't see it.
Another thing I have neglected to mention is today I shared the kitchen with two blokes called Wayne and Earl, who have fantastic Caribbean accents, with the cooking pallet to match. Everyone outside the kitchen kept popping their heads around the door to see what was being made because of the symphony of flavours being produced, which were circling around the whole building. Wayne says he will give me the recipe, I can't wait to try it.
Being at Headway reminds me how complex brain injuries are and how often misunderstood. Brain injuries can affect speech, language, personality, temperature control, social interaction skills and so much more we never think about. I feel my social interaction has definitely been affected, I find it hard to do normal things like order a coffee, or start up a conversation with someone over lunch. I sometimes wish I could wear a T-shirt saying 'the reason I don't make eye contact with you is because I've had a brain injury' it would save a lot of people wondering if I'm being rude or not.
Thanks for reading