As I found out the worst form of torture one can experience is too little night sleep. Your creativity goes out the window for starters. Why am I subjecting myself to something so terrible? you may ask.

My adorable infant, who’s always been a good sleeper from day one, decided two months ago she no longer wanted to sleep through the night. Hence we developed this great routine of wrapping her up in a blanket, cradling her in my arms, rocking back and forth, patting her back, giving her a bottle of warm milk and a dummy and this combination works really well. She falls asleep in my arms. As I can’t fall asleep sitting and am too worried that I might drop her if I do sleep, I try to put her down into her bassinette next to our bed.

That’s when her head pops up, eyes fully awake and a mouth that opens up to let out a huge “Whaaaaaaa!”.

Missing a few night’s of sleep would be tolerable but we are also in the dreary winter months. This past week it rained for days. The effect of sleepless nights combined with grey, wet weather is low energy. I don’t want to leave the house. I wish I could make like mama bears and hibernate all winter.

But I can’t. There are errands to run. Kids to take to daycare and pick up. Meals to prepare.

The only solution is to carry on feeling like a zombie. You are there but all you experience is a day without any colours, scents, sounds, anything to make your heart dance and sing. It’s an uninspired way to exist in the world.

Then something miraculous happened.

The rain stopped a couple days ago. Sunshine broke through the clouds. When you look up at the sky and it’s blue, that’s when you start to notice the flowers first in your backyard, then in your neighbourhood. Then you notice the birds that come to your balcony with their happy chirpy sounds and all’s right with the world once again.

How to celebrate the return of sunshine?

Stealing a Page From Noah’s Book

Someone who was tormented by rain – forty days and nights of it – was Noah from the Old Testament. Fortunately, he didn’t sit around and let the floods drown him and the animals around him. He built an ark and found a pair of animals, male and female of the species, stocked up on food and set sail.

Noah and his crew weathered the rain and wind for days and when they hit Mount Ararat (east of Turkey, pictured above) it was time to celebrate. Of course one can’t have a party without food. So Noah threw all of the remaining food, grains like wheat and barley, seeds like chickpeas and beans and dried fruit, apricots, figs, and boiled them all together to create the oldest desert known to mankind, Noah’s Pudding or Ashureh as we call it in Turkey.

There’s a very specific part of the year Ashureh is made in the Turkish households. During the first lunar month, called Muharrem, which falls in Autumn but the exact date cycling back and forth from September – November is when huge amounts of Ashureh are cooked and distributed to one’s neighbours. Slow Food website points out that Ashure symbolises peace and harmony among people and animals as Ashure is a vegan meal containing no animal products.

The recipe I found online wasn’t the best and my Ashure, which I’m spooning as I’m typing, is actually awful. I put all the essential ingredients, wheat, chickpeas (canned), beans (canned), apricots, figs, sugar, cinnamon and rose water (I must have my rose water. I’ll explain why…) but the missing ingredient? That was patience.

Somehow canned foods don’t work well in Ashure. You must be committed to boiling it for as long as it takes to soften the wheat and for the chickpeas and beans to release their starchiness. Without the proper patience and energy put into it, something that has the potential to be so delicious can end up a horrible waste.

But I don’t like waste, so I’ll eat it anyway and may try reboiling it to see if the texture and flavour improve.

All’s Well

Bringing together ingredients, boiling them and adding rose water were wonderful experiences which both warmed the chill of our house and brought wonderful aromas, especially from the rose water. Now, there’s definitely something to the saying “stop and smell the roses”. According to the Koran, Prophet Mohammad’s favourite scent was that of roses. Roses are world famous and we can all bring to mind how sweet roses smell.

Cooking with rose water elevated my mood and took me out of the zombie-like state of sleepless nights and hostile wet weather. Yes, I was complaining of draught but when it rains does it really have to pour?

Having gained some positivity in these past two days, I now have a solution to my sleeplessness problem.

My infant doesn’t sleep because, and this is so obvious, she doesn’t spend all of her energy during the day. We forgot the most important ingredient in raising children. Play!

‘All the world ‘s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ ~ Shakespeare

Now is the time to play. She has the role of the playful infant, I, the eager mum and we will play till we both have no choice but to sleep all night to restore our energy for another active day of play.

Fingers crossed this will happen. Maybe I need to make a vision board to ensure all goes according to my plan.

Over to you…

What are some foods you prepare that help you get into a better mood? I’m always looking for recipes, particularly Turkish ones, so please e-mail me