Tomorrow, I start a dietetics placement.
The thought of taking all of your theoretical knowledge and putting it into practice out in the real world (and being assessed on it!) can be pretty daunting for even the most self-assured person. For me there is an extra layer – I failed this same placement six months ago.
But, like the delicious gluten-free pizza bases I’ve made this week, I’ve been working on turning that whole hot mess of an experience into a success, because I entirely believe that it was the right thing to happen at the time, and have been in a process of learning and growing from the experience.
Whilst I make a point of being open about failing my placement, I know that for a lot of people it would be considered a negative experience, and something that they want to cover up. For me, the choice to talk about it came alongside the choice (in a sense) to be happy. I had just come from an extremely negative place mentally, and I was tired. I didn’t want to be that person, and I felt deep within me that if I turned it into a secret it could only be something negative and shameful. So I went about turning it into something positive (which, long story short, led me to Germany earlier this year), and remembering all the good things in my life.
…I’m no expert in it, but here is some stuff I’ve been learning about pretty recently from friends, books and psychologists. I’ve been getting interested in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and how it can be useful for a range of mental issues, such as depression and anxiety (in their many and varied forms). Apologies for the lack of referencing; by now it’s all a bunch of stuff from my brain and Google. But if I’ve stuffed anything up feel free to correct me. 🙂
Basically, situations don’t immediately cause emotions – our reactions are actually caused by our thoughts and underlying beliefs. So if something is making you have strong, negative feelings, it could be helpful to question what thoughts and beliefs are causing that, and whether they’re helpful or even true. For example, I could be thinking (and it crosses my mind sometimes), that I’m going to fail like I did last time. 😣 This isn’t helpful because it causes me to worry without really doing anything productive (and it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy). It also isn’t true – what is the evidence for this? There were many things that contributed to last year’s situation, and most of them have changed. A more helpful way of thinking would be that I am going to a different place, with different people, and have prepared differently, so there is a good chance the outcome will be different. 🙂
My recipe below is me making something delicious out of a failure – challenging the belief that my gluggy rice was a failure, and the end of the road. I hope it becomes a metaphor for turning my failed prac into success.
Turns out I’m not very good at cooking rice; at least not the Brown Basmati that exists in my house. But when life gives you gluggy rice, make pizza! Or something. After a day in the fridge, my leftover rice was a solid ball, which led me to wonder whether I could use it as some kind of bread substitute, and thus, the idea for the brown rice pizza bases was born.
Of course, when I intentionally tried to fail at making rice, it turned out okay.
But by cooking it a little longer and mashing it with my spoon it was pretty easy to stuff up.
What difference did it make?
I’ve compared my brown rice pizza bases to a couple of commercially available pizza bases (gluten-free and wheat-based). There wasn’t really a nutritional improvement, but I’ll console myself knowing that it wasn’t necessarily what I set out to do this time around. 😉
The Recipe – Brown Rice Pizza Bases
- 1/2 cup brown basmati rice
- 1/2 tsp salt + pinch of salt
- Olive oil
- Rinse rice; place in a (preferably non-stick) pot with about a litre of water and 1/2 tsp salt.
- Bring to the boil, then cook for 12-14 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until rice is soft (it’s okay for it to be a little overcooked – the gluggier the better in this case). Drain.
- Keep cooked rice in pan and put back on the heat. Evaporate any excess water off until you have a sticky ball, stirring through extra salt to taste and mashing with a wooden spoon as you go.
- Press or roll into a thin layer on a lined tray*. Cover and refrigerate until set and hopefully slightly less sticky. Preheat oven to 220°C.
- Brush/spray with a little olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until top is crispy. Flip over so the bottom is the oiled side.
- Top however you like, and bake for a further 10-15 minutes, until cheese is melted/toppings are cooked.
*Pro tip: this rice mix was pretty sticky, so I recommend covering it with a sheet of greaseproof or baking paper to press/roll it into the tray.
My pizza toppings:
- Pizza sauce (my quick version = a heaped dessertspoon of tomato paste + 1 clove crushed garlic + sprinkle of dried oregano & basil + splash of olive oil)
- Cheddar cheese
- Baby spinach
- Capsicum or jalapenos
- Fresh tomato
- Red onion
I tried this twice, and both times the edges were crispy. I think the ability of the base to hold its toppings depended on the size of the slice – smaller slices fared better. Similarly, when I doubled the quantity of rice the second time around, it was difficult to get the same rice ball consistency because more rice = more water retained = softer.
In my opinion, pizza is all about the toppings – I loved the garlicky sauce, and when I fed it to my parents they couldn’t immediately guess what the base was made of (which means success in a Secret Fibre recipe!). I enjoyed it and they enjoyed it, so I call it successful. Definitely nicer than eating the overcooked rice as-is! 😉
Any gluten-free friends out there in particular, let me know what you think! And to everyone – how have you turned failure into success?
Note: I still want to keep up my New Year’s resolution and post every second Sunday, but I will forgive myself if I don’t, or they’re not perfect, because I know where my priorities have to be. 😉