On Tuesday, after getting up early for a morning run with my sister and bashing through a full day’s work from a very uncomfortable dining table, I took myself on a date. Everybody’s pandemic-and-lockdown experience has varied slightly and, for me, I’ve craved more alone time. It’s a real privilege to live at home and have seen my family so much in a time where people have been distanced, but I’ve always thrived being on my own – now more than ever.

Taking yourself on a date not only lets you carve out necessary ‘me time’, but also lets you treat yourself how you’d like to be treated. Sure, being surprised by a wonderful partner is elating, but it’s important to return to yourself too and figure out what makes you tick. Remember those early-days stages of dating where you feel butterflies in your tummy because they thoughtfully planned out a great evening? Or when you spent days and days making preparations for your turn at date night? Recreate that, for you. It’s truly no less than you deserve.

After packing away my laptop and getting in plenty of playtime with Milo, I rustled up a simple dinner, bundled it up in a keep-warm-keep-cool bag, rolled up a blanket and filled a tote bag with my current read, my beloved Nintendo Switch and Milo’s essentials. Time to take myself on a date, i.e. plan an evening full of everything I’d ordinarily love to do with someone else. There’s real courage and clarity, somehow, in being able to do all of this, alone.


My Tuesday Date Night Vegan Duck Rice Bowl

Ingredients

  • Jasmine rice
  • A handful of Linda McCartney vegetarian duck
  • Spring onions, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • A few cloves of garlic
  • Two teaspoons of hoisin sauce
  • Your choice of cooking oil
  • Grapeseed oil

Method

  1. Prepare your garlic confit by submerging entire heads of garlic in grapeseed oil and placing in an oven for 2 hours at 200°C.
  2. Wash, prepare and cook your rice.
  3. Stir fry your vegetarian duck in a tablespoon of oil for around 6 minutes. I use the frozen bag! Add the hoisin sauce and stir through for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the spring onions and stir through.
  5. Serve with rice and drizzled garlic confit on top.

There’s really not much better than dining alfresco, a warm breeze in the air, and winding down with a short read before a wander around the lake. A just-so crumpled picnic blanket to stretch out on, bare feet (my slip-on sandals just beside), glorious 7pm sun and just enough outdoorsy-ness to distract me from my thoughts; it was the perfect way to spend a Tuesday in June.

I couldn’t recommend it enough.

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