Yesterday a plane crashed with 150 people on board in the foothills of the French Alps. Today, I’m 38,000 ft in the air; we’ve just reached the altitude of the plane that crashed yesterday had before it went into a fast, eight minute descent.
It’s easy to feel immense sorrow for all those involved in the Air Asia crashes, but closer to home, in European airspace, on a German plane that apparently crashed arbitrarily, with no bad weather reported, the risk seems greater. Taking a flight is still immensely safe, but it’s a little like playing poker. You have to go all-in to have any fun. Once you’re on the plane, that’s it.
I’m on my way to Moscow, but since hearing the news about the plane crash yesterday, I’ve felt jittery. There was once upon a time when that was it – I wouldn’t have set my alarm at 4am and I wouldn’t have gone to the airport. This wasn’t that long ago- just last January Sam and I were booked in to go to Morocco and I got as far as the plane. I chatted to the pilot, and then I calmly got off and took the bus to Amsterdam instead.
I’m an aviophobe, one who has spent their entire life trying to overcome it. Want to hear the hilarious twist of fate? I am, by profession, a travel journalist. I’m fascinated by aviation, new plane models, runways, airports, and, I guess, the destination. My job has been formed by my fear- my need to ask questions and to reassure myself that “everything will be ok.”
Fear of flying for me at least, is fear of fear itself. That lack of control when the plane is bouncing through the clouds, and the pure terror when the plane hits an airpocket and the captain comes over the tannoy with a strained voice: “Cabin crew, take your seats immediately.”
Nothing can floor me more than that – grief, physical pain, love. Nothing affects me more than inflight fear. So, it seemed cutting that the night before getting on a plane where I knew my stomach would be roiling, I should make something hearty, filling, and nutritious. To calm the nerves and cleanse the soul, so karmic turbulence wouldn’t hit!
Gnocchi with avocado sauce
Ok, I get it. This looks a bit green, and green doesn’t scream “yay!” It screams “health kick.” But hey, the blogs called Fly Green Vegan and I’m doing all of those things, so tough shit.
1 cup gnocchi, boiled for three minutes until tender
One large, ripe avocado
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Enough almond milk to make it liquid
A handful of basil leaves
Salt and pepper
1 cup button mushrooms
1 leek, sliced
1 clove of garlic
Add the chopped leek into a pan with a dash of oil and cook until softened. Add a dash of water to help things along. Add seasoning, a tsp of stock, and mushrooms. Cook for a further 5 minutes.
In another bowl, blend the avocado, almond milk, lemon juice, garlic and basil together until you have a liquid the consistency of double cream.
Add the avocado mixture to the mushrooms and leeks, and tip in the cooked gnocchi. Stir, and season to taste.
Hopefully this will quell any pre-flight terror you have!