The Birthday List: Learn how to cook an artichoke.

How to Cook an ArtichokeConfession: I’ve been avoiding my birthday list.

My birthday was more than two months ago and I hadn’t looked at it since I posted it in March.

I’m not sure why this is. Probably because my life has felt full of to-do lists. Working overtime. Writing my book. Managing this site. Planning our wedding. Settling into our new flat. Growing my business. I’m constantly checking lists, ticking things off, and adding more on, so managing my free time by a list hasn’t felt very appealing.

I’ve been craving adventure and spontaneity, so I’ve just put my birthday list to the back of my mind and even considered ditching it completely.

How to Cook an ArtichokeIt was Matthew who suggested we cook an artichoke – one of the items from my list.

I was excited by the idea. It was a simple way to tick off one of my birthday goals. And it was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, hence why it’s on the list.

That’s the thing about birthday lists. They look like a to-do list but they’re all about prioritising the experiences you want to have and being intentional with how you spend your time. I take a pretty flexible approach to them, trying to tick off a couple of things a month (when I’m not avoiding it completely) but not getting stressed out when I don’t. I add things on when it feels good and forget about those I’m no longer keen on. And then there’s usually a marathon stretch of trying to do as many items as possible in the weeks leading up to my birthday.

Avoiding my birthday list wasn’t bringing me more spontaneity and adventure because when I take a break from the to-do lists, I just want to crash. The list is a gentle nudge to fit in those non-essential things that bring more joy and variety to my life.

How to Cook an ArtichokeLike cooking an artichoke.

They’re an intimidating vegetable with their spiky leaves and inaccessible fleshy heart. Neither Matthew and I had ever eaten one that didn’t come out of a jar first. But we watched this video and learned that the whole thing is rather simple, if a bit labourious considering how much you get to eat.

  • Start by peeling the stem with a vegetable peeler and trim it to around an inch.
  • Cut the spiky ends off the large leaves and then slice off the end to take the spikes off the smaller leaves.
  • Steam or roast for up to 40 minutes. Check on it regularly after 20. When a leaf pulls out easily, they’re done.

I hadn’t realized how little of the plant you eat. You just the scrape off the fleshy part of the leaf with your teeth and discard the rest. You can also dig out the hairy choke to eat the soft heart underneath all of the leaves.

We dipped ours in hummus and a truffle balsamic reduction, and then used the heart for a salad.

How to Cook an ArtichokeRocking out with your artichoke before you cook it is optional but highly recommended.

Have you ever cooked an artichoke? Would you like to give it a try?

Love, long weekends, and 80s rock ballads,


  1. Hahhaahah I think you probably picked the hardest thing from your birthday list! Actually I didn’t know what a birthday list was until now. Is it yet another bullet list of things you wish to do before you turn one year older? Sounds daunting to me :P I don’t think I’ll do a birthday list for my birthday, unless it’s a wishlist. Which I already did a month ago and I already gave it to my friends to give them enough time to collect all the gifts on the list. They are all books and there’s 30+ on it, it might take time so I gave it to them one month in advance :P btw, I often cook artichokes because I love them. I cook them in a slightly different way. I peel the hard leaves (that make almost half of the artichoke!) I cut the artichoke in a half and stuff rach part with a mix of garlic, salt and other spices of choice. I put them in a pot, pour some evo in them and add water (not much, it doesn’t have to cover them). I then make them cook slowly for 40 minutes/1 hour. They come out very soft and tasty! Of course cut the stem in smaller pieces and cook them with the flowers too! we also fry artichokes, it’s a typical recipe in my city (Rome,lT) but I must admit I have no idea of how to fry them. Happy birthday anyway even if it’s a bit late :D

  2. Oh and don’t forget to add fresh mint leaves to the stuffing! Yummy!

  3. Hehe I cook them all of the time! I used to boil them and just HATED cooking them. Now I bake them wrapped in foil with lemon juice, avocado oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. It’s amazing and it’s sooo easy. :)

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