New Year’s Resolution or Revolution!

It’s in between time. Almost New Year. Easy to get lost in a no man’s land of dreams for the future, reflecting on the past. All the daily drama of a ridiculous power fight seem a long time ago and soon will be part of last year’s story. If I have a NYR it is this – before saying anything, let it pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? !!

Letting go is an interesting thing. I read recently in the British Heart Foundation magazine an article by a woman who, like me, had to alter her life so much so that many friends disappeared. It seems that it’s not possible to be interesting enough if one doesn’t partake in alcohol consumption in order to socialise. Although I’ve never been a serious or heavy drinker, I am more aware now than ever, just how much alcohol has played a role in my life, in culture, in work. Be a part or miss out. It now feels like so much time has been lost to the dramas that alcohol induces in people, those strange behaviours. But it’s best to leave it all behind.

I wonder too if people are afraid of someone with heart failure. Which is ridiculous and laughable. If we haven’t learned to face death as  mature adults through losing significant others, then we are  truly in greater trouble than the person in front of us fuelled by medications! I am not feart of the future or any person. Things are different now – that is all.

I’m using this precious time to write a second book, research and create a piece of art for my second OCA assignment, connect with new people similar of situation, playing with needle felting, embroidery and felt. The love of colour, art, yarn, books, sustains me day to day.

Then there are dreams of far away places. Keep making, writing, dreaming.

Healthy hearty cuisine – today’s is coleslaw (some have said my coleslaws are epic!) – adding cranberries (dried), walnuts, apple, to cabbage, carrot and red onion. Zero-fat yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, pepper. Enjoy the zing and crunch!

Felt Acorns via Pinterest

Festive Rice Pudding for a Fairy Tale Feast

Sunday morning and I haven’t made a rice pudding yet. I have been mulling over the ingredients, starting with searching out various recipes around the world. Yes, rice pudding is global!

We often dismiss this dessert as a humble dish, but certain ingredients will make a pudding incredibly more-ish.

My mother’s version was simply to simmer it on the hob in full fat milk, then add sugar if needed, at the table. Nanna would bake hers, including knobs of butter – everyone seems to agree that the skin is best!

Today I will make a Festive Rice Pudding for a Fairy Tale Feast with

 unsweetened almond milk – 6 cups to 1 cup of rice

chopped dates, dried figs would be nice too – no need for sugar

vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest

butter

A dash of Chambord black raspberry liqueur

It will be baked for two hours low heat.

I am anticipating a festive aroma!

The most decadent version was served to me in the Highlands of Scotland. A Lady Claire MacDonald recipe laden with cream and butter!

Persian interpretations are perhaps the most famous – one recipe has milk, one does not. Rose water and cardamon are added, then the dish is adorned with rose petals, almonds and more. See Shir Berenj and Sholeh Zard https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/331999803767086537/

I found another recipe on instagram from Chile with the naughty addition of condensed milk (okay once a year!) Rick Stein has share the Mexican version on his latest jaunt. And please let’s not forget honey, which is made for this sweet dessert.

My culinary reading for the festive season is Nigel Slater’s The Christmas Chronicles.

Other books on the coffee table include:

Marco Polo – from Venice to Xanadau

Norse Mythology

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Plus a couple in the fantasy and magic realism genres arriving in the post soon.

I intend to watch international films throughout winter – the real, the magical.

Links:

Rick Stein’s recipe from Mexico:

https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/mexican-rice-pudding-with-honeycomb

Nigel Slater:

https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008260194/the-christmas-chronicles/

fairy tale feast

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa

I don’t need very much at all this year, if anything. But it has come to my attention that you seem to not know what I like lately. Here’s a list of ayes and nays, I know your team take the time to read people’s blogs.

When it comes to booze, only a good red wine will do, nothing else, but I’d rather a darned fine olive oil.

I like dark chocolate cherry liqueurs at this time of year, salt-free pistachios, hazelnuts, brazil nuts. In fact a bag of nuts in shells is fine. I put them in a bowl along with a nutcracker, which has been in the family since the 1960’s.

Dried figs and dates – yum!  I can cook with dried fruit, as well as for nibbling on. No cheeses, sweets, general chocolates.

Have checked the spice cupboard and we could do with star anise, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, cloves and saffron, peppercorns.

Please don’t bring pickles and chutneys, I’m pernickety about vegetable matter in jars!

spices