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

 

 

Confessions of a lost appetite

So many things are coming to a head and amongst all the action I seem to have lost my appetite. I have decided to focus on a limited selection of fruits, breads, white fish and eggs for now and will be reading some Ottolenghi for inspiration. His Middle Eastern palate  combines sweet with savoury – it all looks delicious, and he has a new recipe book out.

It’s disappointing when you spend time making soup, pita, salads, only to find that everything smells and tastes like cardboard – like Aldi does when you walk in! It’s all the cereal boxes under the lights and lack of air conditioning. Mr Fluff however is delighted that there are healthy blueberry muffins in the house. Who ever heard of a cat eating blueberries (apparently it’s okay for them to). They are well-hidden in a sealed box after cooling.

It’s also been hard going in to work at a place where the needs of others are huge and their self absorbed attitude and behaviour is draining on a daily basis. I no longer have the capacity or patience for underpinning and supporting flailing arts organisations or boards of staid oldies who won’t do the right things to help themselves. Going round in circles and not  taking  a risk isn’t my style.

So, as they say, be the change you want to see. Constant evolving is where it’s at, there is no sitting still. In many ways I feel quite robust at the moment, not defeated, but adapting. Dry sunny autumn days call for walks where I spot all the apple and pear trees dropping their fruits and it seems no one heeds what is all around them.

Maybe it’s time for this nation to change its attitude to the meaning of life. It doesn’t exist on a supermarket shelf, a screen, or in a vat of alcohol, it’s out there.

Travel is imminent – looking forward to a change of scene.

heartstitchedbuddah

 

 

Crumble Season

It promises to now be a balmy early September but I’m ready for autumn cooking.

This apple and almond crumble is probably the most delicious I’ve made, although there will also be plum and then pear and ginger to follow.

You will need:

One large round tevsija or similar oven dish

To serve 4 people or keep in the fridge for follow-on meals and a breakfast treat with yoghurt.

4 large cooking apples – peeled and chopped

2 dessert apples – peeled and chopped

2 tsps cinnamon and 1 tsp vanilla extract

Light brown granulated sugar – about a small cup

Put all these ingredients in a pan and simmer until the apples are soft and a little mushy.

For the topping:

1 cup of almond flour

Then half a cup of  plain flour – any kind – ordinary, GF, wholemeal

1  cup of porridge oats

1 tblsp ground almonds

2 tblsps brown sugar

Vegan margarine or dairy butter – about 250g

Rub all this together until you get a rough crumbled texture.

Then add a good handful of flaked almonds and stir.

Pop the apples in the oven dish followed by the crumble topping.

Bake on a medium heat for 45 minutes.

VVG

Branches of an Almond Tree by VV Gogh