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A Winter’s Tale.

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Not Shakespeare’s play, or the book by Mark Helprin, not even the songs by Queen or David Essex, although both are definitely worth a listen.

Just my own little Sunday story.

It has been unseasonably warm the last week or so. I’m a believer that winter has to be properly cold, to kill off bugs and other nasties, and I love winter, so I was a bit peeved about the warmer weather.

But today is colder, and I am not going anywhere, so I am doing the ‘slow’ thing today. I woke up, fed the cat and dog, made myself some coffee, and took myself and the coffee back to bed. Not to sleep, no. But it was the warmest place to be, so I read in bed for an hour before getting up and getting dressed.

I had to do a quick stop at a shop, unfortunately, but I needed one or two ingredients to make my and my SO’s favourite date and nut loaf. It is baking as we speak, and smells delicious. I am sorry that he is not here to share it with me, but I did make him one before he left to go back north.

I can not deny that I am feeling a bit out of sorts today. I had a wonderful long chat with my son in Ireland last night, but today I am missing him and my Canadian children fiercely. And even though I saw my son in SA about 2 weeks ago, and my SO as well, when the missing starts, it encompasses them all. It is in fact causing a pain in my chest and a constriction in my throat. So I am trying to rise above that by keeping sort of busy, but it will probably get the better of me sometime during the day… I will definitely go for a long walk with Daisy later, to get some good physical exercise too.

So that is basically my winter Sunday story. Not a very chirpy one, I know, but weekends on my own often result in these emotions.

But let me try and end on a positive note. Although it is colder today, the sun is shining outside, the birds sound deliriously happy because they are chirping away like crazy, and the date loaf is nearly ready to come out of the oven! I will be having at least two slices with some tea within the next hour – yum! I had a good night’s sleep, and I am still hearty and hale!

So all you good folk and gentle people, have yourself a wonderful Sunday, and be kind to yourself.

Rising to the occasion.

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Crusty loaf, fresh out of the oven, with mature cheddar and tomatoes.

This Monday didn’t start off too badly.

I had a good night’s sleep last night, after a few nights of being awake a lot. On Saturday night I was cold most of the night – I was curled into a ball all night. Why not add a blanket?, I hear you ask. I actually thought about that, but I kept thinking ‘I’ll warm up now’ – it just never happened. Also, the blanket I needed was still in its summer hiding place, which meant I had to get up, walk through the house and go and fetch it there, which was also never going to happen.

But last night I made sure I had the blanket thrown over the bed before bedtime, and I slept snuggly.

This morning started with 2 enquiries for accommodation at the guesthouse, one for tonight, and one for a weekend at the beginning of August. They both accepted the quotes, now I’m waiting for payment, which may or may not happen, but I’m pretty positive.

Best of all, I started making bread last night. I made the dough and left it to slowly rise through the night. This morning I popped it into the oven, and olĂ©! – fresh bread for breakfast! Isn’t that just the best way to start your day?

The first slice always with butter only, while it’s still hot. The second slice with something added to the butter – this morning it was some of that mature, white cheddar lying next to it, and a cup of tea. Sometimes it’s with apricot jam, or golden syrup, or Bovril (similar to Marmite or Vegemite, only supposed to have beef in it). My absolute favourite way to eat warm, fresh bread though, is simply smeared with butter. Heaven!

I went without bread for about four months a few years ago. I climbed on the ‘no gluten’ bandwagon to see what difference it will make to me, my health, and how I feel generally. It made not one iota of difference at all. So, I’m done with that! I even have a little sign in my kitchen above the bread bin that says (roughly translated from the original Afrikaans):

BREAD...
Bread is the warmest, most kind hearted of all words
Always write it with a capital,
just like your name.

Maybe I should have called this post ‘an ode to bread’, but yes, I love bread, there’s no getting away from it!

Any other bread lovers out there?

Food, glorious food!

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Tonight’s dinner.

I looooove eating good food.

Also to be honest, I sometimes like eating stuff that might not be so good for me, but I do it anyway, like most people I know. (Like chips – or crisps as they are known outside of South Africa!)

I love a wide variety of food, and I also enjoy cooking and baking. Not to the point that I can compete in Masterchef, but I love making Italian food (who doesn’t!), or food with Eastern flavours, or Middle Eastern flavours. Curries! Yum…

Or plain, hearty ‘boerekos’ – which is a word that is somewhat difficult to translate, but let’s stick to ‘South African farm fare’ – roast chicken with potatoes, beans and pumpkin, or leg of lamb with roast potatoes, broccoli and gem squash. Not fond of Mexican food – am I the only one?

If I could, I would become a food critic, or a food journalist. I would love to have Andrew Zimmern’s job… But I do find that when I am on my own, I tend to not want to cook so often. I’ll eat more bread and junk food.

Maybe, to stop doing that, I should select a few new recipes to try, and if it is too much for me, freeze some for a next meal. I would love to develop my cooking skills as I cannot help but envy the ease with which the contestants on Masterchef make complicated dishes. And they are all so young!!!

I have to consider my general diet too – I don’t eat enough fruit and even vegetables. I fully intend to change that! Today I’ve got chicken, broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge – something different has to happen with it than the usual fry-it-in-a-pan chicken, and cauliflower with cheese. What to do, what to do??? Any suggestions?

Pinterest here I come!!!!