It is inky-dark outside and the hail is lashing the windows. It’s not late, but it feels like the middle of the night. Suddenly, a quarter of 2014 has disappeared already. I feel like it won’t be long before I’m panicking about the approach of Christmas. Is this happening to you too?
If you feel stressed by the pace of life, then you need to sit down with a calming cup of camomile tea. In fact, you need to sit in the sun for an hour and harvest some camomile for best results. This is a very relaxing task, even if you spend it in the company of a child who thinks it gives her carte blanche to decapitate every flower in the garden.
Then (if you’re me) you need to come inside and admire your lovely new Owen Bartlett bowl. Isn’t it lovely?
I found it at the Martinborough Fair, along with a vintage duvet and various other gems. It was a biting cold day and I had an appalling head cold, which was improved greatly by a hot cup of this cider vinegar and honey concoction (nicer than it sounds) and a steaming plate of masala dosa, eaten sitting in the gutter outside a pub (also nicer than it sounds).
When I wasn’t in the garden, snipping at camomile or treasure hunting, I spent a lot of time with my nose in a series of books. One was The Luminaries, the other was Fuchsia Dunlop’s Every Grain Of Rice, which is a no-less brilliant exploration of Chinese home cooking. It’s not particularly new, but it’s brilliant. The day I carried it home from the library I made this very elegant spinach in a soy-ginger sauce and made a mental note of about 20 other recipes (including chao fan, a sort of fried rice that was my number one favourite when I was a child). I’m dreading having to return it to the library.
I’ve also spent a lot of time eagerly awaiting Emma Galloway’s first book – My Darling Lemon Thyme: Recipes From My Real Food Kitchen – which is officially released on April 1 (no joke!). I’ve been a fan of Emma’s for ages and her book is completely gorgeous. All but a tiny handful of the recipes are brand-new (so I still have to keep that bookmark to her excellent sushi instructions) and they look amazing. A lot of so-called ‘wholesome’ cookbooks (and food, for that matter) are so preachy and disconnected from real life – this one is totally on the money. Even if you don’t have food intolerance issues, you should get this book, it’s a game-changer.
I must have achieved other things this month, but I can’t recall them for the life of me. But a little gardening, a little cooking and a lot of reading isn’t a bad way to pass the time, is it?
What have you been up to?
All sounds good to me – though I still remember when going from blankets to duvets as a child so the idea of vintage duvets is just bemusing! I love My Darling Lemon Thyme though don't visit as often as I would like. And I am heartened to hear you enjoyed the Luminaries – it is beside my bed waiting for me to feel able to tackle such a thick book.
If you want my advice, don't read The Luminaries in bed – it's too heavy and if you only manage a few pages a night it's easy to lose track. I felt like Penelope weaving the shawl – every night I had to read backwards for a bit before I could remember what had happened! And my vintage duvet is perhaps an eiderdown…
i get a lot of my cookbooks from the library, and if i'm really smitten by one, i test a few recipes to see if they work before i seriously consider buying it! it's a good system for me.
i love the look of that spinach. so elegant, as you say, but really healthy and soooo green!
My local library has such a great collection, I agree it's a great way to test out books. And for nothing!
It's the dark in the mornings I'm not enjoying! Still, autumn is my favourite season and I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of making and eating all sorts of new comfort food.
I did so love The Luminaries, hope you're enjoying it too. I read it over a couple of days over Christmas and it still comes back to me at odd times.
Enjoy your tea!
Hi Caz – I did love The Luminaries, though it was completely different to what I expected (much more of a rollicking yarn than I anticipated). I'd like to read it again. Yes, comfort food is worth looking forward to… But not yet!