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Thursday, 31 December 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Good Morning to you,

A few more hours and we will be saying goodbye to the year 2015.... but where did the year go?  

My friends are saying the same thing. They also feel that this year has flown by so quickly and can't believe the year is almost over.

I know Phyllis always says 'the older you get, the more time flies', and if I'm being honest, I think that is a bit of an old wives tale. I think one of the reasons the year appears to fly by so quickly, is, we seem to have lost the ability to live in the moment.

We seem to have forgotten how to savour each moment. 

I really don't feel we are totally to blame, because life seems to be so fast moving nowadays. 

For instance, no sooner has one celebration finished then advertisers are racing us towards the next event. I don't want to know about the next event. Do you know, on Christmas Eve, a holiday company were advertising summer holidays, encouraging us to book our summer break.

.... why on earth would I do that? I hadn't celebrated Christmas at that point. At that moment in time, I was thinking about Christmas turkey, roast potatoes, brussel sprouts (yes we love them, steamed and just the way they are, without any additional bits and pieces) and all the trimmings. So why on earth would I be thinking about a summer holiday.

Then I received a raft of emails telling me not to miss the Boxing Day sales.... I was informed that some items would be reduced by 60%. Honestly, I received so many emails that I did not even read them, I just deleted them.

Why on earth would I go shopping for more 'stuff', which I certainly don't need, just because I was made to feel it would be a bargain. To my mind, it is only a bargain if I need the item, otherwise I feel I am just wasting my money.

Why can't we be allowed, to just enjoy, the moment, why are we constantly bombarded with the newest 'this and that' which will supposedly enrich our lives, because in actual fact it doesn't. The buying of things does not enrich my life.  It's the day to day things which do that.  

For instance, I have not picked up my crochet hook for what must be, about 20 years or so, but the other day a friend gave me some balls of wool, so I thought I would give it a go. I thought I would need to really practise my crochet technique, but do you know, I didn't need to, because it was like riding a bicycle, I hadn't forgotten. Once I started I couldn't put the crochet hook down, I really enjoyed the moment. 

The same thing happened on Christmas Eve.  I finished my baking and then we visited Sadie, George's mother, who is a little poorly at the moment.  We returned home, switched on the Christmas lights, lit candles, warmed some mulled wine and just sat in our armchairs. We didn't speak, we just enjoyed the moment.

.... and those are the moments I remember. Those are the moments which stay with me.

So it feels like a good moment to look at some of the recipes we cooked during the year.  I love doing this, because it reminds me of how many recipes I have shared with you.

For instance, in January,


I shared with you my Christmas gift of a Spiralizer and we made this Sweet Potato Spaghetti and it continues to be a favourite.

.... and then in February, we made something a little spicier.


My Chicken Curry and I have to tell you, after all the rich Christmas food, this curry will be making an appearance on my table in the coming week.

.... and then in March,



Now, I make poached eggs all the time, but this poached egg would not behave.  I thought to myself, I could make another one and present a perfect poached egg, but do you know I didn't, because mistakes happen when we are cooking, so it was only fair that I show you mine. I don't want you thinking my cooking turns out perfectly all the time, because it doesn't.... but even with this mishap, it was delicious.

Then before we knew it, April had arrived and it was time for Easter baking,


and we made this Easter Simnel Cake. I love marzipan and I love this Simnel Cake.

May arrived, and with it I was pleased to re-discover, a silver cruet set, tucked in the back of one of my cupboards, which I had completely forgotten about.

Although the weather wasn't as warm as it should have been, we still enjoyed a lovely,


Quinoa Salad.  I'll tell you a funny thing.  The word quinoa, as you probably know, is pronounced keenwa, but I pronounce it differently in my mind.... this is so I don't forget how to spell the word, I pronounce it Kwin-oa.  I thought I would mention it, because one day, when I am not concentrating, I might write the word kwin-oa and if I do, you won't be wondering what the word is, you'll just think, 'oh yes, Daphne has just had a moment'.

Then before we knew it June had arrived.  I did not write to you in June, because we were away on holiday in India, where we spent a wonderful month with Natasha and her husband.  It was a lovely trip. We were so lucky to spend the most wonderful morning visiting The Taj Mahal.

.... but first,



we had to 'do battle' with  the busy streets of New Delhi,



and negotiate the different forms of transport.

.... but it was all worth it, 


because at the end of our journey.... this is what was waiting for us.... the magnificent Taj Mahal. 

We returned home, feeling full of beans. While visiting India, we had enjoyed so many fresh, exotic, fruits and vegetables, that we wanted to maintain the theme when we returned home, so we enjoyed



this Watermelon, Feta Cheese and Red Onion Salad. Alright, I will agree, watermelon is not exactly exotic, but it is nice and we made a salad, which I used to make in Cyprus, where huge and delicious watermelons are grown.

In September, I was so excited, because I discovered some Denby's Arabesque cups and saucers in a charity shop, for a snip of a price.  I was so excited to share this news with you.


Once I got over my excitement, we went on to bake one of Ivy's Tea Breads.

October arrived, as did our 45th wedding anniversary. We spent a lovely week with Danielle, when we did a little more than our fair share of chatting and pootling about. I had so much fun learning how to smile for the camera, Danielle and I could not stop laughing.

The nights began drawing-in very quickly and so we made the spicy, but easy,


Lentil Soup. Actually this is the soup we are having for lunch today.

October left us, and November appeared.


The perfect time to fill the kitchen with the aroma of an absolutely perfect apple pie, which I have to tell you did not stay around for very long.

Then before we knew it,


December was with us and we baked Christmas Mince Pies with a Frangipane topping.  I told you I love marzipan, didn't I.

I also shared with you the exciting news that I had been asked to be part of a cookery programme.... which was so exciting.  Although it fell through at the last hurdle, I remain very proud of myself.  When I look back at the recipes and the stories I have shared with you, it makes me smile, because these were not just any old stories or recipes, these were recipes which I made for George throughout the year and the stories were snippets from our daily lives.

Do you know it is lovely looking back.... and do you know something else, thinking about it, perhaps the year didn't fly by, quite so quickly, as I thought.

.... and if you decide to make a New Year's Resolution, let it be, that we do not allow 2016 to pass us by too quickly. Let us stop and savour a few more 'moments' throughout the year.

Have a wonderful New Year and I wish you all the love and happiness for 2016.







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