It seems that in the past few years I find myself saying, “Christmas has to be different this year.”

For years, I prided myself on creating the same, classical and elegant Christmas every year for my children. Isn’t that the point — to create memories and tradition? I rejoiced as I strung the tiny blue and white lights and set up the tree and the nativity.

Lately, Christmas has become a minefield of emotion and memory. [Read more…]

 

As I write this, on a Sunday afternoon, a loaf of banana bread rising in the oven is perfuming the house with that inimitable baked smell of love.

Meanwhile on top of the stove is a cast iron frying pan in which I’m smothering a spatchcocked chicken under a plate weighted with cans from my pantry. [Read more…]

 

I was looking at my last few posts and whew…intense! So today: a blast of deliciousness to lighten things up.  Muffins! That’s a happy word that makes everyone, or at least most people, happy.

I’ve started baking again…which means I’m happy.  It also means my recovery from April’s surgery is proceeding marvelously.

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You all know that I love to cook and bake.  I read food blogs and websites.  Cookbooks as bedside reading are a given.  Cooking is not only how I nurture and delight my family and friends, it’s how I explore, travel and taste the world right in my own home.

Lately, people have been after me to compile a book of the recipes I’ve cooked over the years that have become family favorites.  Now I’m not a recipe writer.  Whilst some of my recipes have come from my mother and grandmother…other family favorites have come from famous chefs, cookbooks and websites.

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strawberry-salad-su-1622409-x
The oranges in this orange strawberry salad are clean sectioned, a lot of work. Mine is easier, below. And even prettier!

I’ve cooked it all.  Legions of cookies and cakes.  Gallons of egg nog and mimosas.  Baked hams. Beef Wellingtons. Roasts of pork and lamb.  So many turkeys I can’t even count. Creamed spinach, scalloped potatoes, Sacher Tortes, Buches de Noel.

I asked myself, what do I really feel like eating at Christmas this year? The answer was: not complicated elegance. More like sexy bistro food. I have visions of pulling a bubbling casserole from the oven, served with a glass of seriously fabulous wine. My DD tells me I’ll be everyone’s new best friend by bringing a large Spanokopita, a Greek spinach pie to a Christmas eve supper I’m invited to.

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lemon drizzle

When the going gets tough, I drizzle.

It’s steamy in Tropica right now.  Meriland empties out like Paris in August.  It’s too hot for even the Tropicans who have deserted Meriland and moved lock, stock and servants to the beach.  I adore Meriland in the summer.  A quiet city to myself, lost in the heat.  I swim in the morning and drift through the lazy days.

The world news in the past few weeks has left me sacudida. That’s a Spanish expression which means, “shaken like a rag doll.” That’s about right.  Exhausted, trembly, heartbroken, shaken inside and out. So much evil, sorrow, hatred, sadness.  In addition, I have a friend who is suffering greatly with his health.

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⟡ Where have you been all my life? ⟡

Smitten Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

This is a recipe for people who can’t bake.  It takes five, okay, fifteen minutes to get into the oven.  In addition to being fail proof, it’s comforting, beautiful and delicious.  And I can’t believe I never knew about this until a week ago! [Read more…]

choco crackles

⟡ Breaking with tradition ⟡

You all know how I feel about tropical Christmas.  I wrote about it last year. In general, I  take comfort in traditions.  The ease of cooking Thanksgiving dinner, menu always the same.  The cherished Christmas ornaments that I pull out of the box each year.  The Easter ham.  The Fourth of July barbecue. But this year with the holiday season in full swing, I’m feeling the season in a different way. [Read more…]