Now that the holidays are over, the “real” winter appears to be settling in around our corner of the world. Not just in the weather-related sense, but also in a more subtle way where the sudden lack of the all-encompassing fog of overly flamboyant Christmas-themed foodstuffs, -decorations, -music, -media coverage and the like leaves you with a sense of… focus? Awareness?
Welcome to 2019 everyone! I hope you had a good time over the last couple of days and celebrated the end of 2018 with a roaring party (or in any other way suited to your personal picture of “perfect”) that set exactly the right tones for a fantastic new year~!
Dear fellow Food Bloggers,
you will all (most likely) be familiar with this situation: there’s a dish you cook up regularly, say when it’s cold and icky outside and a case of the flu is setting up shop on your doorstep. Like a classic Chicken Broth / Noodle Soup kind of a dish, or any of its comfort-foody relatives. You’re used to going though all the steps, auto-pilot being an understatement here, but the result always puts a huge smile and a satisfied expression on your faces, no matter how easy-breezy the prep seems to be by now.
The colder and nastier it gets outside, the more often my mind wanders off to about 2,800km west-southwest of here, to Madeira. Since there’s nothing I can do about shortening the actual distance on the spot, I can only tap into my recently refilled inner reserve of Madeira-Zen, roll up my sleeves and start cooking to bring a delicious little piece of the island into our corner of the world instead~!
Oh yes! Approaching the most button-popping, feast- and party intensive, energy-draining yet most fun time of Winter! Indeed, it’s time for my annual Winter Box’o’Chocolates bash again as the Holidays are edging closer and closer. As usual, I prep my boxes a bit earlier than they actually need to be ready to make an appearance below splendidly decorated Christmas trees, on office desks, banquet tables or simply on the palms of the night owls amongst my friends and family, so you guys get a – hopefully inspiring – sneak peek as well as the chance to request a recipe in addition to my pick today to appear just in time to prep a batch for your Holiday festivities or personal pleasure~
A quick glance at the world outside my window just confirmed what my internal world already knew: It’s officially Stew Time! The Christmas Markets around town have opened their gates, doing their very best to counter the grey-on-grey, cold’ish, wet’ish “thing” that’s our signature early winter weather with the most delicious treats, aromas and, of course, all the hot spiced wine they can cook up.
While I was skimming over my list of the last few and the next couple of yummies on my to-cook list, I noticed how most of them share the same basic characteristics while being very different in the end. All of them are “warm” be it in the actual temperature, in their color palette or in the heart-and-soul ”warm”ing sense of the word. All of them are really quick and easy to whip up, and all of them – even my pick for this year’s Christmas Box of Chocolates~! – are packing a serious punch in the “Healthy” department.
With the season of shorter, darker and colder days having set up shop on our doorstep, I find myself digging deeper and deeper into my repertoire of bright and colorful lunchbox’able recipes and combinations to bring a bit of smiles’n’sunshine on Hubby’s and my desks during the day. This particular salad is something that makes an appearance on our table quite often, during the hottest as well as during the coldest and darkest times of the year, but of course it has the biggest “brighten up the day” effect on us during the November Nasties.
Once again, this weird and out-of-place Ice-Cream-in-Cold-Weather craving came knocking at my door today. Well actually, at least this time, it wasn’t all that out-of-place, come to think of it… You see, I don’t live far away from the largest and most beautiful park in town, so whenever I need a whiff of fresh air, some peace or simply a bit of nature to power up my batteries, I go for a walk through that park.
For some reason, while everything else in the stone-fruit department has been gone for a while already, apricots have been available for a really, really long time this year, until about 2 or 3 weeks ago, in fact. The problem with these freaky late stone fruit? They’re… tart, to say the least. Pretty much inedible in a raw state to be honest. The good side of the deal? I’ve got no qualms about throwing them into the pan whatsoever~! That’s the perfect(-ly late!) opportunity to cook up one of my favorite end-of-summer dishes and share it with you guys.