As you guys may have already gathered from my general step-back from most things in the “sweets” department, sweet wines aren’t exactly my cup of… well, glass of wine I suppose! either. But, with the winter festivities not that far behind us, of course there are still some remnants and strays lingering around my pantry. Like, for example, a bottle of semi-sweet Burgundy Pinot Noir Hubby’s Grandmother gave to us – according to her, her favorite late-night “Sip-let” before bed.
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.
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.
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.
With the apple harvest season slowly coming to an end in our region, you can’t swing the proverbial cat without hitting a raucous apple/wine or apple-wine festival around here once you stick your nose outside of town. Anything edible or drinkable you could possibly turn apples into – including the trees themselves, I might add (Keywords: applewood chips, smoker, piles of meat and veg) – is cozying up next to other seasonal goodies on carry-around plates, carried around by happy people indulging in the festivities (and the cider…).
Home, sweet home…! As always, coming home from Madeira is a two sided coin. On one side, it’s good to be back “home” as opposed to a hotel. On the other side… right about now it does not quite feel like “home” yet as in “home is where the heart is”. Again, it seems, we lost another little piece of ours somewhere on the island… Aha! But both Hubby and I are positive persons, those pieces are just reasons to go back and try to retrieve them~ “We will be back” and until then I can enjoy the perks of having access to my own kitchen again!
Ah, relief~! Meteorologists say “The worst is over”. 27°C to Low 30°Cs coming up the next couple of days, and evidently we’re done with the almost-40°Cs for this year. “Around 30°C” means it’s finally time for some outdoorsy… actually any sort of activity again. A hike perhaps and a picknick somewhere in the woods, feet hanging into a bubbly stream, birdsong filling the fir-scented air… Oh yes, I can’t wait for the weekend to swing by!
Ok, I’ve just noticed that three out of four recipes for this year’s BBQ special are vegetarian options. Sort of. The upcoming dessert is seriously hard to imagine in a meaty context anyhow, but still, once that fact dawned on me, I had two options. Go veg on this one too or go all out carnivore galore. Well hell… I did what I always do when I can’t decide between two wildly different things: I pick door number three.
Did anyone say “Heresy” and “open fire” in one breath? Welcome to the dark ages… or our latest garden showdown! I, carnivore, have come up with something other than the usual, extremely (at least to me, comparing the choices to what’s on the other side of the coals) boring “vegetarian options” to throw on a BBQ. Something that even my fellow lovers of a decent steak or burger have taken a serious liking to by now. A veggie burger pattie that doesn’t involve funky tofu textures, the ever present – tasty, but… again?! – feta & greek stuff combo or squeaky halloumi~!