For the last couple of weeks, ever since the chocolatey spring festivities have come and gone to be precise, I’ve been pretty busy off the screen and out of the kitchen. Looking back now, after a long and delicious day in the kitchen – the results of which will be coming your way really soon – I can say being kept from “cooking big” for a few isn’t all that bad after all.
I really hope you guys had a fabulous, delicious, long and relaxing weekend like we did! Whether you actually celebrated the holidays or not, if you found yourself in our part of the world, you would have been able to enjoy Mother Natures’ grand entrance to the party that we can now officially call “Spring”. She really put on her Sunday dress this year and rocked our world for the last couple of days, making everybody sigh contentedly, close their eyes and tilt their faces towards the sun for four days straight~
Sometimes magic just happens. Not the boogidyboogidy-kind of magic, but the real fairy-dance kind that ignites sparks around your head when the perfect time of day, place, lighting, mood, company and all other good things come together by some sort of cosmic miracle and give you a little kiss. This recipe is one of the results of one such perfect moment that occurred at around 8am on Sunday the 23rd of September 2018 on a hiking trail hugging the side of a steep valley on the beautiful island of Madeira.
For some reason, certain clichés and stereotypes are insanely slow to fade away. For one, there’s still a surprisingly (and shamefully) large percentage of neanderthal “gamers” desperately clinging to the illusion that the world of gaming is a chest-thumping, club-swinging men’s world. Another cliché sticking to us gamers like a bad habit is, of course, that we don’t do “healthy”. How can we? We’re sitting in the dark basement with our faces taped to a screen all day~!
Slowly but surely, the world around me is going bananas. The great outdoors around me looks like an 80’s aerobic class and the local brewery teamed up with a Cirque de Soleil stage set and all the confetti ever produced for the CSD parades all across the globe… and had a good twirl on the Studio 54 floor together.
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.
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…).