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.
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!
By now, you guys probably know my love for all things venison. Lean, healthy, extremely versatile and despite – or because of – the gamey aromas, absolutely yumtastic in combination with a large variety of fruit and nuts… what’s not to love about it~? I realize that, if you’re not living in a foresty region, any kind of wild game might be a rare and therefore expensive sight in your butcher’s display.
Unlike last year, we had a couple of good things waiting for us when we got home from Madeira this time. Really good things. Like the newly released GW2 Path of Fire expansion and – let’s hear it for careful planning – another week off from work~! Of course, hubby and I parked ourselves in front of our screens and went on a gaming binge until we both developed that tell-tale sitting-in-the-same-position-for-days headache, square and bloodshot eyes included. And this is where the other really good thing comes into play~!
Autumn is slowly approaching~! Not just according to the goods displayed on farmer’s markets and in stores, but in our tummies as well. Cravings for food and aromas of the „warmer“ variety are starting to build up after all the summery dishes we feasted upon for the last couple of months. Aromas bridging the gap between the spritzy and summery months in my kitchen to the truly warm and comforting winter dishes – combining a little bit of both, if you will.
Chilli con Carne. In 35°C weather. You might think the heat in- and outside of the kitchen has finally taken it’s toll on my sanity. Well, believe me, I’ve considered an extended trip down to the looney bin on several occasions myself. This isn’t the result of slowly-stewing grey matter though, this is the result of the GW2 recipe list rudely kicking a part of my subconscious, usually hibernating during heatwaves, to life without offering it some coffee first.
I’m always on the lookout for new ingredients to play around with, having an extra eye out for lean and healthy meats. Quite some time ago, ostrich was being marketing’ed all over the place every time the words “health”, “shape” and “alternative for chicken” popped up. Ironically you couldn’t get a hold of the stuff anywhere outside of a ponzy restaurant. Up until about 2 or 3 years ago, after which it became much more common, ostrich steaks sometimes appeared as a highly overpriced rarity during BBQ season, ready marinated and prepped for convenient use. I really, really don’t like approaching a new ingredient if it’s already been messed with, especially if it’s doused in „marinades“ or „sauces“ of questionable origin and flavor that usually come with a ton of don’t-worry-about-its in them, so I ignored these birds for a while.
Late last October ArenaNet finally released the long awaited expansion Heart of Thorns. Since there’s usually a couple of recipes released with every chapter of the living story or the various festivals, I should have known something was coming my way. I only took note of the recipes for sale in the new areas in passing though, firmly in the grips of the new chapters and all the wild, new things going on all over the place. Little. Kid. Locked. In. A. Candy. Store.