Category Archives: my life’s essentials

What makes my life bliss

My life’s essentials 10: breakfast

My life's essentials 10: breakfast

I’ve noticed that food figures a lot in my life’s essentials.

It is, after all, essential to life for us and I think it figures so highly because I’ve had to look at my diet closely because of my Crohn’s disease and also to prevent middle-age spread.

My aim is to achieve a balance of eating healthily while enjoying meals and having the occasional treat.

Take breakfast as an example: I couldn’t get through the day without it and as I eat it after my morning walk, I am usually very hungry.

In the week when I’m working, breakfast is a serving of natural yogurt followed by porridge. It took me a while to develop a taste for porridge, but now I eat it all year round in preference to manufactured cereals. I really enjoy it and know it gives me fuel to get through the day.

On a Sunday it’s time for a treat and that’s when we usually have a cooked breakfast. Our table is laid with cups and saucers, sugar bowl, milk jug and cafetiere. The toast rack makes an appearance along with the butter dish and knife, and the jars of marmalade and homemade jam line up as if on parade, jam spoons at the ready.

Whereas porridge is eaten on the go, our eggs and bacon, chipolata, black pudding, mushrooms, tomato and hash browns, or occasionally fried bread, are savoured leisurely with accompanying music. (Allegro’s Miserere performed by the Sixteen was a favourite of one our spaniels.) This creates the perfect balance to working days.

 

Posted in Crohn's disease, food & drink, my life's essentials.

My life’s essentials 9: treasure

My life's essentials 9: treasure

What do I need? Not a lot.

What have I got? Too much.

This morning, when our dog took me out for exercise, we played with a newish tennis ball. I’d throw it for him to catch and bring back.

Then he found a bald, broken tennis ball, which didn’t bounce.

He was so happy.

I put the newer tennis ball in my pocket and we played with the old one, which gradually fell apart and became half a tennis ball.

This treasure meant more to us than anything else.

I don’t buy much any more. We rarely buy presents for each other. What’s the point if things just clutter up our home more when we’re trying to cut down on the clutter?

A walk on the beach watching the sun sparkling on the tops of the waves: that’s a gift that fills us with wonder.

Finding half a tennis ball in the sand or a shred of chewed rubber ball that we can all play with and roll down the dunes: that’s real treasure.

Posted in my life's essentials.

My life’s essentials 8: laughter

Sometime you don’t realise how long something has been missing from your life. This often happens when you set yourself against some adversity that can last months or years.

I realise I haven’t laughed as much as I usually do over the past few years.

Laughter is essential, whatever happens in our lives and in the world around us.

We have to cry, but we also have to laugh.

I looked out my clockwork laughing teeth from the loft several months ago as I knew I had to write this post. I’m not one for making New Year resolutions, but I am determined to create more laughter in 2016, both my own and, hopefully, yours.

I think 2016 will be a tough year in many ways, which is all the more reason to laugh whenever we can.

Posted in my life's essentials.

My life’s essentials 7: wooden spoon

Following on from my home baking post, yesterday I realised that the wooden spoon I use for baking has become an essential.

My life’s essentials 7: wooden spoon

As I spend so much time typing on a keyboard, using my iPhone, apps and software, one of the biggest pleasures I take in baking, and cooking generally, is working with ‘real’ things: ingredients I can touch, taste and smell.

I am fascinated by the transition when individual ingredients such as butter and sugar combine to create a fluffy, creamy new substance.

 

Add eggs, flour and other ingredients and the mixture changes again.

Put it in the oven and it transforms from ‘paste’ into a solid – hopefully not too solid – structure with completely different characteristics. Where has the new texture, aroma and taste come from?

It’s magic.

That’s why I tend to do almost everything by hand and my trusty baking wooden spoon, not used for anything else, made me realise that.

Posted in food & drink, my life's essentials.

My life’s essentials 6: home baking

My life's essentials: home baking

Why? Because the flavours are overwhelming.

And because I know what’s gone into it.

And because it’s been a big part of my life.

And because I find it a very relaxing activity.

And because I like eating it . . .

. . . and sharing it.

When I was young my Mum baked a delicious light fruitcake that we would scoff at Christmas and other holidays and it gave me pleasure to see her enjoying the fruitcakes I made for her when she could no longer bake.

I’m so lucky that my Mum was such a wonderful cook who taught us to cook and bake and that Mrs Z is an equally good cook. What are the chances of that?

Although we strayed into buying manufactured cakes for a while, I no longer eat these, finding them too ‘artificial’.

It remains a treat though to enjoy cake in a tea room or café where you know it is genuinely home made.

Nothing, though, beats the delight of taking home-baked cake or bread out of the oven and that moment when you cut and eat the first slice.

That’s a currant loaf I baked above. I’m afraid we’ve eaten it all.

 

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