Chocolate, Cherry & Coconut Macaroon Slice

The body was willing but the mind was not. Baking has been unceremoniously shoved to the back burner. Perhaps it was a subconscious reaction to having a diabetic guest, my father, who stared with hungry eyes at the few home baked treats. I certainly found it hard to munch through a biscuit while speaking with him; his grand children have no such scruples. Why cruelly tempt the poor man? My resolve was broken by The Scotsman, who peered deeply into the bowels of the fridge before flinging open cupboard doors, scavenging for treats. It went on for days, The Scotsman getting more ornery without a post-dinner sugar fix. I finally got the message and donned the baking apron. I wished for the cupboard hinges to remain intact.

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Meanwhile in the kitchen…

Every few months I get the urge to re-arrange my folders and icons on my beloved Mac. Pity that enthusiasm for organisation doesn’t spill over to the rest of my life. The cleanup had refreshed my memory of food that I had made, loved, made again and photographed.

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Keralan Stew

If ever there was an internationally recognised doyenne of Indian food, it’s Madhur Jaffery. As a teenager, I stumbled across her programmes when satellite TV finally reached Abu Dhabi air space. I remember feeling like I was caught off-guard, blind sided and utterly mesmerized by this well-spoken, articulate, classy Indian ‘Aunty’. It was the first time I had seen an Indian woman, complete with sari and bindhi, represented so gracefully on the international screen and I admired her. She was straight spoken, but never condescending, her tone was that of an enthusiastic clever teacher, charming the viewer with her wit and her cooking. Her confidence and knowledge engaged your trust.

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Allspice Roast Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Melanie, my sister, wails with annoyance when yet another reminiscence of our rambunctious adventures in childhood draws a clear, straight forward blank in my mind. I sit, blinking dumbly at her, trying to rattle the chest of memories; nowt, nada. It’s an unfortunate quirk, for lack of a better word, that seems to have followed me through life. I am infamous for my lack of memory, at once a blessing and a curse. The hard parts stay, the difficult fades, the good remain on the fringes but I consider it fortunate that she is the gatekeeper of our good times. The older you get, the more you need to be with those who knew you when you were young.

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Clementine & Cranberry Marmalade

It’s that time of year again. Like pumpkins for autumn, it’s cranberries for Christmas. It’s a relatively new berry for me, an introduction to a new ingredient via marriage. I have come to love it’s acidic tang and love the way it enhances any meat it’s paired up with. And let’s be honest, turkey needs all the help it can get! I think my favourite turkey based christmas time meal is the obligatory boxing day sandwich – a pile of thin slices of turkey, with fatter slices of stuffing, topped with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce, all squashed between two thick, fluffy slices of white bread.

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Everyday Chicken Curry

It hit me.

Moved country, emptied boxes, bought furniture, planted the garden. Uniforms ready, school bags packed, shoes polished and lunchboxes made. School timetable is on the fridge, cupboards stocked. Laundry is getting easier, navigating a new city is still a work in progress. Pantry organised, toys arranged and clothes are labelled. Met old friends, made new ones, trying to bridge the distance with those I left behind. Fridge is full, freezer is cramped, wine is chilling on the rack – regular life is all set to start again.

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