love and other drugs

It’s a warm Saturday afternoon, and I’m sitting on the sofa listening to the dull roar of traffic on the highway. An intoxicating breeze is blowing through the door; warm, not hot, but pleasant enough to induce a sense of sleep. A sigh escapes which then becomes a yawn. My eyelids press shut and a watery, fatigue-induced tear trickles down my face.

Blink. It’s only 3:09pm. Much too early for sleep… well, unless you’re over sixty-five, but for me that’s a whole lifetime away. So, why the yawn? Well, it’s partly accumulated exhaustion from the week-that-was, for as per usual, I did far too much. I also woke up unusually early for a Saturday, 7:15am to be exact. By 8:30am my tired being was shivering in a cool room surrounded by hundreds of flower buckets, eagerly scrawling botanical names into a black notebook. No, I’m not getting married (that was so last year) and I’m not an event planner. However, if you did guess along those lines, you’d be partly right. In exactly three weeks, two lovely friends of mine are getting married and I’m excited to say that I’ve been blessed with the privilege of managing their flowers.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t exactly (nor remotely) have formal training in this area. I did, however, create a full range of impromptu bouquets, boutonnieres, posies and table settings for a beautiful wedding that took place around this time last year. Yep, I’ll humbly say that it was my own… a decision that was rashly made to save money. Strangely enough, I’ve been getting floristry requests ever since. Quite amusing really.

Anyway, back to this morning. By 10:30am I was sitting at a wonky mosaic table with the beautiful bride-to-be, the maid of honour and a pressed tin cup full of sugar at Boucla Kafenion. Over breakfast (I had a creamy bittersweet mocha followed by herby, caramelised mushrooms atop walnut toast, adorned with soft, lemony feta) we continued to plan, reminisce and laugh until our plates were empty and our hearts were full (yeah, it’s corny but true). I returned home to give my husband a kiss before baking a tin full of 70% dark cocoa, cherry and almond brownies.

Densely rich, they’re little squares of brownie heaven topped with Cherry Ripe, marshmallows, dessicated coconut, melted 70% organic dark chocolate and toasted almonds. I got the basic concept from here but used my own brownie recipe (minus walnuts) and an individual take on rocky road topping.

In case you’re wondering, there’s no exact recipe in today’s post. Apart from the brownies, I’ve done plenty of cooking over the past couple of weeks but in the midst of family gatherings, roast dinners and tapas nights there’s been no time to sit down and work out measurements and cooking times.

It’s a little frustrating in terms of the progress of my blog (or lack thereof!) but I can also honestly say that I love the fact that my food is consumed even faster than it’s made. When I look around the table at contented smiles, the only remnants being sticky hands and streaked plates, I’m a happy woman. It’s an investment of my energy and love, one plate at a time.

So, it’s a couple of hours til tonight’s hen’s night, which leaves me just enough time to stare over the balcony into the mottled greenness of the remaining afternoon. It’s making me contemplative… mostly about how I felt at this time last year, when it was just over three weeks til my own wedding. I was a flutter of nerves and excitement, steadied by the confirmation of love that I felt in my heart. Aaron was, and is, everything that I could have prayed for in a man. I feel blessed every time wake in the morning to see his ruffled hair and sleepy eyes, his skin imprinted with lines from his pillow. I’m thankful for the opportunity to love him, knowing that he loves me back in spite of my (multiple) flaws.

But that’s enough soppiness for one day. I promise that my next post will be full of recipe goodness… possibly the start of a Summer salad series (which may cause excitement for some of my friends who have christened me the ‘Salad Queen’). I’ll leave you with a list of some of the food that I’ve cooked over the past few weeks… if you’d like me to include any of the recipes in future posts, leave me a comment below. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Recent Mess:

  • Herbed roast pork with crackling, apple & rhubarb sauce and wine gravy
  • Paprika potatoes with lemon-infused sour cream
  • Moroccan-spiced carrots with tahini yoghurt dressing and pistachios
  • Roasted beetroot dip with yoghurt, cashews and cumin
  • Dukkah crusted lamb with thick tzatsiki
  • Orange, lavender & cinnamon-spiced pavlova with vanilla bean cream, strawberry & rhubarb preserve and fresh mint
  • Quinoa salad with beetroot, goat’s feta and mint
  • Balsamic roasted field mushrooms with bacon jam, pine nuts and feta
  • Green apple and walnut salad with herbs and lemon dressing
  • Oven-roasted, spiced chickpeas with sweet potato and parsley
  • Rum and raisin brownies
  • Oat crumble slice with cinnamon & blueberries
  • Paprika chicken with cacciatore sausage, zucchini, red wine and olives
  • Grilled asparagus with lemon oil, parmesan and lemon zest
  • Eye fillet steak with bacon and mushrooms, borlotti bean & lemon puree, Parmesan toasts and parsley salad
  • Strawberry, apple, orange and ginger Sangria
  • Gin cocktails with star anise, clove & cardamom infused orange syrup and fresh rosemary over ice

Extra note: the beautiful curry paste above was a present from a generous friend who lovingly made it from scratch. For a long time I’ve been intending to create a post with it as the centre, but in the midst of everything else it has not as yet happened. Thanks Sara for your thoughtfulness, generosity and friendship. Watch this space.

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