Sadly, the wonderful farm market where we get our fruits and vegetables is closed for winter. The good thing is, we don’t have to drive all the way down to Richmond anymore. Except I miss the drive a little; I miss finding quiet country roads that felt far away from the city.
We’re back at our local grocery store, which isn’t bad, I suppose – it’s constantly piled high with impeccable produce and every once in a while I find old favourites like okra (in winter!). I don’t always know what to do with okra, but, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, I usually can’t resist them.
Then there’s harissa – it started with a tube here, a can there, and I have quite a collection on my hands now. But it’s all good because it all leads up to the makings of a weeknight meal – that’s how this harissa roasted potato, okra and broccoli came to be.
I’ve made lemon tea cakes two weekends in a row; so basically every Sunday in this New Year. I like them; they’re easy to whip up and goes splendidly with coffee or tea. It’s also given me a reason to go back to journaling.
I’ve kept diaries for as long as I can remember, but then a few years ago I stopped. I guess I was too busy or something. Last year, without meaning to, I started journaling again when I got a Traveler’s Notebook for Christmas.
Going back to writing felt familiar and comforting, so I took the concept further and built a few rituals around my journaling. I do Morning Pages on weekday mornings, and on weekends I usually bake something special, have a leisurely breakfast and take my time to pour out my heart on paper; it really is therapeutic.
I hope your holiday break, like mine, was relaxing, joyous, sleep-filled and a little magical. I believe all these things are requisite for turning over the New Year. And if you do, do resolutions, I hope it leads to your best year yet.
I didn’t really set any resolutions for this new year, but we kept with the tradition of eating black-eyed peas, then went for a long walk along the seawall. This year we had black-eyed peas, sweet potato and kale soup for dinner.
I found the recipe while cleaning out my little bedside drawer; it had been in there for at least half a decade. I can’t be sure now, but I think this soup from a few years back was adapted from this recipe.
This thing is, I lost the recipe just as soon as I found it, I must have thrown out the piece of paper it was printed on with the rest of the trash. Luckily, my wonderful sister and soup connoisseur, whose new year’s resolution, I think, is to eat lots of soup this winter, came to the rescue.
Just a few more days to Christmas and all is calm on the preparation front. We’re opting once again for a quieter relaxed holiday. It’ll be a small gathering with friends in Surrey on Christmas day. Two weeks ago we pre-ordered a bûche de noel that we’ll pick up on Christmas Eve on our way back from snowshoeing on the North Shore.
We’ll do a little dinner at home on Boxing Day, my sister is making oven-baked veggie-filled jollof, because it just won’t feel like Christmas without a big pot of jollof. And my contribution to dinner will be a savoury lentil pie; I’m pretty confident it’ll go nicely with the rice dish.
We’re in the midst of a cold snap. It snowed yesterday, our first in over two years! I watched big fat snowflakes fall from the sky like confetti; I’d forgotten how exciting that felt.
Even my mom was impressed (and nothing impresses that woman!), she looked on pleasingly, training her phone at the mountains, she said, “Mmmmm hmmm, the mountains are properly capped, now this is Canada!”
For someone accustomed to the sweltering cloudless African sky, I’ve also always loved bitter cold weather (feel free to make Frozen jokes!), I’ll take the cold over mild pissing-rainy conditions any day. And for freezing wintry nights, nothing beats a steaming comforting bowl of soup to warm you up. We’ve been wishing for an ideal moment like this to make this hearty chickpea and pasta soup.