It is now New Year‘s Eve and I am still slightly stuffed from the extravagances of Christmas. That’s not a bad thing, but it does make it awkward when I have to think of something appetising to cook for my kids when nothing appeals to me. Invariably I give in to their carb-laden demands for pasta or rice or pizza and justify it to myself in all sorts of ways – it’s cold outside, they need the extra warmth, their bodies know what they need, it’s only a few days…
today is the last day of the year and tomorrow will see a brighter, fresher, more in-control me. Why though? Why does the date have to make any difference? We all make New Year resolutions. We think about them all through the week between Christmas and the New Year – what will my resolutions be? What resolutions have I broken in the past? Should I focus on self-improvement, the kids or world poverty? It is ridiculous that we then come up with one or two things to do that will change our lives. But why haven’t we been doing them already, as soon as we thought of it? I understand the psychology behind it, but seriously, we’re adults. We understand the mental manipulative tactics behind clean sheets of paper yet we still crave them.
My husband and I have been together for 24 years. I love tea. Every morning, for nearly two decades, I loved to wake up, brush my teeth and have a cup of tea. Every morning for nearly two decades, I would wake up, brush my teeth and find myself presented with a cup of coffee. Thanking him for the coffee (I gave up reminding him of my preference for tea after five years), I would make myself a cup of tea and, once that was consumed, have the coffee. Compromise, you see? Well, for the past 4 years I’ve not had the time to have two beverages in the morning and, not wishing to be wasteful, have been drinking coffee. Now, I always drink coffee in the mornings. Tea has become a luxury for lazy sunday mornings and the afternoons. I am so easily converted!
But there is something about coffee. While tea is fantastic from the first to the last drop, I find there is a magic point with coffee between it being too hot and being too cold when the temperature is just right to allow it to sit mellow upon your tongue so you can revel in the flavour. If I catch it just right I will down the whole cup at that point. Then, there are the different types of tea and coffee. With tea, it rather depends when and where I am drinking as to which I prefer. My all-time favourite is Darjeeling but it requires quiet, solitude and a wafer thin cucumber sandwich to be enjoyed properly; after a long walk it has to be earl grey/Assam mixed; tea with friends, kids and platefuls of sandwiches and cakes demands a more robust beverage and I usually opt for a breakfast tea (crazy, I know) which is a melange. Every now and then I will partake of a spiced chai which brings back vivid memories of my childhood. Then, we have coffee. With greek/turkish or arabic dishes I prefer greek/turkish or arabic coffee to follow (but I never make it at home). With med dishes I like to follow with a nice slumborous (or is it slumberous) colombian (my husband prefers an espresso) and with stronger Mexican, Chinese, Thai or Indian dishes it has to the fiery, knock-on-the-head Java. For everyday it has to be Nescafe Gold Blend, my favourite instant.
I made cranberry gin a couple of days ago and I have one small tip – if you have time, stone the cranberries otherwise it makes a cranberry-gin jelly. Still lovely but you really don’t want to serve up a drink that can be squished between your teeth!