APPRECIATION

I would just like to thank all my followers, many of whom have become much more than just people who follow my blog, they have become friends, and I am touched by your words, and what goes on in your lives, and for that I am thankful and happy.

It is good to connect with others.
I will probably be absent from blogging as I will go travelling tomorrow for the week. Gathering more photos, experiences and ideas to share. Looking forward to reconnect and read much of what I have missed.

Blessings

GRANDMOTHER’S CHICKENSOUP WITH BALLETJES

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This is a photo of my grandmother, she is the one in the middle between her two sisters.  They all lived during the early 20th century and I have great memories of the days when my ‘moemoe’ (granny) was alive.  She lived in her house on the Breda Baan in Brasschaat, Belgium, and her grown son lived with her, this was in the days that I too stayed with her, my grandfather had died already, it was the early seventies.  But I am thinking back of one particular lovely tradition which I would love to rekindle here with my own family and those of my relatives that are still alive and around here.  Market day would be on Monday morning early in Brasschaat, and the house of my moemoe was just opposite where the market started, all the relatives would call at her house for coffee and the that meant the coffee pot would never leave the stove, the smell was so welcoming, there would be jolly greetings, hugs and kisses, there would be lots of chat and catching up with the week’s family news, and then moemoe and I would go to the market ourselves, we would buy her usual things and we would keep bumping into people my grandmother would know and she would have to chat with them, more chat!  Meanwhile at home a chicken would be boiling away on the stove to make soup, in Belgium 50 years ago mothers would make their soup every day, they would sometimes make chicken soup with balletjes (small pork meat balls) all home made and delicious, the smell would make your mouth water of course.  I have many still older memories of my grandmother, I remember the feeling when she came to see us as children, the happiness that I felt every time this happened is a feeling I have never quite been able to find anywhere else, a particular grandmother love feeling, I was so fond of her.  Now that I am a grandmother myself I know what I can give my own grandkids, it’s not the expensive toys that they will remember or be fond of, no, it is the special feel of having a grandmother who loves you, a great feeling.  Family is important I think, and can give great joy.

AFTER THE THUNDERSTORM

Here where I live in the South West of Ireland,  we seldom get to experience a thunderstorm.  I have lived here for many years now, and always used to miss the almost daily thunder storms we used to get over Antwerp during the summer,  when I was young.  But that seems to be changing here, and over the last two days we had at least 24 hours of thunder and lightning on and off, some flashes were so brilliant, and the thunder claps rumbling on for minutes, it was amazing!  As a result very many people have been without electricity all day.  But around here the sun was shining again today.  I had a look at possible damage in my garden as the rain had been very heavy, but there was none, all is well and the Kale that I planted out the other day is doing good.

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Fall garden produce, and an empty garden seat under the Hawthorn tree, which is what this weather brings….. more inside activities, cooking up warming broths and dealing with drying herbs and seeds, enjoyable activities for sure.

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The seeds of the Nasturtium, not sure what I will do with them yet.  And this little insect on the growing Coriander seeds, I had not seen it when I took the photo.  The seeds are nearly ready to harvest.  I love cooking with Coriander, it’s a lovely pungent spice which makes any dish more interesting and tasty.

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My Hydrangeas are still doing good and add a little interest in a garden that is preparing for winter.  I did sow some autumn leaves the other day, hoping that they will provide us with some fresh greens for the table during the coming months.

PRUNES OF DAMASCUS and jam making

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I decided to make some Damson, Plum, and Apple jam today.  It’s the first time that I use Damsons, bought them at a market a few days ago.  I ate some of them and quite liked their astringent taste.  The Damson is actually a small plum, it’s from the plum family and it has been used for centuries in parts of Europe and the Middle East.  One story goes that they were very popular grown around the city of Damascus and that is where their name derives from.  Prunes of Damascus.  They were apparently introduced into Great Britain by the Romans.  It is a fruit that I never see in the super markets here in West Cork, and have not seen so far at the farmers markets either, so I was happy to find them the other day as quite rare.

Lately I have been discovering something precious, like my grandmother and mother used to do, it is taking time, while sitting down, to get peas out of their peels, or stoning small fruits, or cutting up runner beans etc…. I find it very meditative work, it takes me back through the generations of women who would actually do this daily, drying herbs, foraging for wild foods that take much longer to prepare etc..  There was a time, many years, while working in the library, when I used to think that life is too short to be busy shelling peas ~ now I am discovering the benefit it can bring to mind and body.  Besides, food prepared with love and attention is supposed to be better for the digestion.

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