Bigger and Better Things!

We are moving!

Hannah and I are excited to announce that we are officially moving our little blog to our fancy new website, http://www.forkandfiction.com/

Please join us there for even more fun, laughs and recipes. It’s all up and running now, but we will be having a launch party at the new site at the beginning of April, so do stop by–there will be cake. Okay, the internet’s not that interactive yet, but there will be special posts and a contest with prizes!

Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest, made a comment or followed our blog!

Lots of love,

Ria and Hannah at  Fork and Fiction

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Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

Puppet show

From Ria:

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…And through it…

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Isn’t it amazing how life mirrors life? Or sickness?

I couldn’t agree more with your last post–just getting through a bug, especially as a family, sucks. It takes the fun, the energy, the smiles, the desire to eat right out of you. But not, I’ve found, the desire to taste.

You see, we three have had terrible colds. Thank you, Daycare, for making sure our house is infected with a constant supply of germs. I’m battling the last of the worst, so thank god DH and Little e are not feeling as bad as I am. Because I feel like ass. But enough moping.

It was so interesting to read your thoughts on enjoying (or not enjoying) food when you’re sick. I’ve been lamenting this exact thing as I wander around the kitchen, seeing things that taste good, but with no interest in eating them. Or if I do have the interest, motivation kills it–why eat that cupcake, those empty calories, when it will taste as bland as everything else I ate today? It made me realise that while we may say cake, candy and other guilty pleasures are empty calories, if you truly appreciate them for their flavour (assuming there is some, other than “teeth-achingly sweet”) it’s not an empty experience. Therefore, I don’t count the calories as empty, even if nutritionally they might be. I don’t know about you, but I don’t–can’t–eat for health alone. I eat for experience and pleasure. And having a cold destroys both of those. Particularly when you risk inhaling crumbs of something because you’re forced to breathe through your mouth. Ugh.

So the other day, when I had a spare few minutes and Little e was napping on my back, I whipped up these bran muffins. They’re from this book, which I’ve raved about before. They are delicious…I’m told. Note to self: don’t bake when you have a cold. It’s too torturous.

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How colourless our world becomes when we can’t smell or taste! I find myself thinking we should treat ourselves to a comforting dinner to cheer us out of sickness-induced depression, but then realise it’s not worth the money. Toast and boxed soup it is.

Considering that they’re two of the most ancient senses, we kind of take them for granted, don’t we?

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Think a hint of cinnamon and orange zest in the muffin and a rich, sweet prune preserve on top. Apparently.

XO

Ria

Going through it

Michael’s Rosen’s “We’re going on a Bear Hunt” is one of the favourite books in our house. I love the illustrations and the rhythm. But most of all I love the sentiment – “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it….oh no, we’ve got to go through it!” And boy have we been going through it this weekend.

We’ve been sick. The whole lot of us. It’s inspiring me to get a t-shirt printed:  “Gastro: It’s a whole lot more awesome when the entire family gets it. At the same time.” Do you think it will be a best seller?? Hmmm, I guess people don’t want to broadcast they have gastro. Or leave the house. We left the house for exactly five minutes today…woohoo!

I hate gastro. I got a terrible case of it when I was travelling around Europe with my friend in a campervan. It lasted for three weeks and I was really miserable. And skinny! And tired. I got pretty snazzy at asking to use a bathroom in the oddest of places though.

The worst part about this bout of gastro actually has nothing to do with my aches and pains. It’s seeing B2 sick. Oh, I hate it!! She’s so upset and not sleeping and her sad face breaks my heart. On top of that she is teething, just an extra little bonus for the poor mite. It’s just not fair. Kids shouldn’t have to be sick. There should be some kind of leave pass, don’t you think?

A close runner up to the-worst-part-about-this-gastro is not being able to enjoy food. I’ve put myself on the old BRAT diet, as white rice for five days straight seemed to be the only cure to my last terrible gastro. So that means nothing but bananas, rice, applesauce or toast for me. Uggghhhh. I feel so resentful. It really makes you appreciate food in a whole new way when you can’t have it, doesn’t it? I’m day-dreaming about food like it is a lover. And I distinctly remember the first food I enjoyed after I’d recovered in Europe. Chocolate Salami.

(photo credit: http://www.tasteinspired.wordpress.com)

I know, I know, it sounds dreadful doesn’t it? Perhaps the Portugese explanation – Chocolate Chorizo – is a little more elegant? At any rate, it is delicious. As rotten as I feel right now, just writing about it is making my mouth water. There are few meals I remember with such poignancy and they all involve a serious level of hunger preceding it. Chocolate chorizo is no exception. When I ate it I was so ready for something tastier than white rice and as soon as I spied it in a tiny, local supermarket in a town on the coast that was famous for lace (name escapes me, memory of chocolate chorizo does not) I knew it was mine to be had. It is completely meat-free, of course, it just looks like salami (cheeky!). It has a lovely brownie texture, perhaps a little firmer after being in the fridge, and stodgier, uncooked. Like a rum ball? As you slice through sweet tea biscuits show themselves in pale studs and sometimes other fruit and nuts too. It’s simple and not too sweet, surely the mark of a perfect dessert. You cut it into thick slices and then share. Or not.

After my dinner of white rice (with salt, oooh la la) I’m almost ready to head to bed. I am writing this at 8pm. On a Saturday night. Did I mention I feel resentful?! I just have to keep reminding myself of Rosen’s wisdom – sometimes there’s nothing for it but going through it. Nothing to make it better or easier, no getting over or under it, just bearing it. I’m not good at doing nothing to solve a problem, perhaps that’s what I need to learn. There is one tiny comfort though. Dreams of chocolate chorizo and memories of travels through Portugal. And resolving to try this recipe once we’re all well.

Sweet Little Something

An end of week ritual – a wordless post, a personal photograph that captures a moment to be savoured, relished and preserved for looking back on. One photograph from Hannah, in the Southern Hemisphere and one from Ria, in the Northern Hemisphere. Feel free to post your questions, thoughts and comments. Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:

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From Ria:

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At Last

It might only be the first week of March, but we are convinced spring is here. It’s a coping mechanism. Yes, we could get another cold snap, even snow, and the calendar tells us it’s winter for  several more weeks. But the signs are all around. The signs! We can’t ignore them. Crocuses blooming, daffodils shooting up everywhere. Snowdrops have been out in force for weeks now. Surely that’s conclusive evidence.

But the best way to judge whether spring is here (or surely days away) is Seedy Sunday, the annual meeting of gardeners, farmers, foodies, beekeepers, botanists and random children that happens in the rec centre across the road from our house.

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It’s rained the past few Seedy Sundays, but this time it was gorgeous. Which only made it more convincing: at last spring is here. Yes, go crazy buying plants for the garden and birdhouses from the woodworker down the street.

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I don’t know about you, but spring releases me from a winter’s worth of lolling about. Which is not what it seems like during winter–then it’s burrowing in or hibernating or staying cozy. I don’t mean only physical lolling. I get inspired in spring, revitalized to try new things in my writing. It’s a new world, after all.  Those seeds start germinating and expanding and I can’t contain them.

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And this can be dangerous because I start a new project ambitiously and then summer sets in and those long, warm nights call me outside, away from my computer. Fall, winter, those are my writing seasons. Spring is for inspiration, and summer is for….vacation? There’s something not right there, I know. There’s a lot of summer between the inspiration and the getting-down-to-it of the fall. Maybe it depends on whether I’m working towards my own deadlines or someone else’s…

But for now, I’m enjoying the fading of winter and the trumpeting of spring, even if it means the daffodils will freeze next week. They’re brave to try. And that’ s all any of us can do, isn’t it?

When is your best writing season?

XO

Ria

A wedding story

I love a love story. Don’t you? I’ll take almost any kind. The love of a dog, a sister, a child, a mother. But there is a little something extra special about a love story that ends in a wedding.

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I’m convinced I’m not alone. This weekend I had two weddings to attend, both of them my cousin’s – one hindu and the other western. They were utterly different in style, colour, noise, formality, food, decor and location. And yet…

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Watching people at a wedding is a bit like watching children at a magic show. Their jaws go a little slack, their eyes doe-like. They don’t notice other people noticing them. All eyes fixed forward. They gaze at the bride as if she is a religious vision. They stare at her hair, run their eyes over her dress, the silk and the lace, oh-the-lace!, spy the little white tips of her shoes and then quickly back up to her face. The dark lashes, the pink cheeks, the small, elegant, smile. She’s looking at him now. They follow the love passing between them and feel a heart-swell inside their chests. It’s almost too private to watch. Look, she adores him. They press their fingers to their mouths or look at the floor so as not to cry.

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When Matt and I got married people I have known for years suddenly seemed shy speaking with me, The Bride. I couldn’t stop kissing Matt, my jaw ached from smiling, I barely ate and time slipped right through my fingers. People paused mid-stride in the street and tried to sneak a peek into the wedding car. I felt like a rockstar. I’ve never before or since felt so full up, so beautiful, so radiant with joy. The rush.

As the wedding guests watch the happy couple they think of the person they love. They turn to them. They remember the first moments. The perfect and true ones. When it was all so simple and love conquered all. Disagreements dissolve, worries subside. Like a tide retreating from the shore and all that is left is that wonderful, glittery, golden sand. The pure stuff.

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And in those moments I wonder if it’s the wedding I love or the emotion in the people who are there. There is a certain something about a wedding, isn’t there? It doesn’t even matter if you know what is going on. During the Sri Lankan ceremony the priest was speaking in sanskrit. I had no idea what he was saying and neither did eighty per cent of the guests, Sri Lankan or otherwise. But his voice shivered on through the bones nonetheless. The couple stepped around a fire seven times; each one to represent a blessing for a strong union (including sharing in joys and sorrows, growing together in strength and being lifelong friends). Drums were beaten, petals were thrown, whoops went up from the crowd. We watched the love pass between them and we sighed to one another.

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Oh yes, we do love a love story.

Hugs, Hannah x

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