Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Carrots and other veg...

I'm clattering away on my computer at home (positioned in my front window so that I can see all nature's goings on outside) when my weekly fruit and veg box arrives, which is the source of much excitement for me nowadays. For a number of reasons really...first of all, looking at all the fresh fruit and veg and semi-planning in my head what I'll be doing with it all over the next week and secondly, being completely amazed that, for someone who, 5 years ago, was only competent in compilation food (ie. tasty items that can be arranged on a platter to make the food look really attractive and me, a 'great host'), I am creating meals from seasonal produce - which means stretching my repertoire and not always eating the same things.

This has only been going on for about 6months (the veggie box I mean...) but I remember tasting the tomatoes out of my first box and thinking - wow! - what amazing flavour. Sometimes the weeks are challenging - learning what swiss chard was, washing real dirt off the veggies and working out what to do with mountains of potatoes & carrots (unlike other things, these seem to be available from my local farm all year round!) - and other times, I can't wait to get my hands on local apples and pears, or this week's special Fairtrade Pineapple, grown by small scale farmers in Togo.

I eventually worked out how to vary the deliveries to ensure I can actually use up what I get and I feel enormously proud in making things from scratch and wasting so little. We even have a local recycling service that collects food scraps in bio-degradable bags each week so the 'landfill' waste is even less than before (and it is truly amazing the volume of peeling and scraps produced!) I even find myself feeling a bit resentful if I have to buy organic produce at the supermarket in between times but this is rare, now that my planning and willingness to search for ways to use things up has improved.

I just have one question....what is the difference between a regular carrot and a 'juicing' carrot?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Nature abhors a vacuum

I went to a friend's 40th birthday party last night...Avril and I worked for the same company for a while (she left mid 2008 and I was made redundant in December 2008)...and bumped into some faces I did not expect to see.

Being a redundancy meant that the gap between when I was advised my job was at risk and the actual finish date was only a week so there were many people I had worked with that I didn't get to see before I left. Some of those that I saw last night had only heard I'd left through the company rumour mill - as efficient as ever - but all were surprised I had been on the list to go, were pleased to see me and wished me the best for whatever is next for me.

What really struck me (and it's not the first time) is this whole principle that nature 'abhors a vacuum' and the gap that is created behind you for others and in front for yourself when you leave, is quickly filled as life moves on, as other opportunities for fulfilment and exploration present themselves. It is easy to move so quickly in filling these voids that we miss the chance to get present to our lives developing new shape...I am looking forward to a busy and varied week and am now wondering what new shapes will emerge for me.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Snow Angels...

Bit of a gap in the ol' blog but I'm back for 2009...

It seemed right to say something about snow and the amazing amount of it we had fall in SE England a couple of weeks ago. Not working at the moment meant that I could get out there and marvel at it all - and it was not just a little bit but ankle deep pristine snow that lit up the world in a way I hadn't ever seen before. Watching snow falling is a fascinating thing for me and whilst I don't quite understand the science of it all, waking up to this was extraordinarily beautiful.

This is the best snow angel I've ever seen - courtesy of Karen Goss. Our snow was too deep to get the view of the grass underneath like this...but we did manage a snowball or two.