Posts from — February 2017
February 14, 2017
Oh, the good advice we forget and forget and forget again. The things that cajole us out of a funk, that dust us off and yank us to our feet, that make life sweet again. Mum’s wisdom, your best friend’s sage counsel, the oldest of chestnuts. Sleep on it, take a walk, you need a rest, have a cup of tea, sit, breathe, just do your best and for goodness’ sake stop beating yourself up. You know the ones, don’t you? And yet, we forget.
I have a decent handful of these chestnuts, these tricks, for applying when the going gets murky and mucky. The remedial cup of tea is usually the first to be administered. But, like most of us, I’m really great at forgetting the things that are good for me when I am neck-deep in self-doubt and loathing. Of all the great tips I forget – taking a short break is a favourite.
February 8, 2017
We’ve been waking up to snow all week. This island on the west coast doesn’t get a lot of snowy days, and even though this winter has been colder and snowier than most, it’s still enough of a novelty that snowy wake-ups are awe-filled moments. Norman Rockwell moments, as DH put it this morning, watching Little e and The Tiger leaning on the back of the couch, heads together as they gazed out the window.
Last week also marked something I’ve been waiting for for over two years. Back then I started work on an old novel idea, reworking it for an older age group, and it morphed into a huge project, much bigger than my other two novels. It also took much longer to complete (something to do with now having two kids and house, I imagine). But finally, FINALLY, it went out to find a publishing home last week. Pushing art out of your life and into others’ can be terrifying, but this time, maybe because it seems to have taken so long (though I’m aware two years is not that long for a novel), I’m just relieved and excited.
Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe it will all be no, thank you. It’s not like I haven’t dealt with that before. But another voice says: who cares? It’s done. It’s out there. I did it. The feeling of achievement, the elation at having taken one sentence and grown it into a collection of thousands that make up a story that matters, is one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. On par with childbirth (maybe because it’s just another kind of birth). It’s floating and warm and grounding all at the same time. It’s yes.
So in celebration and affirmation, I naturally looked up yummy things to be made with our abundance of snow, and I came across one for frozen hot chocolate.
Snow Hot Chocolate
Adapted from this recipe
(makes about six full cups of snow hot chocolate)
10 oz good quality chocolate, chopped (or choc chips)
6 tsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
Melt the chocolate slowly over low heat (or in the microwave if you’re good at that), then add a little of the milk and the cocoa powder and whisk into a smooth, runny sauce. Add the rest of the milk and whisk until combined. Chill in the fridge until cold. Whip the cream either by hand with a whisk or with a machine, adding a little sugar if you like a bit sweet. Collect a large bowlful of fresh (and clean) snow–I’d estimate my bowl held ten cups or so–once the chocolate mixture is chilled. Scoop a cup of snow into as many mugs or teacups as you’re using and then pour the chocolate mixture over, just enough to wet the snow. It will shrink down and look like the snow is absorbing the liquid; stir until you have a chocolate slushie. You can add a bit more chocolate sauce if you like it less solid. Dollop with whipped cream–and chocolate shavings if you feel so inclined. Eat with spoons or drink from straws. Expect that you’ll want a second serving.
So here’s to sweetness, now and in the future, both creative and culinary.