Wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season with loved ones!
Here we are at the brink of yet another year in passing. Christmas to me marks a special time, beyond the festival itself. Sure, it is a celebration with friends and family and a time to relax and enjoy the good things in your life. For me, it is also the time I am in a forced unwind. I choose to spend this time of the year in the countryside of Ireland where I get a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday business in New York. The schedule of these few days could not be more removed from the routine of regular life.
For one, there is only sporadic phone signal, much less, internet! Ha! So, I spend most of my time luxuriating in relaxing in bed, enjoying the company of people around, reading and all in all going back in a way to the simplicity of my childhood. Cozied by the warmth of a real coal fire, every evening, I catch up on soap operatic shows, introspect about my life and those I love, think back about the year that was and try to figure out where I could have been better.
In short, this is the time for reflection and resolution!
And, I look forward to it each year; As November rolls along, I am already itching to get away and get my little solitude and curry fries. I am making plans of things I want to do and telling myself to not hold on to it dearly because the countryside may have its own plans.
Usually, when I am away from home, I make plans; lots of lists of what I want to do, see, eat and experience. My first visit here taught me that the best laid plans always go awry in the Irish climate. This time of the year, also gives me the courage to let go. You may have guessed by now that letting go is not my forte by any stretch. There are always too many moving parts at this time - the weather, commitments, visiting friends and their changeable schedules, potential allergens - that I am happy for anything that happens at this time, even if it just baking a cake and doing nothing at all for the whole day!
This year, I made two changes that I feel allows me to enjoy the lack of control better. One, I made a work out schedule, atleast for the week leading up to the indulgence of Christmas. I continued my alternate day runs. Two, I ate less potatoes. You may laugh at the latter but when you realise that this is potato country and you have issues in consuming them, it is a HUGE decision! And, when the belly is happy, everything else usually seems sunnier than normal :)
Also, this year, the day I landed here, I was greeted with a brilliant, vivid rainbow. I knew then, all will be well now and in the future! :)
So, here we go. I wish you a fabulous time of joy, laughter, merriment as well as courage to reflect and make good choices on the important things in your life, be it love, family or work!
And, to celebrate the happy things in life, there must always be cake! This year, I baked you a Gluten Free Orange and Nigella Seed Loaf drenched in Ginger Syrup... I hope you make it soon and enjoy it as much as I did.
Orange and Nigella Seed Cake Loaf
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter into the orange juice.
In a separate bowl, whip the eggs with the sugar until double in volume, light and fluffy.
Fold in the orange zest. Add the cooled butter and orange juice mixture in and whisk to a smooth fluid.
Sift in the flour and baking soda in three parts and fold into the liquid mix. Do not overmix.
Pour into a prepared loaf tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden on top and springy to touch.
Remove and place on rack. While it is still warm, pour the ginger syrup all over. Let cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
1/4 inch of ginger sliced
Bring all ingredients to a boil.
Let it gently simmer until reduced to half.
Strain out the ginger and store the syrup in an airtight jar.
Refrigerate and it will keep for a while.