The last two items packed into my carry-on luggage ahead of our recent adventures were a brand new cloth-covered note book and a favourite ballpoint pen. I made a promise to myself that I would put words on paper at the end of each day – keeping a journal of our travels and investing time in the enjoyable process of writing.
I'm so glad that I did this over the 45 days that we were away, otherwise some of those experiences might fade into memories all too soon. Creating a photo and story book of the trip is at the top of my agenda, so the journal (the pages of which are now full) is an excellent point of reference – as are the many postcards and photographs collected along the way.
After visiting my father's final resting place in Budapest, quieter moments gave me the opportunity to reflect on my parents and the way in which they made the most of their retirement. Gently, but with gusto. Travelling, cooking, gardening, reading, enjoying the company of family and friends, walking by the seaside, and living out the last of their days.
I relish that I, too, am now retired and can spend time playing in the kitchen, experimenting with recipes and recreating the good things that Peter and I tasted on our travels. Compiling a family memoir and recipe book is also (back) on my agenda. In the fullness of time, I will revisit the manuscript that's been sitting in the bottom drawer since the 1990s. Ü
That pile of postcards and my journal have pride of place on my kitchen table, alongside several bags of Noble Sweet (Édes nemes) paprika purchased from a market in Budapest. Some are gifts and others are for my own larder. I won't run out too quickly, for my cousin, Gyuri, gave me a gift of paprika (and palinka!) before we left. Édes nemes is essential for Magyar cooking: gulyás, paprikás and the like do not taste as good if made with the hot or bitter varieties of paprika.
In an effort not to overload our suitcases, we promised not to buy too many trinkets, but I did treat myself to this porridge spurtle and will 'christen' it on this award winning recipe by the lovely Christina, who won the annual World Porridge Making Championship Specialty Award in Carrbridge, Scotland last October. It reminds me of the Great Kitchens built by James IV in the vaults at Stirling Castle. More on that in a future post.
This snippet was compiled as part of my regular In My Kitchen series, which is hosted by my dear friend Celia, from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Tell me, dear readers, what's happening in your kitchen this month?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.