I thought that after all the bleakness of January and February, this place could do with a bit of cheerfulness and positivity. So I’ve been trying, very hard, to think of all the little positives. Simple things that have been making my days good.
1. Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Yes, I have to pay a small fortune to get this magazine, but I love it so much that it’s worth it. Each month it plops, with reassuring regularity, through my door and fills me with culinary excitement. Cook’s Illustrated was the original title, edited by the inimitable Christopher Kimball, that went on to give us America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country. It’s full of great ideas to save time or make jobs in the kitchen easier; heaped full of new and re-invented recipes (all tested to ATK standard!) and, the best bit of all, is the letter from the editor, which is full of interesting tidbits from Vermont.
2. My new teapot. Yes, it’s stainless steel, but I prefer steel teapots to ceramic because of their durability, ease of cleaning and is unbreakable when it comes to Mr VP! My mother jokes that she had to get married to get her Old Hall stainless steel teapot and whilst mine isn’t Old Hall, it is very nice indeed. It’s insulated, so keeps warm for quite a long time and pours without a drip – perfect! It was a (very) early tenth-anniversary present for myself and Mr VP and we use it every day.
3. On the same day that mum gave us a teapot, Mr VP asked if I could buy him one of those AeroPress coffee presses. We don’t drink coffee regularly, but when we do, we like a nice cup. I can only say that the device itself is amazing; it makes espresso coffee (or filter – your choice) in minutes, doesn’t require a fancy machine and according to all of the rave reviews, brews coffee better than any barista can! Given that it was only £23 and we got £7 of free coffee thrown in (we bought it from a coffee shop where they did that offer), it has been a great deal. Now I tend to stay in and drink lattés because they are better than shop bought (and a lot cheaper!). And you see that rainbow mug? I treated myself to that the other day; we had quite a few pieces of ‘rainbow-ware’ in Northumberland, but it’s all in storage, so I thought I’d treat myself to a mug. I like that every mug in our house has a story.
4. The Cribs. I’ve fallen in love with the band all over again, or rather their 2007 album Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever. It has made me smile (and I am so glad that something has made me smile!). Particularly Men’s Needs and I’m A Realist.
5. Bright sunny days. The amount of snow we’ve had has been absolutely ridiculous but thankfully none of it has settled here. One moment it’s bright and sunny and within ten minutes we’ll be in the middle of a blizzard. We were lucky, though, because it hasn’t settled. Most of the time it has been sunny and bright, which I am immensely thankful for.