Pandemic Pondering #375

Good Morning, Good Friday and we are embarking on another strange Easter. Yesterday my list of jobs included finishing the Christmas present wrapping. Not a usual deadline for early April but these are not usual times.

I don’t fully understand the movement of Easter dates but it must be around this early part of April quite often as my Facebook Memories page for today has lots of photographs of us specifically doing family stuff on the 2nd April. The dogs also appear to always be well groomed around now. Ready to charm relations into cuddles and tasty nibbles.

Miss Lola posing for best dog of the week.

In contrast, like many people this Easter, Hugo is looking rugged.

Motorways also seem to play a big part in memories of past April 2nds. The M25 and the M3 have their own mentions on Facebook . The M3 is recorded as being more like a car park than a motorway. 11 years ago we were heading to Southampton to visit a family member in Southampton and then travelling on to Cornwall We were stuck somewhere on the M25 and could see our friend Suzannah in a car next too us. She was also travelling between London and Devon. We managed a twenty minute catch up before the traffic moved!

Food is also a big part of any Easter and 10 years ago despite an over-full fridge and many Easter eggs we felt the need to visit Pattiserie Valerie and stock up on fancy calories.

In a previous iteration of record keeping there is also a lot of mentions of visiting comedy clubs or venues in early April. We trailed all over London for comedy but our ‘home’ pitch for laughter was the East Dulwich Comedy Club.Based either at the East Dulwich Tavern or The Hob in Forest Hill. We are never hecklers but we do often fall for being the victims of witty banter.

One Easter 6 years ago myself, Hannah and Hannahs mum had the mammoth task of sorting a mountain of Lego and Silvanian Families. It was a production line of cleaning and packing away for future family members.

In the middle of the task we were stopped by a phone call from Japan. Sam, my son, and his friend Martin had managed, in a drunken state, to upset members of the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza and were being chased around a city by them. Silvanian families and Lego were put aside as we nattered to a loquacious Sam who was hiding in a doorway.

Family, friends, travel, food, laughter and memories. The stories of Easters of the past .

Fingers crossed for next year.

Pandemic Ponderings #25 Chapter 3

Chapter 3 finds us in North London where an Easter tradition of 18 people gathering has shrunk to just two this past weekend. Two flatmates isolating together, one of whom is a friend from The Heart Hospital. The numbers might have been down but the creative effort was high.

The day was lubricated with a Hix Fix, surely one of the easiest cocktails in the world to make. Two teaspoons of Cherry Liqueur in a saucer style champagne glass topped up with Champagne or sparkling wine. I’m loving the Pandemic twist with this one. No one shopped for the desirable but non essential Morello Cherries.

Googling has informed me that TV chef Keith Floyd drank two of these at The Fish House, Lyme Regis, just before he died.

It was his Last Supper.

This is hugely relevant to this blog as this exactly where Nic experienced her first Hix Fix and thankfully survived. Hugely relevent too because I go off piste a bit with this blog.I promise I will pull it all together in the end.

This is where I take some time out and share a family anecdote. This is getting just like a gathering of friends and family.

My Dad knew that he was dying, he had terminal bowel cancer . He remained mentally alert during his increasingly rare periods of wakefulness. He had a schedule of Last Suppers that needed to be fulfilled, each with its own tiny guest list. Shamefully I only remember the ultimate and penultimate ones although I believe afternoon tea with his cousin, Gwen, was also one. As anyone, who has spent a lot of time with someone who is dying, will attest not only the earthly guests attend these gatherings. My grandmother had afternoon tea with my Dad and his cousin, something that slightly bothered him as he was eating in bed. The fact that she was dead was not a bother at all. The next day was scheduled to be an Indian Takeaway, with a very specific order from a particular Take Away, it was to be shared with one of my Dad’s much loved work colleagues called Gordon and his wife Doreen. It was a surprise to us all when my husband’s Dad turned up. Not only was he too dead he didn’t much like Indian Takeaway.

The actual Last Supper was Smoked Salmon Sandwiches and Prosseco and was attended in the earthly sense by Dad’s friends Margaret and Tony, myself,my husband at the time , Steve and my Uncle Peter. The three of us had been my dad’s only carers in the last week and were the fulfilment department of food dreams and guest lists. My mum was about but sadly she was already terminally ill herself and had a rare neurological disorder.

The guest list at the actual last supper went wildly out of control. Nothing wrong with the earthly participants but the deceased ones went crazy. There were people there we didn’t even know were dead.

In the morning we discovered that amid the uncleared plates and unfinished Prosseco glasses my dad had slipped off with the uninvited guests.

Now that is why googling in the middle of a blog is a risky old business. The Hix Fix knocked me completely off my chosen path. My apologies to Nic and her house party for two and those of you who were waiting for the next course.. No more googling for today.

To be fair Nic has suggested in her email to me that the Hix Fix may have knocked her slightly off the path of culinary perfection but like everyone who has worked in highly challenging environments in the Health Service she was prepared and she knew what had to be done.

Here we are back on track.

Big, fat, succulent , scallops on a pea puree with crispy Iberico Ham.

Followed by

Chicken Mole with Rice.

I am just going to have to slip off to Google . Mole!!

Wow. South American Chicken Stew with many gorgeous ingredients. This is going to be a Lockdown learning experience.

Here is the desert, slightly improvised because Nic had a broken oven. Lime and ginger posset with sesame things. It should have been served with home made sesame shortbread.

Thanks Nic Delahunty that was amazing food , thank you for taking the time to share.

The plan was to head off to Hungary next in Chapter 3 but I’ve probably given you enough for today so tomorrow that’s where we are off to.