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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

From The Sound of Music, one of my favourite films which I recently saw with my kids

Like Maria sings, when the dogs bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favourite things and then I don’t feel……………so……..bad.

Cherry Blossoms

Blossoms are my absolutely favourite things to welcome spring, after the cold, gorgeous white of winter, and this April my mind is on Japan, a country I’ve always associated with cherry blossoms. Do you know that cherry blossoms are edible? If you want an intro into the fantastic world of sakura as cherry blossoms are called in Japanese, look no further than Chika’s wonderful blog : She who eats. In one post, she goes a a bit gaga over sakura, exploring its depths and breadths. This year, she’s set up a relief fund for victims of the tsunami and earthquake disaster – stop by if you can.

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If you’re rather adventurous, you can venture out into a world of preserving your own blossoms as demonstrated by Merrill Stubbs in her ‘The New Staples’ column.

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Whatever you do, please add blossoms to your list of favourite things. And pray/think/meditate for Japan and show your support anyhow you can.

My Dough Whisk

Two years ago, I ordered some dough whisks for myself and my daughters from King Arthur’s Online shop- thanks to Clothilde of Chocolate and Zucchini who speaks lovingly about it, saying:

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I have put it to the test several times by now, and I am fully satisfied by its performance, be it in dealing with the above-mentioned choux pastry, the shaggy dough necessary to make no-knead bread, or yogurt scone batter.

Its secondary, less obvious usage is in guessing games, during which participating friends might speculate that it is really, and I quote, a racket to beat the dust out of carpets, or the latest model of scalp massager.

Though it is called a whisk, it looks nothing like your ballon or coiled sauce whisk, instead it has two stiff metal loops of different sizes with the large coil on top and the smaller one at the bottom, creating a bowl-like structure. Both coils are attached to a sturdy wooden handle. This weird shape allows you mix flour, water and yeast without creating a sticky mess. Just think of this as your handheld dough hook – it makes extremely light work of mixing up a batch of ‘lazy’ no-knead dough. My forté.

And because I’ve been making a lot of bread in the last few weeks, it has been my steady companion. It is called the Danish dough whisk and I’ll have to speak to some Danes I know for more context on its evolution and use in Denmark. Till then, admire it from all sides. Thank you very much.

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Pretty Bottles

One benefit of people knowing you love food is not just cooking and sharing yourself and delightful recipes with them, but receiving foodie gifts. A benefit I have received a number of times. This pretty bottle came in a sushi set which my Dutch neighbours gave me. It ended up in my Shoyu eggs.

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I loved the cap, the shape and the contents. I especially liked the fact that once I was done with the soy sauce, all the labelling came off in one fell swoop and now sits pretty in my kitchen cupboards, awaiting its day of ‘prop’ fame…..

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Markets

And this bowl of fruit was one I spotted in Prague on a sunny but cold February day. The colours and arrangement caught my breath.

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Sometimes the pleasures of life are so simple and I think of William Henry Davies who poemed:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

And so I leave you with a few of my favourite things, things that bring a smile on a rainy day. And I hope that whatever you’re going through, whereever you are, you have favourite things to bring a ray of hope.

With love X X X

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