She was beautiful. Silver-haired, petite and with the finest English accent to boot.

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We sat next to each other on two silver benches, side by side, watching other beautiful people and the world inside the George bush airport, Houston go by.

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She read a book on her Kindle while I ate my Jalapeno soft pretzel. From Auntie Anne’s.

It was the first time she’d ‘rested’ all day.  See, she was flying to Peru from the UK to spend time with her mother. Her aging mother. She’d left home that morning, and had ended up in the wrong terminal at the airport – lets just say her husband who was ferrying her there was not pleased. She almost missed her flight, hardly slept on the journey to the States and was enjoying her first period of calm that day.

I was heading home, from New York City. Happy, tired, in love with the vacation I’d had.

And we got talking about food. And life. And love.

We talked non-stop but not rapidly for she was so full of grace and poise. I paced myself.

We found ourselves talking about mince and minced meat. She told me how she froze everything in single layers on cookie sheets, and then once rock hard, she peeled them off and tossed into bags. That way, she could always break of chunks of meat to add to soups and stews. She did the same with beans. Froze it in a thin layer. And a myriad of other things.

I can’t remember her name though. But I won’t let that take me down. Make me feel sad.

I listened and looked on in awe.

And filed it away for future use.

Like today, like now.

With my ginger and garlic paste.

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A paste that makes life easy for me.

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Take equal parts peeled ginger and garlic. Like a cup each.

Here are some tips on how to peel lots of garlic, from using two bowls, to hot water and a special garlic cannoli! Even cutting it in half!

And tips on peeling ginger too – aka How to Peel ginger Kitchen Hacks!

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Pop in a blender with some oil. Like half a cup. Or less if you like. I use Canola.

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Blend…..

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And blend till a puree forms.

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You can add some turmeric powder from the get go or wait till the end to add it.

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Then blitz again, till it takes on the colour of sunshine. A beautiful, bright yellow.

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Pop some in a jar and stash in the fridge.

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Spread some thin on a cookie sheet, like the beautiful silver-haired lady recommended.

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Cover it with cling film. Let it freeze.

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Then remove from the tray into a zippy bag. Seal properly.

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Break off as and when needed. Imagine doing the same with mince.

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The very ‘Tip of Life’.

Use the paste, popular in Indian cuisine as you like.

In stirfries of rice, noodles and sauces.

In salsas.

In soups.

Anyhow you like.

Forget the toil and trauma of peeling ginger and garlic each time a recipe calls for it.

All you have to do is stretch out….and reach for it.

Life made Easy.

And years on, I still think of her and wonder if I’ll grow old with grace. Find the peace she so exuded and the love that thoroughly embraced her.

I wonder and I hope.

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