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My Favourite Things – Spotlight On Me!

by on June 5, 2011

This month, my favourite things revolve around special people. My special people. And people who make me feel special. People who cause you to see yourself as you ought to be….or aspire to be.


Lone poppy, Nikon D40

So read on and enjoy…

A great author

A few weeks ago, gathered around my dining table, were 5 ladies happily eating their way through a myriad of verrines. In the course of conversation, I mentioned the ‘Foodies of the World’ cookbook, willing them to add yet another gorgeous inspiring book to their shelves. One of the ladies snapped one up and then shocked me by saying ‘Will you please sign it?’

Usually authors are prepared to sign books. They have their favourite pen to hand, have considered all the phrases to scribble and may even be a touch blasé, having done this repeatedly over the years. Unlike me, who hadn’t even considered that an option.

I beamed and grinned and smiled, touched at the gesture. With a flourish it was signed, ‘With all my love’! I guess I ought to start seeing myself as an author!

A popular ‘cook’

A few weeks after becoming a world famous author, I headed to Cambridge, UK.

On a fine weekday afternoon, midway into the workshop I was attending, one of the facilitators walked past me just as I was headed to lunch. He said ‘Oz, there is a delicious Mango slaw for lunch, you should try it.’ Mango slaw, I thought to myself, I made one a few weeks ago for Queen B. Not wanting to overplay the ‘connection’, I said nothing and served myself up some. Nice I thought.

Till a few minutes later, another facilitator walked up to me and said ‘Oz, your Mango slaw is delicious’. Confusion. Wonder. More confusion. She took me, (I think) by the hand and we walked over to the buffet stand where my Kitchen Butterfly banner stared back at me. ‘Courtesy of Kitchen Butterfly’ it said. And I was chuffed to no end. Definitely my favourite thing – having my recipes made and shared!

See facilitator 1 had shared the recipe with the resident chef, who had whipped up a version of the recipe, replacing the cashews with pine nuts. And a number of my workshop mates loved it when an impromptu survey…in class was conducted – I did have to stand up and acknowledge myself as a food writer and cook!


My recipe, beautifully garnished by Chef Alex at the Moeller Centre, Cambridge

Poppy season and poppy seeds


May and June are months when I revel in the beauty of roadsides and fields, awash with red poppies. I marvel at the thin stems, and the delicate petals, withstanding strong Dutch winds and swaying to the rhythms of spring.


I love the Czech pastries we enjoyed in Prague made from poppy seed jam. Soft, bread pastry rolled out flat like pizza dough, and filled in concentric rings with a creamy custard, alternating with poppy seed paste and rolls stuffed with the same paste. That was the first time I knew poppy seeds could be used other than as bread/pastry toppings.


And no soon after, I came across a ‘Taschen  recipe from Deb of smitten kitchen.



A few years ago, a mentor and senior friend said ‘Consider your friends your personal board of directors’. And I do. That singular statement has brought clarity to the importance of the ones I hold dear. Scattered all over the globe, and with varying histories. I have friends from my childhood and friends from university. Friends from my expat life and friends from my blog. And countless other links and connections, too numerous to mention. One thing they all have in common is our friendship, the support I garner, the advice I receive….and sometimes telling off and lots, lots more.

Which is where I announce that I am now the proud owner of a DSLR. Yes…..because of my friend. On a long telephone conversation, I mentioned the premature death of my Canon G10, and my dilemma – Apple laptop or new camera? To which she responded ‘Get yourself the laptop and I’ll send you my Nikon D40’. And you know what, after all my screaming and freaking out – she did!

Oh, the world of Single Lens Reflex……I am having a ball. Learning and playing and testing and getting to know my new BFF (Best Friend Forever). Thankful because I am super blessed with friends who care. And I hope you are too. See some of the first photos….


Shrimp burgers, Nikon D40

Adding things to my bucket list, and striking them off at the same time

Like Punting. # 60. Afterall, when you’re in Cambridge, do as the residents and tourists do.


Attend Evesong at Kings College and then rent a flat-bottomed boat with friends. Essentially, go for a punt!


Pimms in hand. Then take a gentle row downstream, steering and navigating with the punt. A long, javelin-like pole. Fun, great scenery but no walk in the park. Learning sailing techniques in old age are a tough thing to do, as I myself humbly found out!


Lifting my eyes up to the hills, from whence my help cometh (while punting), Psalm 121

And when I was done, exhausted…I rested on the edge of the boat, almost going to sleep.


And those Ladies and Gentlemen are my favourite things this June. I’m basking in life’s abundance, seeing myself renewed and reinvigorated to think and dream. To wonder ‘What if?’ To say to myself ‘What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?’ To reach, to dream, perchance to even succeed!

Stay well and share your favourite things with me this month. Please.


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