2016: the year of spaciousness

Because there's more to life than work

Recipe for a perfect afternoon

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Turned into a beautiful afternoon, so we decided to go for a walk down to the nature reserve and then along the embankment that skirts it through to one of the local parks and back home – about 4 miles. The wind from the sea was still bitterly cold, but as soon as we turned onto the embankment it instantly felt warmer. Butterflies were everywhere, the air was full of the sound of skylarks and it was so clear we could see the hills about 30 miles away.

The park is a Victorian one, but it’s had a few revamps in recent years courtesy of Lottery funding, some of which paid for this fountain.

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Apparently it’s a copy of the original one there, but that must have gone a long time ago as I’ve lived here all my life and don’t remember it. There’s a lake beyond it with huge sprinkling fountains – all in all a rather nice place to be on a sunny Saturday. As the park’s such an old one, it has some fantastic trees and plants. The maples were just coming into flower…

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Some huge magnolias looked beautiful against the sky…

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…and had carpets of wood anemones underneath.

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Back home we had a cafetiere of freshly ground coffee while we sat in the garden, then did a bit of light weeding until it was time for tea. And tonight it was one of our favourite meals which always heralds the start of summer for us – jewelled couscous. We both love this, but it’s best with fresh mint and chives from the garden so it’s a no-no in the winter months: but then it really is the sort of meal you want to eat outside, in the sun, with a glass of chilled white wine close by. With no cooking apart from toasting the almonds (5 mins dry fry in a non-stick pan) and pouring boiling water on the couscous (5 mins), it’s just a question of chopping the herbs, feta, black olives, red pepper, adding some pomegrante seeds and sultanas and then mixing everything together with some olive oil and lemon juice.

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I love ingredients that look pretty!

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And the finished result!

IMG_1227Admittedly it then takes you half an hour to clean all the spatters of pomegranate juice off your face, glasses, kitchen cupboards and everywhere else – let me tell you now that I have never yet managed to free the seeds by tapping with a wooden spoon, nor have I met anyone who has. I think this recipe came originally from Jo Pratt’s ‘In the Mood for Food’ – great book.

Walk, gardening, coffee, great meal – and there’s a cake in the oven too. Happy weekend everyone!

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