"Now bring us some figgy compote and a cup of good cheer"
Home, home, home, home, home, I couldn't be happier to be home. University is exciting and interesting and the people are absolutely wonderful, but loving one thing and missing another aren't mutually exclusive. I've been loving the simplest of things: sitting in my living room and talking with my family, simply being with my boyfriend and catching up on everything we love, baking elaborate desserts and just chopping ingredients for my mum, sports with my dad, my sister's stories, walking our to my favourite neighbourhoods, eating brilliant food, and the absolutely perfect December weather (26º, breeze and sunshine, anyone?).
The house has been rolling along on a cheerful stream of cookies, cakes, muffins, fruit, and favourite dishes. Last weekend my family made corn muffins, gingerbread cookies and fig compote, and the food gods conspired to make them all go beautifully together. I have had corn muffins with dollops of different jams and my mum's compote (not too sweet, gorgeously coloured and silky smooth), and I've loved spreading it on gingerbread cookies all week. The smell of the gingerbread spice was divine, and there's something wonderfully childlike about the excitement you feel picking shapes, rolling and re-rolling the dough, cutting the cookies, having some warm with your coffee and others smeared with icing.
These are the kinds of things I miss so much when I'm away, and why I was counting down every day until the holidays. My friend and I were sitting one night complaining about all the work we had to do, when he stopped and said,"a few months ago we would have given absolutely anything to be here, and here we are." It's so true – I have difficult essays to write, but I am lucky to have an education; I miss my parents' cooking and Bombay food, but I never have to go hungry; I complain about the miserable weather but I have clean clothes and a warm room to go back to every night.
It feels as though I have not seen as much devastation and destruction as I have over the past year, from migration to floods, landslides to crashes, terrorist attacks to earthquakes, and this Christmas/Sinterklaas/New Year/One-Month-from-Diwali I feel more aware and grateful than ever for where I am right now.
From BBC Good Food
Note: We wanted a more spicy cookie, so I made a mix of about 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 3/4 teaspoons fresh ginger, but it was still too mild. Perhaps some black pepper and even cardamom could taste good, and next time I'd definitely increase the spice proportions. If you like a moderately spiced cookie, stick with these proportions, and if you like it more plain, use the original.