Spring is now with us. What a relief! In Britain we have had the Winter that we honestly thought would last forever. It reminded me of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe by CS Lewis where the White Witch turns Narnia into the land where it is "always Winter and never Christmas". Frankly, Christmas was far enough away in the collective memory for things to seem that way.
Our March was cold, dark and miserable. Fortunately at the end of the month the clocks went forward, giving us an extra hour of daylight in the evening, where it makes the most difference for the majority of the population. And as March turned into April, the temperatures have slowly risen to their current level - which resembles Spring. A few degrees cooler than it should perhaps be, but much much warmer than it has been.
As a result, we are incredibly grateful for the odd blue sky, a little bit of sunshine and temperatures in double figures. If you are reading this from warmer climes, you may think it a little strange that we are getting so excited over temperatures in double figures, since the chances are you regard 10-15°C (50°-59.00° Fahrenheit) as still rather chilly. Well, for some of us in the UK it is reason to rejoice. 15°C plus is reason to put on sunglasses and consider no coat at all or even shorts!
The warming weather, the longer daylight hours and the flora and fauna coming back to life has brought back a spring to our collective step here in London. We feel more cheerful and more energetic. Even a little friendlier! People almost have smiles on their faces. Almost, of course. We are British, you know!
For me it is miraculous to see Spring. The Lotus Eaters in their song "The First Picture Of You" (which admittedly was about Summer) had a lyric about how special it was "Seeing the flowers scream their joy". When I see the Spring Daffodils, Tulips, Hyacinths and other flowers emerge from their Wintry sleep, I rejoice in them screaming their joy. It's a joyful and pleasant sound. It is only a scream because it is loud, colourful and delivered with energy. In every other way, it is far from dischordant and distressing.
So I hope you are enjoying the change of season. And I hope you will enjoy my collection of things which have diverted, distracted and interested me this past month.
The photographs are of the recent floral displays I have seen when I've been out and about. The vibrant colours and vigour make me smile and lift my mood. I really hope they have the same effect on you.
Blogs worth following:
Amazing recipes: http://www.feasttotheworld.com/
Cool travel and food website: http://migrationology.com/
French recipes (in French) by expert cook and vineyard owner: http://www.cookagnes.com/
Attractive and simple food by Gabrielle Arnold: http://www.honestfare.com/
Minty Cocktail Madness - Grasshopper (Martini cocktail), but do go easy on the cream or it will be too heavy: http://fiveoclockcocktails.com/2013/03/25/the-grasshopper/#more-2406
Beef stir fry recipe: http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/2013/04/mongolian-beef-with-broccoli-lovecdnbeef.html
Meatballs. I heart meatballs! http://metro.co.uk/2013/01/31/the-bowlers-meatball-cookbook-offers-bad-jokes-but-great-recipes-3374806/
Lai's suggested meatball dish, Hairy Bikers' Meatball Tagine: http://www.hairybikers.com/recipes/kefta-tagine-meatballs-with-eggs/1081
Spanish Tapas - Padron peppers: http://johnnys-kitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/pimientos-de-padron.html
Seared Lamb Chops With Blood Orange Sauce with Roasted Okra With Chili Oil http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2013/02/recipegluten-free-seared-lamb-chops.html
Colourful Vegetarian Mediterranean Salsa chopped salad: http://www.sophistimom.com/mediterranean-salsa-kashi/
Meaty treaty! Him Indoors is going to love this Steak and Blue cheese salad! http://lizzieeatslondon.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/steak-blue-cheese-salad.html
Mumbai food odyssey with Jehangir Mehta and Vivek Singh. Video clip of Bombay's foodie havens!
Freekeh, it's a tasty grain, and not freaky at all! http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/le-freekeh-cest-chic-the-middle-eastern-grain-has-foodlovers-and-chefs-smitten-8525279.html
I love roast lamb, and lamb curry, but found this article on the versatility of lamb very interesting: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/mar/29/how-to-cook-lamb
Cake which is a work of art! http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2013/apr/17/cake-looks-like-a-mondrian-painting
Mr Cake hands in his notice, in cake form (natch!) http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2013/apr/16/resignation-cake-sweetest-goodbye
Searching For Sugar Man
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Cold Fact - Sixto Rodriguez
Coming From Reality - Sixto Rodriguez
Gods & Monsters - I Am Kloot