The Goodness of a Simple Salad

So what was for dinner then last night? Yes, you all guessed right it included avocado, obviously – as this present from Miss Crémant actually goes out of date. So I opted for  a salad – a very simple one with as a base lamb lettuce and shredded beetroot, topped off with diced avocado, fried bacon and mushrooms, garnished with a poached egg on top  (that is how I like my eggs best – poached). As a dressing I did my own creation mixing together honey, mustard, cranberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, pumpkin oil and virgin olive oil. I know this might sound like a weird combination, but this salad included everything I like eating, and the combo of hot and cold ingredients is really soothing. The vinaigrette might come across as strange but the base of honey and balsamic vinegar is something I learned in a cooking course and I just like adding other oils and vinegars to it to spice things up – I enjoy being creative in the kitchen. I only just recently discovered the cranberry vinegar, and I love it as it adds some sweetness and fruitiness to the vinaigrette, whereas the mustard counterbalances with its spiciness. The salad was ready in no time and it was a real treat munching on it and so yummy. It was a healthy alternative to my usual dinners and also reminded me of how much I love cooking.


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Breakfast

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day, right? I can already hear my mum laughing out loud when my dad (who seems to be stalking me on Facebook) will report this back to her. The thing is I usually leave the house without having breakfast – I just find it too hard in the morning to get out of bed, and I am definitely not the fastest when getting ready, so that leaves me no time for breakfast (this is my own fault, I do admit that). However, especially taking my illness into account, I figured that not having breakfast in the morning, was maybe not the best thing for my health. Hence I needed an alternative plan and this involved me buying my boxes of crunchy cereals and storing them in the kitchen in our office so that when I come in the morning I can make myself a bowl of cereals while going through my emails. That tactic has worked out well so far and I have been having breakfast on a regular basis.

Last Tuesday though I decided to give myself a bit of a treat as I arrived early in the city centre – so I went to Exki to have breakfast there, which featured: a cup of coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, a breakfast jumper (muesli, yoghurt and kiwi) and a croissant. It was indeed very yummy!!!!! On top of that it was a nice “me-moment”, where I could gather my thoughts or let them wonder for a bit … A nice experience definitely to be repeated.

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A tiny bit of Heaven on Earth

Heaven exists, well at least for me, and at least right now in this particular moment in time. I am blissfully happy, and all because of an avocado. When I met Lulu for our sushi lunch today, she surprised me with a gift, a very special gift – a luscious perfectly green avocado.

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I was so moved; I had tears in my eyes. I know this sounds utterly silly and completely incomprehensible – but those little thoughtful things, those gestures of kindness are the ones that get me through the illness. I literally treasured this avocado like it was my most valued possession, making sure it would not get bruised in my bag on my way home.

Tonight, with unimaginable pleasure, I sliced this avocado in half and then into cubes to sprinkle it above a lovely healthy salad of mixed greens with shredded carrots and beetroot, diced tomatoes and peppers in a cranberry-pumpkin-vinegar-mustard-honey vinaigrette. It was really yummy!

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I have to admit the avocado was not ripe enough, but I could simply not wait any longer. I will leave the other half in the fridge so that it becomes a bit mellower. Apparently diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but this girl’s best friend for now is an avocado. And the good thing is I know now where to stock up on it!

An Avocado Love-Hate Relationship

Avocado – I guess there is nothing more than I would like to have right now than a nice, ripe (but not too ripe), firm, mellow, and soft (but not too soft) avocado. All I can think about this second is avocado, green avocadoes (well it actually does not matter whether they have the black skin or the green skin, as long as they are green inside). Or whole buckets of guacamole, which I would devour with such gusto.At the beginning I kept telling me “This is just the chemo talking Steffi, just ignore it, it is not actually what you want.” I was determined to show will power and in the last 4 months had only eaten avocados in one form or another on about 5 occasions… However the craving has been getting worse and worse; and right now it is the worst it has ever been. I have been given the really good advice by women having experience pregnancy (so they know a thing or two about cravings), to just cave in and give my body what it is asking for. I so would love to do this, however there are just two tiny obstacles preventing me from reaching my land of milk or honey (or avocado in my case): 1) avocados are not in season (and neither my mum nor me have been able to find any in our regular supermarket) and 2) it is Sunday today and the shops are closed.

I am sure though that the avocados must be somewhere. They probably decided to cover up in the casemates or the underground, anxious about my attack, trembling in fear for their dear life. However their cover has been blown, as I have discovered some of their species in restaurants, cleverly hidden in salads, guacamole or sushi.  So there has definitely not been an avocado-import-ban for Luxembourg (what a relief!).

Sole consolation right now: my friends from Canada took pity on me and my pain and sent me pictures of guacamole. I have literally been drooling over those, which in turn has only aggravated my craving.  I love my friends though for trying to help me out here (lots of love and hugs sent to the Niagara Falls region girls)! One thing is for sure though, I will be out for an avocado hunt tomorrow, Luxembourg be aware, I will be ruthless and won’t return home until I have had at least one bit of avocado!

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Raspberry

It has just recently been brought to my attention that (breast) cancer apparently does not take well to raspberry (or red fruit for that matter) – jolly well I thought to myself, because I on the other hand love them. This actually means that I have a new weapon to beat the “little sucker” (the nickname my friends gave to the cancerous tumour). In my dreams I can already see myself on a battlefield throwing tons of raspberries at this stupid cancer, visualising the clogged up malignant cells cringing,  screaming out in agony every time a raspberry hits them, curling into a ball and vanishing with every attack. Whereas I grow stronger with every curveball of raspberry I am throwing at my semi-invisible enemy with such zest and gusto that the crowds just keep cheering on. Just in case anyone wants to bet on this battle, I can assure you that I will so win this encounter, no doubt!

I am thrilled that raspberries are now my new warrior allies – because they are by far my favourite fruit. Roux seemed well surprised by this revelation –“You surely meant to say that strawberries are your favourite fruit, no?” he asked. Nope! I feel that raspberries are completely underestimated and underrated – I love the fact that they are tiny, you can easily pop them into your mouth and I love crushing them open with my tongue instead of chewing them.  I am also fascinated by their texture, with the little bumps and tiny hairs, they are just so unique! In my eyes there is nothing better than vanilla ice-cream with warm raspberry sauce – such a delight. Moreover one of my favourite Ben & Jerry ice-cream flavours is the Bohemian Raspberry (containing vanilla ice-cream, fudge brownies and raspberry swirls). I don’t think I need to present any more arguments to prove my love for raspberries.

So it should come as no surprise that after my last chemo my food cravings changed from avocado to raspberry (strangely enough I am currently contemplating whether avocado and raspberry would go together…. I mean not in form of an ice-cream, but maybe in a salad, containing nuts and blueberries as well, maybe some spinach….. Hmmm I am getting hungry now…). So when Miss MoneyPenny dropped by last Friday for a catch-up she surprised me with two lovely punnets of raspberries. I know it is not raspberry season but I was so thrilled and overjoyed to see the raspberries that I did a little happy dance – Miss MoneyPenny just regretted the fact that she had no camera on hand to record my performance.

Obviously the raspberries have now diligently been devoured and savoured, however I managed to take a picture of one of the punnets.

Aaah the little things in life make me happy at the moment….

My little punnet of joy –

 

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