Travel with four young kids is an adventure. Not all smooth sailing, hardly relaxing at all, but filled with much excitement, with family and old friends, with mucking around in the countryside in rain, sunshine and low midst. The kind of happy times that those of us who live a long, long way away from those dear to us, drink up, even if they might seem rather ordinary to others.
At home, in Wellington, I think about food almost constantly. What to eat next, and what to eat after that, and what to bake. Here, not so much. Too busy making sure no one falls in the pond whilst catching newts, and no idea how to light the Rayburn. Lucky for me others have been more productive in (various) kitchens over the last few weeks.
This is a little post capturing some of my favourite food moments of the last couple of weeks (in no particular order). As for photos; there is one below of a cupcake too beautiful not to snap, but aside from that my camera has been focused away from the plate this trip.
- Baking at Cafe Glas (at MOMA ..the Welsh MOMA…as in the one in Machynlleth rather than the one in New York). Consistently spectacular and excellent coffee too. These chocolate cupcakes were probably worth the long flight on their own.
- Burgers, eaten late, once the kids were all asleep on their camp beds upstairs. Cooked by Jake, who easily makes the best burgers anyone has ever made. Try one and see. Accompanied by good wine, good conversation and generally good vibes.
- A pub lunch at The Riverside , sitting in the garden and watching the boys playing with their cousin (my nephew) over a huge log pile. Marveling at the vividness of the kids imaginations and the ease of their play after only a few hours together.
- A shared tub of Belgian chocolate Haagan Das. On numerous evenings. Playing speed scrabble or just talking. Double dipping the spoon with wild abandon.
- Montezumas , especially the Space Hopper. Purchased in large bars and liberally eaten with Earl Grey tea on completion of a moderate walk along the forest tracks that surround Dad’s house.
- A feast, cooked by an old friend, at Talbontdrain. Starting with wine in the garden on a rare sunny afternoon, followed by chicken roasted with olives and lemon, ratatouille, garden salad (complete with flowers) and potatoes. Decadent chocolate pudding that tasted exactly as it should, heavy with cream, butter and chocolate and probably little else. Fresh cream and strawberry pudding as alternative, or for anyone with sense (all of us), as an accompaniment to the chocolate.
- A full Sunday roast, rounding off a weekend spent in the company of a lovely friend , effortlessly adored by the boys in the same way I have always done, as if they are somehow genetically programmed to love him.
- Lunch at my granny’s place. Laid out on the old china dinner service so familiar, with it’s little red flower pattern. One of the boys sitting in Grandad’s old chair. Filling the house with life and bustle and crazy energy that Granny will only fleetingly remember, but that she has recorded in her diary (her substitute short term memory) as ‘lovely’, using capital letters.
- Spag bol, Dad-style, round the dining table with a summer evening fire in the grate and mindless conversation creating much hilarity.
- A Devon summer evening at Red Doors Farm , relaxing over a barbecue, watching the small folk tear around the lawn. Appreciating the sun all the more for it’s prior absence.
- An inspired selection of gluten free lunch treats, garden salad prepared by old friends, eaten in a rare lull of calm that came from no where (and made conversation actually possible for a few minutes) in the midst of a hectic day of demands from the kids.
- Quiet evenings at Cwm Cadian, watching the light fading. A heavy mist hanging in the trees and the constant sound of raindrops. Drinking fresh mint tea and pondering how come even the mint tastes more like it should when you’re home.