After almost four months away from this place I wasn't quite sure where to begin.
I considered the new stationery option, fresh start, fresh blog but I couldn't. It seemed wrong. This place reflects the ups and downs of the last few years including many that I haven't mentioned, brushes with tough decision making, the difficulties of the current economy, trying and failing to switch off and stop thinking about London, Edinburgh, London, Edinburgh, London...
So let me just say this. We're here, in Edinburgh, in a new flat with room to cook and a table where we can feed people. We have walls where we can finally put things up, a bay window and wooden floors, we even have a pantry which makes me very very happy. We have been sitting at the table looking out at the life on the street below and during the day we can, through the buildings in front, see just a glimpse of the sea and Fife in the background.
And I have a job. I start tomorrow and am both excited and nervous. It's a change for me, no more publishing for now. I may tell you more about it someday but for now let me just say that I'm looking forward to getting back to it, I'm looking forward to normality resuming, and now I can finally look forward to the end of the year and Christmas.
But for now I am cooking again. There have been big salads and soups, shepherd's pie and spaghetti bolognese, lemon cake and granola. There is an entire bookshelf in the kitchen just for cookery books. It's slightly terrifying but clearly not terrifying enough to stop me from buying yet more. Recent purchases include 'Kitchenella' which I adore and not only because the cover is my very favourite colour, 'Tender: Volume II', 'How I Cook', and, of course, 'Kitchen'.
Have you seen the old Nigel Slater series Real Food? It's pretty cringeworthy stuff but the highlight is seeing Nigella before she became the Domestic Goddess. It reminds me of why How to Eat was and is such a fabulous book, just Nigella at her original best.
But while 'Kitchen' isn't my favourite, How to Eat and Feast are and are likely to remain so, it is readable and filled with recipes that I want to cook and when I settle into a new kitchen and back into some semblance of normality one of the first things my thoughts turn to is baking. Having eaten a loaf of delicious caraway seed bread last week the caraway seed cake seemed like the perfect way to road test the oven. It is marzipanny from the ground almonds with the sour undercurrent that comes from caraway. It was good on the first day but on days two, three and four it had settled into something better, a cake to keep in the kitchen during the week, a cake to take slices of in a lunchbox, a cake to whip up when something plain but not boring is called for.