I read 33 books last year.
Starting with Room, ending with A Christmas Carol and enjoying, along the way, Tove Jansson, Hans Fallada, Caitlin Moran, Jennifer Egan, and Peter Hill.
One of my mini resolutions in 2011 was to write down the books I read with the date I finished each one. I'm doing it again this year.
2012 started with Julian Barnes, I'm halfway through book two. I don't know why this small habit stuck but I'm glad it did, looking back, seeing the list rise and fall, some months with five or six books, some with just one, remembering why, where we were, what else was happening.
There were other resolutions, small ones, ones I wrote in my diary at the start of the year. Some have worked, some have fallen by the wayside, as these things will.
2011 was the first year in I don't want to think how long when I didn't start January telling myself I needed to lose weight, writing it at the top of the page on January 1st. 2011 was the first year in I don't want to think how long that I actually did lose weight. Maybe there's something to be said for quiet decisions made at the start of February, a gym membership beginning in March as the days get lighter. We've eaten a lot of vegetables, snacked on fruit. No drastic changes just small conscious choices. It felt good, it still feels good.
2011 was the year we took a deep breath and leapt into a dream. We're hoping for more of this in 2012, keep your fingers crossed for us.
And what else will 2012 hold? There are more mini resolutions, bake bread, tidy up, try new recipes, write things down. And for this first week? Now that we are back to work and the tree is coming down? Just this, two new recipes, remembering to be excited by new things, new combinations, new ways. Last night there was Melissa Clark's red lentil soup with lemon. The night before, roasted broccoli with prawns and basmati rice. I think this one will be on regular rotation in 2012.
Melissa Clark's Roasted Broccoli with Prawns
900g (2 lbs) broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot chili powder
450g (1 lb) large prawns, shelled and deveined
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons of oil, the coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine the prawns, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, the lemon zest, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Spread the broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add the prawns to the baking sheet and toss with the broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until the prawns are just opaque and the broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges, or squeeze lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving.
Happy New Year to you all.