Good evening dear friends!
It’s been such a long, long time since I last visited this, my happy place, since I last talked to you, my dear friends. Summer came and went and so did most of Autumn (my favorite season!), and it is only now that the advent is almost upon us that our lives have regained some sort of normality, of calm and that I begin to find the way back to the words I have been wanting to write for a while.
So here I am, listening to The Piano, which is the soundtrack with which I have written every post of this blog, and thinking about the roller coaster of emotions that have been the last few months (pardon the cliché).
You see, On the 1st week of October: 1) We pulled Luka and Zoe out of their new school, worried about the high levels of stress that they were enduring and, advised by a psychologist, decided to home school them (insert worry, doubts and sadness), 2) We lost our babysitter ( a big deal for expats like us, trust me) and 3) I started working, from home, on the most amazing project I could have ever dreamed (insert jumps of joy and huge smiles). Our daily lives, and the plans we had for the immediate future, as you can imagine, changed pretty much overnight, and it has taken a while for all of us to re adjust and find the calm and quiet of a new normal.
During all this time there were many occasions in which I sat at the computer with the intention to type a new blog post, only to be met by the most atrocious writer’s block. It seemed as though I had run out of words or, rather, as if I had too many words waiting to be said, too many raw emotions inside of me battling to be put on paper first. Should I talk to you about the sadness and worry for our children’s well being that had haunted us during September, or should I talk about the relief we found when, unexpectedly and surprisingly, we decided to home school them? And how to discuss the joy, hope and personal fulfillment that the new project I am working on had brought into my life? How could I piece those feelings together, in a blog post, or two, or three, when I was still dazed myself by all that had occurred?
And the more I thought about it, the more daunting the task seemed. As days and then weeks passed by, this first blog post acquired mythical proportions and it became more and more difficult to write.
Until this week, when I realized I didn’t have to do any of this: that I can take my time to write about it all in greater detail when the words come to me in their own time, and that I could just come back here being me, the confused, worried, joyful, warm and simply happy me that I have always been. And that I could just say hello to you again, bring you a piece of pie, and ask you (like old friends do):
How have you been, my dears, during all this time?
And speaking of pie, here’s the recipe I promised:
Vegan & refined sugar free apple pie
Ingredients: For the crust:400 grs all purpose flour, 200 grs margarine, cold (the best quality you can find, preferably from the health food store), 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, 1/4 cup very cold water. For the filling: 2 big Granny Smith apples, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in cold water, 7 tablespoons coconut palm sugar, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon.
1) Make the crust: Put flour, sugar and margarine in the food processor. Pulse until the flour reaches a sand-like consistency. Add water while the processor runs, until the dough separates from the bowl. Wrap the dough in foil and let it rest in the refrigerator for one hour. Note: If you don’t have a food processor, use two knives to incorporate flour, sugar and margarine.
2) After one hour, pre heat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in two. Roll one half and cover the botton of a pie dish with it.
3) Prepare the filling: Peel and finely slice the apples and put them in the pie dish. Mix the dissolved cornstarch, coconut sugar and cinnamon and pour it evenly over the apples, to coat. Cover the dish with the other half of dough and bring it to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden. Serve warm and, if you are feeling decadent, accompanied by a scoop of good quality vanilla bean ice cream.