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Last night I watched the film Julie and Julia which was the original inspiration for this blog. I'd forgotten what a good story it was. It inspired me to get back to writing. Long-term readers (if there are any) might recall that I began by working my way through The Soup Book (edited by Sophie Grigson). I completed 170 of the 200 recipes and decided to leave it at that. 

Cherry almond cake (November 2017)
Last year I revisited some of the recipes in The Soup Book but my primary venture was baking. I tried 
out over seventy (yes, 70) recipes. There were a few personal favourites: pear and cardamom upside-down cake, raspberry squares, Brunswick buns, Bronte Aurell's banana cake, amaretti plum cake, pecan toffee shortbread, cherry almond cake (pictured) and Nigella's Christmas rocky road. My apple crumble cake received a first prize and best exhibit in the cookery class at a local show and my colleagues regularly benefited from my culinary adventures. Even the ones on diets. And there were a few failures. 

So, I'll get busy again this year. Today I baked for the first time in 2018. In an effort to clear out half-full bags of nuts and dried fruit I made Loki's brownies from Bronte Aurell's Fika and Hygge. This was my second go, having first made them last January with coconut ice as the special ingredient. I have to say that Brazil nuts, pecans and cranberries work very well. I wasn't brave enough to use the liquorice sweets I'd brought back from a recent holiday in the Arctic circle. 

Loki's brownies
From time to time I'll mention bees as they occur in the books I read. For example, there's a poem entitled Bees in the book All the Worlds Between: A Collaborative Poetry Project between India and Ireland. I attended the launch of the book in the Irish Writers Centre last October. It was a lovely event, and not just because of the really delicious samosas on offer. 

Here's a link to six poems about bees by Jo Shapcott. 

I'll finish up now. 

Until next time. 

Minnie

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