From my poetic kitchen – haibun for dVerse (and for Steve)

It’s May, and I’m making mince pies. Tomorrow we are holding Steve’s leaving do. We love Steve, and Steve loves Christmas dinner, so that’s what he’s getting. He deserves all the love, all the turkey, all the stuffing, every single pig in blanket. He’s a great friend, a great colleague, a great therapist. He has made a difference, to my life and to many others: all through my chemo, years ago now, he drove miles out of his way to bring my son home to me from nursery. He brings all that love and care into the therapy room, where he has literally saved lives. He really has no idea how wonderful he is.

So, I’m making mince pies.

The mincemeat is left over from Christmas. I made it myself – it’s a Nigella recipe, that uses a little quince. I’ve just loosened it with home-made quince brandy, so it smells really fruity. The pastry is made my mother-in-law’s way, with lots of butter, and a little icing sugar. I’ve bound it with an egg yolk, the way she does. I’ve cut out pale discs of pastry, and loaded them with juicy mincemeat, and made the scraps into a tiny pasty for my son, who announced that he loves mince pies. Maybe something rubbed off on him on all those car journeys.

Nobody’s quite sure how the logistics will work tomorrow. Everybody’s bringing a plate of something. I think it will probably be a little chaotic. We will reminisce. There will be some laughter, and possibly tears, and lots and lots of food and love.

White hawthorn blossom
Snowdrifts in the spring hedgerow,
Scents the warm spring air.

Bjorn at dVerse asks us to write a haibun, starting from a recipe. Coincidentally, I made mince pies (!) tonight for a dear friend’s leaving do, so this is for Steve as well – though he’d better not read it until tomorrow.

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23 thoughts on “From my poetic kitchen – haibun for dVerse (and for Steve)

  1. Mince pies are so delicious and Steve will be over the moon with all his favourite foods – such a lovely thing to do for a wonderful person. I love the closing haiku and wish you all a great leaving do for your friend tomorrow :o)

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  2. I’m a little slow so it took me a bit to figure out what a “leaving do” was, but I finally worked it out. What a nice thing to do, make the things that are special to Steve. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. What a great leaving do! Christmas dinner in May is a wonderful idea. Lucky Steve! He sounds like a nice guy, too. I didn’t know you could make quince brandy – we have a quince tree in our garden but never know what to do with them, apart from jelly and chutney. And I love those snowdrifts in the hedgerow – we have them right outside our cottage at the moment, together with honeysuckle and something pink that I haven’t been able to identify!

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    • Quince brandy is nice to sip. 4-6 quinces, cut into quarters, 2 large cinnamon sticks (or 4 small), 4 star anise. Put in a 5 litre jar, cover with cheap brandy (up to 4 bottles!!!). Leave for at least 6 weeks. Sip after dinner, use in home made mincemeat, or in brandy butter. It’s fruity and aromatic. I stole the recipe from Nigella. Enjoy.

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      • Thank you so much, Sarah. I can’t wait for August/September – our quince is right next to the plum tree – the wasps always get to the plums before we can but they leave the quinces alone.

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  4. “I’ve just loosened it with home-made quince brandy, so it smells really fruity. The pastry is made my mother-in-law’s way, with lots of butter, and a little icing sugar. I’ve bound it with an egg yolk, the way she does. I’ve cut out pale discs of pastry, and loaded them with juicy mincemeat”

    You’re killing me. This sounds so delicious!

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  5. How nicely you wove the recipe into your prose! I will try this next holiday season..it sounds wonderful. Steve sounds like a great friend and therapist. I know he will appreciate the story, too.

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