I was dreaming of food. Crisp baguettes, the flesh of the bread a virginal white, still steaming from the oven, and ripe cheese, its borders creeping towards the edge of the plate. Grapes and plums, stacked high in bowls, dusky and fragrant, their scent filling the air.” The Girl You Left Behind – Jojo Moyes.

Almost exactly to the date of the anniversary of my move into my apartment, I had a week-long leave from work. Restless and feeling that niggling Calvinist guilt at the prospect of a period of sloth, I was nonetheless determined to have a bit of a holiday – I had a new novel that – unexpectedly – had food reference throughout, and a stash of sweets. So, as one does, I also stocked up on what has been my staple diet for the past year: pot noodles and sardines. My kitchen has been neglected for the better part of the past year, with hindsight I now understand that neglect to be part of my grieving process. In any event, the pot noodles had to be laid aside when my microwave oven and my kettle died within two days of one another. I was forced to engage with my gas hob and oven.


Removing the microwave to the rubbish collectors, I cleaned the counter top, rather pleased with the rearranged space and hauled my coffee machine out of its retired status and – very peculiar – the desire to cook again came over me. I had to bake immediately and did so, muffins first, then a tomato and onion tart tatin. A lamb tagine followed; enough for two days’ lunch. I was mortified by the layer of dust that coated the tagine when I took it down from the shelf.

I went shopping and rediscovered that unfortunate-looking fruit of my childhood: the quince. Ah! Bought a little pork fillet and pan-seared it with cumin and ginger, then wrapped it in peppered smoked Black Forest ham and roasted it with the poached quince …






“As lamb is often suited to flavours redolent of its habitat – grassy, herbal, maquis – so pork is complimented by the earthy flavour of cumin. Sprinkle ground cumin on pork tenderloin or chops before cooking …” The Flavour Thesaurus, Niki Segnit.

And so it goes, as if the advent of the end of our winter has swept spring back into my kitchen, I am filled with resolve to cook, if not every day yet, more frequently. And my healing heart can only grow stronger; one day at a time …

I just need something to look forward to, she wants to say. I just want to smile without having to think about which muscles to use.” The Girl You Left Behind, Jojo Moyes.


60 Comments Add yours

  1. Miss Christ says:

    Awesome!! Your mojo is coming out of hibernation!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I do hope so, Chrissie xxx

    2. nickczardas says:

      “Miss Christ” ??

      1. theonlycin says:

        Apparently, LOL!

  2. Rachelle says:

    Here we go, our Cindel Butterfly is breaking out of her cacoon! Welcome back dearest friend!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks my lovie xxx

  3. Dee says:

    You made my heart feel good this morning, may you grow with each new day.

  4. slpmartin says:

    I love the idea of your mojo coming out of hibernation…I must admit that I miss you and hope that life is improving for you…take good care.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you Charlie, one foot in front of the other … and so it goes πŸ™‚

      1. slpmartin says:

        Oh…by the way…you inspired me to prepare a pork fillet the same way as you…minus the poached quince…actually I don’t think I’ve ever had quince…the port was just delightful…thanks for the cooking lesson. πŸ™‚

      2. theonlycin says:

        Glad you enjoyed it, Charlie xxx

  5. Zirkie says:

    Lovely post and yummy food, Cins!! Have a great Sunday evening!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, you too Zirkie xxx

  6. Colleen says:

    My heart just overflowed and slid down my cheeks! And at the same time a bit of drool slid down my chin……oh Cindy! Not only for the fact that you ARE healing….that you ARE making progress….that you ARE finding that missing mojo…..but because I recognized the old Cindy, the one who’s writing style first attracted me back in 2009, in your words and writing style! πŸ˜„ Love you friend xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Love you Colly xxx

  7. Arkenaten says:

    The most recent unopened post in my reader and a food post to boot. I am going to nag Mrs. Ark to allow me to cook this, or maybe she’ll offer to do it? Looks scrumptious.

  8. Ah Cindy, its wonderful to see you blogging and cooking again. You are healing πŸ™‚

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Michelle, I do feel that I am healing and it’s great xxx

  9. What a beautiful heart warming post Cindy – your healing process is clearly well into its final lap.
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mandy, a fab week to you too xxx

  10. suzicate says:

    So happy you’re back in the kitchen. I’ve missed your foodie posts! You eat such interesting foods…I’ve never heard of quince.

    1. theonlycin says:

      You haven’t Suzicate? How strange, I’ll have to do some research on quinces!

  11. homemadeheaven says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I feel this too. I am not yet at the point of getting back my mojo. But as we triumph each thing , we become stronger.

    1. theonlycin says:

      All strength to you, Rosemary, your strength thus far has amazed me. Keep going girl! xxx

  12. So good to see your mojo back

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks so much Butterfly xxx

  13. Pussycat44 says:

    Well, how about that! Theonlycin is cooking again (in more ways than one)!
    The pork fillet looks divine.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Pussycat, we’ll see how I go from here, but I feel good πŸ™‚

  14. Sue Green says:

    I have never tasted quince, great to see you writing again! Xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      The quince is a wonderful thing, Sue, great as a dessert with custard too πŸ™‚

  15. bluebee says:

    A really good sign. Happy cooking, Cin.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks bluebee xxx

  16. hotlyspiced says:

    So lovely to hear from you, Cin. I’ve been wondering how you are. I’m so glad you’re back in the kitchen! And yes, microwaves do take up such a lot of space. Your pork dish looks amazing – I’ll remember this recipe xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks HS, it’s taking me a while to get used to not having a microwave, but I am determined not to replace it!

  17. cecilia says:

    Ah,. Wonderful.. I must read this book too!.. c

    1. theonlycin says:

      Really enjoying the book, Cecilia πŸ™‚

      1. cecilia says:

        I will find it! Have a glorious day.. c

  18. You inspire me with your attitude and especially with your honesty…thanks!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks for reading Cindy xxx

  19. Wonderful! So happy for you. That looks like a good book, I will have to check into it. I love the way you have family photos in the kitchen. Why don’t we see more of that done? I think it’s a terrific idea!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, I even have photos in the loo πŸ˜‰

  20. buttercup600 says:

    So happy to see you back in the kitchen Cin, I’ve missed your delectable, delicious food. You’ve come such a long way my friend, I’m so very proud of you! Don’t worry which muscle to use…..just smile anyway. I love you ❀️

    1. theonlycin says:

      I love you MORE, my darling friend xxx

  21. cooking is such wonderful salve for the soul πŸ™‚

    1. theonlycin says:

      That is certainly is, Tandy xxx

  22. Sparkle says:

    Hi Cin, thought about you when the food and wine show was being advertised throughout the month of July, knowing that you love cooking and make good food. I have never seen/heard of quince, hehe!
    Lovely to read that you are well and coming alright.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hi Sparky, I gave the show a miss this year. Too many of my old friends from the wine industry were there and I’m not yet ready to face everyone. xxx

  23. Zeppie says:

    Nou is ek lekker honger

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hi Zeps, wonderful to see you here, it’s been a long time … xxx

      1. Zeppie says:

        Ja dis weer great om ou bloggers raak te loop

  24. Good for you, Cindy! Long may the cooking and healing continue! xxx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Celia, I might even get back in the saddle enough to do an IMK in September πŸ™‚

  25. Hi Cindy, it is so wonderful to see that the healing process is moving forward.

    1. theonlycin says:

      It is a wonderful feeling, MTM xxx

  26. Mal says:

    Hey there, Cindy mon amie! I see the beautiful style of writing is back with a vengeance……more power to your pen, girl, and wishing you baskets full of happiness and peace, dear friend. ❀️

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Mal, hope it continues to flow xxx

  27. Ruth2Day says:

    the quince reminds me of a buddah

    1. theonlycin says:

      You do have a point there, Ruth πŸ™‚

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