Calm before Ciara

Since Wednesday, we’ve been hearing about the approaching storm, due to hit us tomorrow. It’s been named Storm Ciara. Today was the first time I’d seen it written down. I thought it was named after the Bajoran Major Kira on Deep Space 9. Or after the American singer Ciara Princess Harris who was born in Austin, Texas. She has a son called Future.

The public name the storms in the UK. Using social media, the Met Office and Met Éireann, ask people for suggestions. They get thousands. From these thousands they create an alphabetical list (which doesn’t include the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z because it’s too difficult for the Americans) from which the storms are named.

For instance, the first storm of the ‘season’ (yes there is a storm season) was Atiyah and the next one will be Dennis. Names aternate between female and male. If anyone wants to see the full list, it is on the Met Office website.

Today, though, the weather was lovely. Cloudless sky, sunshine, little wind and temperature mild. The havoc to come was about as evident as a ripple in the ocean.

I decided, given the warnings, that I’d do a double shop this morning in order for us to hunker down in the protective bubble of the extension.

I said as much to my South African friends in Starbucks. They thought it was very wise. I told Sue she should give her staff the day off. Sue just laughed.

At home Mirinda pottered about in her greenhouse planting more seeds, tending her currently sprouting seedlings and thinking about more seeds to come. I did some research between cooking and preparing a purple dessert.

The dessert was for Mirinda and featured smooshed up Portuguese blackberries, French creme fraiche, English single cream, Moroccan passion fruit, South African macadamia nuts and American pistachio nuts. I topped the glass of purple with a sprinkle of Fairtrade cinnamon. All a bit international and, Mirinda said, lovely.

It’s great to be able to write the above paragraph. Sadly, there were reports in the week that when we sign new trade deals with the US we will have to remove the country of origin from food labels.

I assume this is because the Americans know how awful their food is and realise only the poorest would eat it if a product said it was from the US.

It never ceases to amaze me how Americans think they still live in the Land of the Free when they aren’t even free to choose what they eat.

For the moment our produce is clearly labelled so I can ignore the battery chickens and locked up pigs; the sodium nitrite infused sliced meat and the injected cows.

It also allowed me to buy Welsh lamb for the Persian style lamb patties I made for dinner tonight.

It tasted better than it looks

I served it with stir fried spring greens and creamed spinach. It was all delicious, particularly when washed down with a lovely sancerre rose.

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