Lucy Corry’s Blog: Reasons to be cheerful


It’s the little (and slightly guilty) things like eating chocolate over your laptop that get you through life, says Lucy Corry.

While indulging in some doom-scrolling on social media this week I saw one of those irritatingly perky ‘inspirational’ messages. You know the sort of thing I mean – they’re the digital version of having your sofa cushions emblazoned with ‘Laugh’, ‘Love’, ‘Dream’.

Anyway, I got ready to roll my eyes at this one, which urged me to ‘Feel free to get hugely, ridiculously happy about the tiniest little things’, but something made me stop. At the moment, when the big things in life are all a bit grim, celebrating the small things is all the more important. So here, in no particular order, are five tiny little reasons to be cheerful.

LOOK AT WHAT I GREW!

A week or so ago, I harvested my first romanesco broccoli from the allotment. I was so proud and excited by this development I nearly cried. I also nearly cried when my helpful husband turned up a few days later having harvested four of the others – his rationale being that if he didn’t do it, the person or persons who like to help themselves to allotment produce would do it too.

Spoiler alert: he was right – in the weekend the last two got picked by unseen hands, along with all the rainbow chard. However, I will cling to the happy moment when I first spotted the broccoli and treasure it.

ESCAPE TO THE MED

Claudia Roden, writer, cultural anthropologist, inventor of the boiled orange and ground almond cake claimed by dozens of cookbook writers, has a new book out. Roden has been hugely influential in the food scene for decades and this new book, Med, looks like she’s lost none of her magic.

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Med, like the name suggests, is a collection of shareable recipes that can be loosely defined as ‘Mediterranean’ — lots of bright, beautiful, shareable things that you can imagine eating in your dream life in a whitewashed villa anywhere from Nice to Istanbul.

A TASTE OF THE WEST COAT, ANYWHERE YOU LIKE

Six months ago in Westport I sampled my first West Coast pie – a hearty combination of utterly perfect pastry and succulent wild venison bound in a deeply savoury gravy. At the risk of offending my in-laws and everyone else in Westport, it’s not a town known for culinary excellence. These pies, made by chef and baker Emily Lucas, might be just enough to put the town on the map.

Fear not, if a trip to Westport isn’t on your travel schedule, because you can now order them online to be sent anywhere in the country. If the thought of getting a box of premium pies in the post doesn’t cheer you up, there’s probably no hope for you.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR NEXT ZOOM

Chocolate is widely recognised as a salve for most ills, but did you know it can also boost enjoyment of online meetings by 2000 per cent? I had my best Zoom meeting ever last week – an online tasting with Wellington Chocolate Factory founder Gabe Davidson.

We were sampling the company’s newest limited-edition bar, made from Vanuatu-grown cacao beans – but because such things require comparison, we tasted a bar made with Ecuadorian-grown and Peruvian-grown beans too (craft chocolate is a serious business).

I’ve done plenty of mindless eating of chocolate over a laptop in my time, but this was different. Under Gabe’s tuition we engaged all our senses, first listening for the sharp ‘snap’ that means the chocolate is perfectly tempered (try this with ordinary chocolate and you’ll hear the difference!)

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Then we inhaled the aromas, trying to identify and isolate how the chocolate smelled. Lastly, we got to savour it: popping the chocolate in our mouths, letting it melt slowly and observing how it tasted on different parts of the palate. It was the most intellectually stimulating chocolate experience I’ve ever had.

ASPARAGUS, THE GARDEN UNICORN 

I haven’t seen any myself, but I’ve heard strong rumours that the New Zealand asparagus season has started.

O happy day! Asparagus is a true sign of spring’s hopefulness and potential — and that everything rises again eventually. It’s also a reminder to enjoy the good things in life while you have them.

MORE HERE

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