I write this sitting on the beach, (I never imagined my iPhone would be so useful) as the dog runs playfully across the white stones and bounds up and over the logs. She's sprayed me a couple of times already in her exuberance and excitement at being out and enjoying the bright blue sky and warmth of the sun. But I don't mind today, I'm not angry.
I've felt this odd sense of calm today, even as I walked through the house it was almost as if I stepped lighter, and freer. And despite being unable to catch the bus because it was full, I was relaxed, and eventually it worked out, I made the ferry, and came home smiling after a walk home. I can't work out whether its from the release of tensions and sweat in a class of hot yoga yesterday, with temperatures at 40°C at least, or perhaps I have finally finished term two in school, and I no longer have the pressures of deadlines weighing down on me. It seemed that everyone else was still caught up in the winter blues, and my acts of small kindness today, smiles and gestures, were unobserved today, or taken the wrong way. Many middle-aged women frowned at me, I was doing everything right, but to them, everything wrong.
However, I kept that out of my mind, and focused on this feeling keeping my spirits uplifted and my mood enlightened. I've never felt such a strong release from exercise than yesterday's class of yoga. The room was packed, and after being led through poses for seventy-five minutes with the instructors calming and assertive voice, everyone could feel beads of sweat forming, and then falling from us. It sounds gross, being stuck in a hot, humid room with many other strangers, but there was also this strange sense of communion and strength in the practice.
I feel the space between my shoulders widen, and the crease of my brow relax. Instead of frowning with the feeling of cold droplets hitting the back of my legs as the dog shakes, I laugh, pick up her stick, and throw it back into the water, watching her bound and leap with energy and motivation.
It does feel like spring, little crocuses have begun to peep up out of the earth in bunches, and small white petals can just be seen unfurling to the flowers still hidden. Pink blossoms on the trees bud out along the branches, bright dashes of pink in contrast to the bleak grasses and grey leafless trees.
I think I might venture back to the yoga studio soon, I'm already missing the heat in this crisp air, and the energy I felt afterward is more than enough to entice me back.
My dog again paws at my legs, and as I turn to her she races down to the waves lapping against the stones,
"Where's your stick?"
I call out, and she pounces upon the wave behind her, swimming in circles looking. She must have seen something because at that moment she dove under the water only to come up with a snort, and a stream of water drained out her mouth. She might be a water springer spaniel, but she hasn't quite perfected her swimming, despite her big webbed feet.
She paces the beach now, still looking for the stick. The stick that sank when I threw it out, still heavy and water-logged from the weeks rain. At least I can see the blue sky again.
At the word 'home' she gets excited all over again, probably expecting that with it comes food. However considering its taken me more than half an hour to cross the length of the beach as I repeatedly pause to continue writing, I'm not surprised she's whining and jumping at me.
The word 'home' also reminds me of cooking dinner tonight, for mum and dad when they come home from last night's date-night in Victoria. I think of dessert first, perhaps pears.
"Okay. Home now,"
I promise, and she speeds up the trail ahead of me before pausing, and bounding right back down to where I am.
Chai Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce
Print recipe here
Have you ever craved something sweet, but been turned off by the richness, as if it's almost too much for that small bite of delectable flavour you've been wishing for all week. These poached pears are the perfect balance of fresh ingredients with a bite of sweetness, and peared (pun intended) with a creamy chocolate sauce, it's the perfect denouement to dinner.
3 pears, ripe
1 cup water
3/4 cup pure cranberry juice, wine could also be used
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 - 3 tbsp almond milk
Peal the skins from the pears, keeping the stem intact.
In a medium sauce pan, pour in water, cranberry juice, and lemon juice along with vanilla, sugar, anise, and the cinnamon stick.
Bring the pot to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
Very carefully, drop the peeled pears into the pan. Allow it to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
Toss the pears very gently, and continue to simmer for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and begin making the chocolate sauce.
In a microwaveable dish, combine the chocolate chips and almond milk, heat until completely melted and stir together.
Remove the pears from the pan and set into small individual serving dishes, pour a small amount of the liquid over top, and spoon the chocolate sauce over top.
These pears are delicious when served with vanilla ice cream.
**Note: the juice leftover from poaching the pears can be saved! It makes a delicious warm spiced cranberry chai, just add a little more water and heat over the stove.
Enjoy! xx S.
Labels: chocolate, dessert, dinner, fresh, fruit, gluten free, pear, poached, sauce, sweet, vanilla