Sunday, January 7, 2024

What a Week

New Year got off to a fun start with 5 of our team of 10 testing positive for Covid and feeling ill with it. Covid's no joke so I'm lucky I wasn't one of the 5 - it helps that I'm vaccinated, though it hasn't stopped mum getting it again. Happily this bout is so far milder than the one that landed her in A&E after she vomited blood on the back of a severely upset stomach. She lost almost 2 stone and hasn't yet regained any of that. 

Current guidelines say stay away from people for 5 days, after which even if you're still testing positive you should be sufficiently low risk (but crucially not no risk) in terms of passing it on to other people. In jobs like mine that's considerable pressure to be 'sensible' and come back in. With quite a low uptake for the vaccine even amongst the eligible, and high rates of infection around, this feels like trouble for the future. 

On the upside I've had my first weekend off since Christmas when I had such a bad cold (successive tests assure me not Covid) that it was all a bit of a blur. This has been the most festive I've felt this season - the weather has been seasonally cold, the Christmas lights are still up around town and looked pretty against a clear sky, there was lots of Poirot to watch, I finished a book and made progress on some of the others that I've half read, and the jumper I started last week is coming on well too - just maybe I'll finish it in time to go on holiday (unlikely but I can try). 

I cooked nice food, slept a lot, and although it's been short it's actually felt like a holiday. Appropriately yesterday was the day that the island of Foula celebrates Auld Yule - for this purpose they stick to the Julian calendar. Maybe I should adopt that too - it would be one way of dealing with the rush of retail at Christmas.

The recipe I cooked was Marian Armitages's version of Bacalao from 'Food Made In Shetland'. I've been reading round this a bit. The key ingredient is salt cod or stock fish, baccala in Italian. There's a simple Florentine version in Russel Norman's Brutto which sounds great, but I went for Marian's Portuguese inspired version, I believe it's made a lot in Spain too. Salt cod is an acquired taste - the smell isn't precisely unpleasant but it's very strong. I like it best in this rich, tomato-based stew full of peppers, onion, garlic, olives, and potato. It's a great winter dish - colourful and comforting. I've been told Morrisons does a good salt cod, and I think I'll be making it a lot more.

A books of the year list will be up soon. 

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