“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone

It may seem as though I have slipped off the face of the earth.

I would love to say it was in respect for my last post.

Stopping censorship and retaining Freedom of speech are crucial to our world today.

I fear the changes I see happening in my homeland.

Pink sky at night

The irony is that I now happily live in England. The land my family left for the freedom America offered. The 2 maybe  closing in on one another.

  This subject could easily be a blog in itself.

However I have new reasons why I can not visit this blog as often as I would like. More about this in a bit…

So I will occasionally throw in a bit here and there about my other love…Politics.

But mostly I want to get back on track. Sort out all these forking thoughts I have about food and my wish to bring it to others.

So you may notice it’s exactly a year since my last post. Some symbolism there. Thoughts about a year in silence….

PEACE

Not Quite. I have been very busy. Not just creating amazing plates of food thinking of satisfying my café guests one day. Not just creating new recipes using fresh creative ingredients.

I have been very busy creating a baby brother for my beautiful amazing EllaBee.

My body felt the challenge more than last time. Possibly all to aware of what it is doing. Going through.

I have scary pregnancies. Almost die, barely move 10 feet pregnancies. The first time I did not know this…the second I did. I was as ready as possible.

My first pregnancy I was lucky to survive with 10 pulmonary embolism‘s.

I spent the 1st year of EB‘s life being told ‘No More’. Then a year on my amazing hematologist finally broke down and said I was possibly stubborn enough to survive another.

I have the NHS to thank for my 2 amazing kids and my life. The NHS has its troubles… a whole other blog. But it IS better than nothing.

I wanted my baby girl to have a sibling.

It has been an important relationship to both my husband and I.

So now she’s got her baby brother, or ‘brudder’ as she says. Griff Bee, GB for short. He’s as wonderful as I could have ever dreamed of. Just like his big sister.

So here I am back…ish. I have intentions to grab this bull by the horns. Baby and 3-year-old allowing. I know how quickly this 3 years will speed by.  I am looking at this time as pre pre prep. Like taking folic acid…incase you get knocked up. I need to be ready.

I have built  business plans in my head for decades. NO honestly decades.

Since my sisters and I would play cafe.

I have tweaked it with every meal out and every restaurant visited.

I have one in my head for if some sweet sweet person wanted to drop a gazillion pounds in my lap.

I have one for making soup and homemade garlic and cheese biscuits in my kitchen  to sell at the market.

One for every version in between. I have a chain of forks in my head perfectly suited to university towns and seaside resorts.

A brew pub, we do not brew we are the first to bring the small guys together, here in Lil’ ol’ England.

I have images of flooring and art, tables and glasses.

It is out of control. So this year is the year of the business plan.

To get these babies on the plate… oh I meant paper.

So if I run into that gazillonaire….

I can give them something to clench their teeth into.

Something they just want another mouthful of….

you know how it is not wanting the mouthful to end……

Welcome back hopefully this is the forkfull you’ve been missing!

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A happy family is but an earlier heaven.

A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
George Bernard Shaw

If you have followed my sisters blog, Step On a Crack, you know our family has its history. I come from a family where turmoil and anxiety is a way of living.

I have been blessed in my life. My sister and I have risen above. Our bond will not be severed. We have been able to redefine family.

I have been blessed in my life. I have married a nearly perfect family.

My husband has one sister. They have never fought. Well not enough to remember it the next day.

My mother in law and father in law are still deeply in love. You see it when they look at on another. They tease one another and adore one another.

My English family are able to laugh, smile and joke  in any situation. We have had family deaths and challenges since I joined “The Firm”. Their relationship to challenges is refreshing. I am not sure if this is what a ‘normal’ family is. But it is nice and refreshing.

So this brings me to an apology. I had my lovely In Laws down this past week. Best intentions. I had a few posts nearly ready but time slipped away. I again slipped of the face of Blearth. Blog=Earth.

I am back.

Refreshed from watching my daughters grandparents adore every second with her. They love her to bits and pieces. Maybe as much as I do.

She woke up this morning and went straight to the guest room. She came back crying for Nan-nan and Pop-Pop.
So we made pancakes for breakfast.
Had some cuddles.
Now she has a friend over for a play date.
My husband is monitoring 2-year-old nearly fights. I smell the fresh brewed coffee and am thinking of a nice french onion soup for dinner. The laundry is on starting the play catch up from the busy week.
We had some lovely meals this week. Some I will share with you.
Casa Pepe, our favourite local resteraunt.
My P in Laws had their 38 the Anniversary dinner there on Thursday. There 4th consecutive Anniversary dinner there
It is where we go for all our special occasions.
Opened in 1974 they are perfect at what they do…. more about that later.
Ok… off to slice some onions. Slow, low and long that’s what French onion soup wants. Hope to see you tomorrow.

Fresh, Renewed, Ready!

My new year has started beautifully.

I woke up to the news my Lovely sister Jennifer from Step on a Crack  has nominated me for a Versatile Blogger award. I’m excited and honoured.

I spent a lot of the day getting lovely cuddles from my Sparkle Bee. At 2 these are coming less often. I take them when ever they are offered. I know the slammed doors of 14 will be here before I realise it.

We had a breakfast of scrambled eggs with peas and ham, croissants jam and mango. One of The Bees favourites.

Left over Thai food for lunch.

A nice nap cuddled up with the rain falling outside.

We woke up to the best movie of all time.

Wizard of Oz.

I have loved that movie as long as I remember.

So a day of leisure and love to start my year.

Tomorrow I will start to choose my favourite blogs to share the Versatile Blogger award.

I will wake up knowing I’m blessed beyond belief.

This year I will cultivate The Fork, in blog form.

In preparation for one day, a door to unlock, people to feed, memories to make.

This year I will build recipes….

I will conquer green chili, with out the correct peppers.

New Years, new resolutions…

OOH, my Mom’s green chilli.

My Mom’s green chilli. Oh what I would do  just one more big pot of New Years Day Green chili. That was a family tradition. There were not many in my family. But that was one.

I live in England now. Led estray by my Englishman. Led very happily estray.

England is different to the US in many ways. Many ways I prefer it. There are a few I don’t. One being I can’t get the correct chili for green chili. I love every little bit of my house. Except the north facing garden. They would not grow if I tried.

One more difference is the availability of ready meals. Entire aisles are dedicated to them at the grocery.  In the frozen section there is hardly any.  It seems like it should be the same in the US.  This took me awhile to figure out. I think the difference in the welfare system. These meals in both places are aimed at people who either can not be bothered to cook healthy meals. Or do not have the time.

In the US Food stamps will not buy you ready meals. In the UK they give you cash to spend as you will when on welfare/ benefits. (This is probably more for my political blog. That may surface one day. When I feel like wasting some time on our stupid politicians. On either side of the pond. Of late they have not been worthy of my 2-year-old play time. She deserves it. They Do Not.)

People I know eat only ready meals. This seems alien to me. I feel guilty every Friday feeding my husband and daughter frozen fish, chips and a tin of mushy peas.

I rejoice in cooking for my family.

I will enter the New Year with plans for more home cooked food for my family.

 I will enter the New year with plans to share here more often. To share recipes and cafes  I love. Some far and wide and some here on my door step.

I will write recipes for the standards in my head. Some how I will figure out how to give you my recipe for my greeny goddess dressing, well kinda.

When I jumped across the pond there where some things I missed more than others. Salad dressings. I did not realize I equated restaurants to their dressings. Blue Cheese at Patsy’s, The Sanctuary and long gone Applegates landing. Olive Gardens, crack vinaigrette. I do not know what they do with that but I’ve had dreams about it.

I will spend my year ahead focusing on the new, treasuring the old.

I will share  with you my old loves. Patsy’s, The Sanctuary … and so many others, There are words I’d love to share about these.

I don’t know if you can a restaurant you have not been to in 10 years. I will give it ago. I will share my loves here. I will share my joys.

We will cook and plan. Cook for our families and plan our futures.

This year will be one filled with joy.  I hope you’ll join me.

The Biggest of Happy New Years to you and yours.

I am not a gourmet chef

Flanders, Netherlands

I am not a gourmet chef. I could be. I have the ability. I could gain the knowledge, the skills. I do not want to be a gourmet chef.

I want to be a great cook.

I do not want people to praise me for my food.

I want people to want my food.

I want people to wake up thinking of my food.

I will make delicious food made with fresh healthy ingredients. Food like your grandmother made. Food who’s recipes deserve sharing through the generations.

Like my mothers Red Chilli, German Potato salad from my dad’s Grandma, Grandma Wanda’s cheese ball.

I will serve basic delicious food. Cottage pie that’s loaded with hidden veggies. Spaghetti and Meatballs, with home-made garlic bread. Homemade salad dressings that change your relationship to salad.

If you miss something your Nan use to make. I will try to make it for you. If you have a special birthday request we will make it happen.

 I want to be the kitchen you don’t have to work in. My staff and I will take care of that. You can eat the food in our café or you can take the food away, hot or cold ready for your oven.

The obsession is growing more tangible by the day. This blog is giving the Fork in my head tines I can feel and see. I am on a 3-5 year plan. This gives me a starting point. I will blog my passion. It will create a map of the quest ahead.

I will look to my visitors here as guests in my café. This is giving me an outlet.

I will spend the next 2-3 years loving and treasuring my Sparkle Bee.

( well the next million years, my sweet treasure)

Then we will see….Someday, some how The Fork will be.

The lessons we learn.. the ladders we climb.

The largest of the steep wooden ladders on the...

I have worked in a lot of restaurants. From fast food pizza chains, a large metropolitan Marriott Hotel, Hip restaurants with live music a local Italian restaurant, owned by an Irish American with high standards and great taste.

I have done a little of everything. Worked in kitchens, Done dishes, Waited on thousands of tables, been everyone’s favourite hostess and made all the pasta at earlier mentioned Italian joint.

 I have chopped 15 industrial sized crates of Italian parsley in one standing. Frozen is not the same. It’s just not.

I have chopped 5 gallons of garlic cloves by hand in one standing. Food processed garlic looses something. It’s to mushy. A nice, sharp,  very big chefs knife is what garlic wants.

I have come in on days the Restaurant was closed to scrub the Toilet/ bathroom with bottles of bleach. The bleach smell takes a day to fade. You know there is not a germ on board. Teach your staff well and it will stay spotless.

I can honestly say Every food establishment I have ever seen both the toilet and kitchen. If the restroom is dirty= so is the kitchen. I will not eat fish sushi if the toilet/ bathroom is dirty Feel free to prove me wrong on this. It may not mean a clean RR means a clean kitchen. A dirty RR seems to equal a dirty kitchen.

In my heyday I could remember a breakfast order for a table of eight. In America. Breakfast are varied and confusing, this is an accomplishment.

At Stella’s the local Italian restaurant. Nightly have a 1-2 hour wait for a table. As hostess I would keep guests happy, excited about their meal.

I made all the pasta served for 2 years.

I made the best creamy sausage pasta. I still do. Ask my daughter.

At the Marriott I worked most Thanksgiving and Christmas days. Helping make families memories. I was one cog in a gigantic machine. I learned a lot the. I also opened a bottle of wine worth over $4000. US Dollars. They were not even my table. Everyone else was to afraid.I figured it make a great story even if I got cork in the bottle or spilled it. It has.

The Left Bank Cafe. Ooh close to heaven. I wish I could link this oh what a sad loss. It was all of the warmth I could hope for. With it wood burners and hot soup. Live music from well know folk musicians. I learned a lot here. In more ways than one. I learned about luck, love, strength and friends. It was a magical place.                                                                      On the coast in Blue Hill Maine. If you know it consider yourself lucky.

My first job that was not at my Fathers business was a chain pizza joint.

I was 16. They wanted me to be a manager after 3 weeks. I said no. I did not want to manage a group of unruly students. That I was 2-5 years younger than. Maybe that was a opprotunity I should not have missed.

Maybe that was the rung on the ladder I missed.  Although maybe if I had taken it I would have missed all the extra rungs in between. Some of those have been some very important rungs. Very important rungs indeed.

food ooh food

English: Coffee comes in may varieties, shapes...

I’ve had a dream. My whole life, well as long as I can remember, I have wanted my own cafe, restaurant, and deli.

Someplace that brings people together to share delicious food, great conversation. A place where memories are made. A place that someone knows they can find a great meal, snack or just the perfect cup of coffee or tea.

A war smile when they are feeling down. Someplace that is buzzing with happiness. But

quiet enough where you can still sit and read your book or do your work on a laptop. A cafe you feel comfortable sitting with strangers at the community table.

Where you walk through the door and the person behind the counter is making your drink. Ok so that is about the feeling of my cafe.

The food; Ooh the food. That is the real clincher. It will be a place where there is something for everyone. Made from scratch, using healthy fresh ingredients. It will be delicious and nutritious. The kind of food you think about the next day. I want to become the place you come to most often.

It may seem I missed out a word in the earlier sentence

IT,

it may seem like I missed it.

But I have not. As long as I can remember this cafe has lived inside of me. It is like waiting a Childs birth. All-encompassing.