I woke up this morning thinking (well hoping) that I had a clear agenda for the day and that I could drink coffee, have a long bath and basically do nothing for most of the day. I was wrong. Our Happy Gardener rang me up at 9 and suggested we go to the garden centre this morning and load the car up with some colourful annuals for the newly dug flower bed along the wall. So I grudgingly said okay and was ready within an hour. Off we went to a lovely shop on the 'unaza' (the city ring road), and filled up the car with several flats of plants. Maybe it's been a while since I bought garden plants but I was slightly shocked by how pricey they are. I'm sure I could buy the same stuff back in Canada for 1/3 of the price or less. But it's Tirana and you have to pay for pretty. HG was able to get all the plants into the ground and into pots with the eager assistance of his 3 year old daughter!
In the middle of all the gardening commotion, my friend S called me up and said she had a plateful of hot, homemade, Swedish Cinnamon Rolls and so I said I would put on the coffee. Is there anything more delightful than an unexpected guest who comes bearing something so totally yummy? I can't think of anything!
S and I love food, recipes, and restaurant talk, and so it didn't take long before we were browsing through cookbooks and talking about yummy things. All that talking gave me inspiration to stir up a big pot of minestrone, my favourite soup of all time, and the one I am most disappointed with in restaurants. It's just so simple to do right that I can't understand why a chef/cook can't do it right. I followed a recipe from Patricia Wells' Trattoria, with a few minor changes. The end result was colourful and delicious and I have enough to feed a football team.
I was outside in the garden later in the day when my wonderful neighbour Abdullah caught me by surprise and quickly snipped a bunch of beautiful flowers from his huge garden and gave me a lovely bouquet which is now sitting here on my desk.
What can I say? It doesn't take much to make me happy!