The older you get, the quicker the years go by. It’s one of those things your parents tell you when you’re young and you think, incredulously, "You mean there comes a time in life when Christmas doesn’t take FOREVER to arrive and when you don’t feel a sense of loss on Boxing Day that its all over again for a whole YEAR?"
I’m now in my (early) thirties so have of course known for some time that this is one of life’s truisms. Adults will be suprised with the apparent speed that birthdays and anniversaries come around and deem it worthy of regular comment, it being almost as much small talk fodder as the weather.
I suppose I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic recently. At this time of year, with Halloween swiftly followed by Bonfire Night, and the first real chill in the air, it makes me think of childhood evenings, wrapping up against the cold , sparklers, toasted marshmallows, the smell of the grown up’s mulled wine and starting the build up towards Christmas.
This nostalgia, I think, is also induced by me currently navigating the proper grown up territory of planning a wedding and perhaps to a greater extent, having recently moved flat.
The wedding planning is actually lovely and I’m so excited to become a married woman, but it does make you (well, me anyway) consider your life up to this point as Part I, where your younger, single self often imagined getting married at some distant point which has now arrived, and you’re at the interval before Part 2 thinking "bring it on" but aware this is very much a new phase in your life. Maybe I’m being a bit immature, so hopefully marriage will bring the added bonus of making me a serene and capable grown up.
Continuing the philosophical vein, it turns out trying to move into a rented flat in London becomes  something of an existential experience, where you question if mankind is in fact ultimately doomed by our flawed, greedy, duplicitous nature, symbolised clearly and depressingly in the London lettings market. When you finally find somewhere and move in you begin to feel more positive about life, once the night terrors about that mouldy 1 bed in Camden renting for £1300 a month, subside.
It was no surprise then that on our first proper night in the new flat we wanted something warm, easy and comforting for dinner. Comfort food is a bit of an over-used phrase, especially I think for people who like cooking & eating and find the prepation of food to be therapeutic & relaxing anyway. But I suppose comfort food is something not arduous to prepare, always warm, and usually filling and fattening, because feeling fragile is the best excuse to gorge on carbs, cheese, butter and chocolate .
On this occasion I made fettucine with cream cheese, courgettes, garlic, oregano and crisply bacon. Courgettes and other squashes are the comfort vegetables in my mind, with their soft buttery texture, and work beautifully with a little garlic and salty bacon. I simply cooked the pasta then stirred through plenty of cream cheese, pan fried the other ingredients and served generously. Some of the oil from the frying pan was a welcome addition, so too was a squeeze of lemon & plenty black pepper. Perhaps not the most sophisticated pasta dish I’ve ever made but a good food equivalent of a hug.