It is like coming up for fresh air. I am riding through the streets of Groningen, on my (rented) bicycle. Just like the old days. Except that so much has changed. And I'm not just talking about the city itself. Of course, there are many new faces and new stores everywhere. Bakeries, concept stores, across from where I had my American lit and journalism classes I see two new juice bars and a coffee place that weren't there in 2012. I even have to think for a second about the route to my friend's house (who has moved by the way). Everything tells me: this isn't your city anymore. And still, it feels safe. It feels like so much of who I am now, started here: in this place.
It's Sunday and I am in my old student city to catch up with two good friends. One I have known since I was two. We grew up in the same town, attended the same high school and studied in the same city. Now we live hours apart, but I can't imagine my life without her. My other friend I met during our time in university. We even spent time in the US together and had the best time at a Bruce Springsteen concert in Philadelphia. Memories. You need them to keep your friendships alive.
Being here, in Groningen, brings back so many of those wonderful memories. They make me smile, almost cry, long for old times, and I realize that so much has happened these last years, since I left. I met my boyfriend here in Groningen, made friends for life, and simply grew up. I wonder if I am more myself now than I was back then. I was always so sure about how my life would look like and my plan worked: from a to z.
Then life as a journalist started and it wasn't what I had hoped for. Could I have known? But how? News didn't bother me as much as it should. I was still fascinated by the US, its media system too, but not so much everyday news. Let alone news from other places. Oops. But you go on, you know. There's no way back, you tell yourself. Maybe it's just a process. It did turn out to be a process. Just a different one than I expected. Soon I discovered my love for food and health. I couldn't help but think about recipes, ingredients, this vast world behind it. All. day. long. In the meantime I was struggling with work. The irregular hours, a zero hour contract. It wasn't all bad. I learned so much and met so many talented people, but it just wasn't for me. But I can finally tell you that from next month on my passion is becoming my job too.
I am going to work for a food coach and health therapist, where I'll be helping clients with their questions and I'll also compose videos and write articles. The perfect combination. From this fall on I'll start with a hormonal studies followed by a training to become a nutritional therapist. Isn't that great?
Today's recipe is a cherry clafoutis. Inspired by Beth's (Local Milk) take on this classic french dessert. Do try this dish soon. It's great for breakfast, but also for dessert with a little cream.
Cherry Clafoutis with almond flour
3 tbsp + 1 tsp of maple syrup
400 grams or 14 ounces of sweet cherries, pitted
1 1/4 cups or 300 ml of buttermilk
1/3 cup of almond flour
2 tbsp of buckwheat flour
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of fine sea salt
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius or 375 Fahrenheit. Great a 9-inch or 22 cm pie dish with unsalted butter. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of maple syrup.
2. Arrange the cherries in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
3. In a bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, maple syrup, almond flour, buckwheat flour, vanilla, and salt. Wish until smooth and pour over the cherries.
4. Bake the clafoutis ready in about 50 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and set in the middle. If a toothpick comes out clean, the clafoutis is done.
5. Dust with confectioners' sugar when cooled a little. Serve. The clafoutis can be stored in the fridge for 2 days.