Those words, “All Clear”, mean a lot.

Those word, “All Clear”, mean a lot.

To me, my family, grandchildren and friends.  But especially to me.

It was another trip to the hospital yesterday, to hear the result of my second small operation.  I can’t confess that I wasn’t nervous – thoughts of all sorts flying around my head.  But as soon as I entered the room, my lovely lady surgeon spoke those words,”All Clear”.  No more operations, nothing else had been found.

What a relief!

So now, feeling as fit as a fiddle, all I have to do is take a pill every day for 5 years (think I can manage that), have a course of Radiotherapy (only a few minutes of it, and painless), eat healthily and get on with my life. Such a relief – and for me, for now, my life will no longer be ‘on hold’ – I can get back on track with my kitchen garden, my garden, my house and just enjoy living my life again.

From a blog point of view, I will be looking for lovely healthy food recipes as well as very tempting comfort food.  I’ve been told to have plenty of dairy food for my bone density, so I reckon a rich, dark cocoa before bed will be a must. (Gone are the days of a Remy Martin before bedtime! It’s too expensive – and anyway, I just love cocoa, and knowing it will do me good is an added bonus.)

Yet again, early mornings suit me, so trawling through my recipes I found this fabulous Middle Eastern salad, Fattoush.  Full of interesting flavours and healthy vegetables, I fancy this with some grilled or barbecued Lamb Chops or Chicken (dusted with Ras al Hanout and maybe a drizzle of honey before cooking).  See what you think – it looks amazing.

Fattoush Recipe

Fattoush Salad
Fattoush – Simon Rimmer – courtesy of BBC Good Food

Fattoush Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

This Fattoush Recipe looks mouthwatering, but you could add lots of different vegetables to it, chickpeas or beans, and even add some strips of leftover chicken or thin strips of beef if you wish. Pomegranite seeds could be scattered over it as well - I just think they look like jewels and raise dishes to another level.


  • 100ml/3 1/2 fl oz olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp sumac (a sour-tasting ground spice, available in Middle Easter delis if not found in your supermarket)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 pitta bread (wholemeal if poss) torn into small pieces
  • 8 tomatoes, plum if poss, seeds removed and quartered
  • Half green pepper, cut into strips
  • Half cucumber, peeled, cut into 5cm / 2 inch batons
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, or small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Small handful of rocket leaves
  • 1 small Little Gem lettuce, torn apart
  • Handful of fresh mint leaves


  1. For the dressing, place the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, crushed garlic and sumac into a bowl and whisk together to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (You will not need all the dressing for this recipe, so keep the remainder aside in the fridge for up to a week.)
  2. For the salad, place the torn pitta bread, tomatoes, cucumber, pepper, radishes, shallot or onion, rocket leaves, Little Gem lettuce leaves and mint leaves into a large bowl and season to taste.
  3. When ready to serve, pour the dressing, a bit at a time, over the salad and gently mix together to coat the salad evenly.

You will understand why those words, “All Clear”, mean a lot. Especially to me.  I want to be around to see my grandchildren grow up, and also to enjoy working hard at creating my Kitchen Garden and sorting my house out.  It needs it!  To write my blog, finish my book, find more mouth-watering recipes and enjoy cooking for Erik, myself, family and friends.  I’m so lucky to be given a second chance, and I’m not going to waste it.


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