Yesterday I turned 25. Quarter of a century, big number, a little scary, a little wonderful. For many reasons this birthday has made me reflect a lot about past, present and future. About growing up and life choices. I guess with age, comes wisdom, even if it's not a lot of it.
I guess all of us reach a point in our lives in which priorities change drastically. We look back and laugh at what years ago seemed so important. Having that new pair of shoes, buying a new purse, being cool or popular at school seem such silly things right now. Somehow, we all grow up, or at least most of us, to realize that life priorities usually involve people, ourselves and our career.
By people I mean family and friends and sometimes couples. Living abroad I've realized how important it is to keep people you love close, in one way or another. The internet and its technologies make it easier to keep in touch with those who live far, but it still requires an effort. In my case, it's an effort totally worth making. Meeting new people and making new friends is always on top of the list as well. The truth is, when you live 6000 miles away from your family, friends take that place.
Once more, a few years ago, I would've complained about how sometimes my mum didn't understand anything or how my dad was grumpy and annoying or how I fought with my sisters about silly stuff. Today I'm proud and happy of having all of them in my life. I appreciate all the effort my parents have put in my education and all the nights my sisters didn't go out just to babysit me. At 25 I realize that they're probably the most important thing in my life and I wouldn't be where I am without them.
And finally myself. Growing up involves accepting who you are and understanding that there's not such a thing as being perfect. Might sound too typical, but it ends up being true. Dealing with your flaws, using your virtues, accepting that you might not be the smartest kid or the most good looking are sort of the painful part of getting old. Painful until you realize that there's people who love you for who you are and that those people make your life so amazing that the rest doesn't really matter anymore.
So here it is, my growing up. And these delicious cookies I haven't talked about yet. They're the typical bread-cookie from my dad's town. I've eaten this cookies ever since I can remember and it seemed about time to try to make them myself. They're crunchy and tasty, perfect for dipping in coffee, even though they're not sweet. You can give them whatever shape you want, sticks, pretzels or round, they're all gonna taste amazing. The recipe makes a ton of them and they keep very well in an airtight container for several days, so you have no excuse! gotta try them!
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons anise seeds (you can omit them if you want but the cookies definitely don't taste like anise)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sesame seeds
Mix the flour, yeast, salt, sugar and anise seeds in a mixing bowl. Stir until combined. Add the milk, the olive oil and the water. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until it's soft and elastic. Let it rest for about 2 hrs or until doubled in size.
Divide the dough in 20-30 balls, depending on how big you'd like the cookies to be. I made 25 balls. Let them rise again until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll the balls into ropes and form a ring. Brush the top of the cookies with egg and dip them in sesame seeds.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden and the cookies are crunchy. Don't overbake or else they'll be hard.
Oh, I mentioned it was my birthday. I made myself a cake for the party we had on Saturday. I couldn't take many pictures of because it was made late in the afternoon and it was pouring water outside. So just one pic of the result. The cake was a 3 layer white cake, recipe here, filled with a mix of whipped cream and cocoa powder, sliced bananas and shredded coconut. The frosting is whipped cream and cocoa as well and the top is a simple chocolate ganache.