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"Cook with love. Love your cooking" Gita Mistry

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Happy Birthday Richard

Today is a very special day to honour a fine gentleman who was part of my life throughout my late teens and my twenties.  My fiancé, Richard Evans. Until his sudden death at the age of 31.  Whom I lost in my arms. He was remarkable in many ways and today is his birthday. He would have been 47 years old today.

Firstly he was one of the tallest men I ever seen 6 foot 11 inches tall. We used to say he was 7 foot minus just an inch in our home. With a size 14 shoe and a 48 inch chest. He was a very kind gentle giant, a very loving, trustworthy man with the patience of a saint. 

I know he touched the hearts of many because after he died cards and letters flooded in to me of his remarkable reputation. Friends and work colleagues wrote to me to tell of his beautiful manner with them and that if he displayed that for us, how they could not have imagined the loss I had faced  and the love he had for  me. I know he respected me and supported me with his best at all times. Which really touches me and carries me even now when I think of him. I was lucky to have shared a life with him for many years. We were a great team.

He played volleyball in the national league division one team for Leeds. Astonishingly, he knew how to ballroom dance and surprised his mother to a dance once. He enjoyed watching movies- he enjoyed the sound track and the film from "The Big Blue" which he introduced to me and other works from the directer Luc Besson . In fact he enjoyed movies so much that we had planned to do away with a dinning room and have a cinema room with the best sound gear we could afford.Which we both enjoyed the idea of.

A big football fan too supporting  Manchester City but there were many differences on this as I supported Bradford City. The  pretty old Victorian house- flat we shared was near by the Bradford city ground and the atmosphere was amazing on game days. 

Travel was a big part of his life and sometimes we would simply head out with a map and food supplies and just explore where ever it took us in England and it really was lovely to hangout. He loved Europe and really adored France especially the south- he never made it to a long distance country to explore new cultures which was a big interest of his but he read lots about China and Indian and South America. 

He was a science and technology fan and he enjoyed books on artificial intelligence too- he was marvellous at DIY. I remembered decorating our flat and even teaching ourselves how to lay carpets together.We talked often about building a home together literally. And I think we would have done that had it not been that his life had been cut short. 

His decency to mankind was mind blowing. I think that was what attracted me most to him. I praise him for all the hard work he put into becoming a chartered engineer 16 years ago this month and many others he encouraged in his short career as a mechanical engineer. 

 Food was a favourite passion for both of us and lots of red wine being served in good measure at meal times. Most of it from France He would eat the whole pan of mushroom bajias I would make with appreciation written all over him.

For breakfast alone he had 8 weetabixes or a mix of cereals followed by bacon and eggs sometimes and for lunch he polished off 5 sandwiches, a couple peanut butter, ham and mustard, cheeses and pickle and chicken and lemon thyme for work unless he went out for lunch, and two starters and main courses he would enjoy happily - I enjoyed hearing the list of dishes he devoured, it just made me smile  - variety had to be the key. 

Our big love was eating out- Italian,Mexican and Chinese.I remember heading to the Yang Sing for his 21st Birthday - we had saved for it- what a treat we had, his favourite sauce was yellow bean and he was fascinated by the array of dishes that had been served to us at one point I think the waiter was very worried we had ordered too much but I knew that would not be problem.

He loved cakes and French apple tarts. Madeira cake was one of his favourites, but when it was baked for him as a child it always had a had a hole running through the middle, a hollow they would say - a bit of family fun!The oven his parents used to bake it in I believe took the blame for it- we never got to the bottom of it and because it tasted so delicious nobody really cared. 

However I could not master the hollow but here is a recipe you may like to bake. Its a recipe from his mum which she past onto me-  and each year Richard would get a home baked a maderia cake on his birthday from me.Do let me know if you mange to create a hollow through the middle of it.

125g caster sugar
125 g butter or margarine
3 large eggs at room temperature
200g self raising flour
1/2 lemon juice
Good pinch of sugar and lemon zest

Cream the sugar and butter together, beat in the eggs with little four at a time, add half the lemon juice in the mixture and then fold in the remaining flour ,place the mixture in a greased 18cm to 20 cm cake tin and bake in moderate oven: 180oc, gas mark 4 for 1 1/4 hours, take out of the oven and leave to cool before removing it from the tin. Mix the other 1/2 of the lemon juice with the good pinch of sugar and the lemon zest dissolve it and drizzle over over the centre of the cake. Enjoy!

I introduced his mother to many new spices and  a variety of Indian food and she even kept her own tins of spices for cooking her own Indian recipes. But one thing we all used to love doing was hitting the curry mile in Rusholme  South Manchester. We loved visiting the the sweet centre for hot crispy jalebi after our curry.

There is so much more I could write about him today on his birthday but I will finish with simply

Happy Birthday sweet heart Richard 12/03/1968

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