Not writing anything on C&T for these past two weeks has been a strange experience. Last year I took a month-long break during all of August to focus on moving and trying to settle back in after the UK. This time things are very different and difficult. To say that these past few days have been tough doesn’t even begin to describe it. My maternal grandmother passed away early Sunday morning. Her funeral was held last Monday, giving us almost no time to process this loss. My grandma had been sick for 13 years – in fact, the last time I remember her being ok was at my wedding. I remember my mum asking me to go hug her before my going away. For some reason that comes to mind every time I think of her. Somehow I managed a reading during the funeral service and kept calm, but I couldn’t help feeling upset by the end of it. What I can say for sure is that I feel deeply thankful for being able to be there during her last days with us. She is now at peace.
I have always linked my love of food to my grandmother. I know I’ve mentioned this before somewhere on this blog, but it’s only appropriate I do so now once again. One of my early memories of her was being in her large blue kitchen (does my kitchen being also blue have anything to do with this? I wonder…) frying some whole lampuki (dorado) and giving me one on a plate. I was, what? Four? Five? Something like that. I just ate using only my hands, no fork, no nothing. I just remember pulling apart the bones and licking my fingers after gobbling the whole thing up. My grandma wasn’t usually easily impressed but she gave me this huge smile when I was done. I was so happy! And it was so good! Even now I don’t mind using my hands to eat.
My mum is going through a rough time of course. I cannot imagine how she’s feeling, but I feel honoured to be able to spend time with her. The only thing I can do is to be there for her whenever she needs me, something of which I felt continuously guilty during the years I’ve been away. Now I’m back I feel I must make up for lost time. I’m partly writing this post/recipe for my mum because she’s the one who’s been asking me “Rob, when are you going to write next? Why don’t you post something this week?” I can understand why she’s asking and I appreciate that. So just to get me going again on my at-least-one-blog-post-a-week timetable here’s one which I wanted to publish for ages. (I know you will forgive me for sounding so negative, but here I am being honest.) My mum is a brilliant cook and this simple recipe reminds me of her a lot. A few weeks ago, when the temperatures were already going through the roof, I found my mother in the kitchen, by the flaming stove, frying thickly sliced courgettes like there’s no tomorrow. I was like “Ma, you’re nuts! This is taking so long…and…in this heat??!” She just shrugged her shoulders and said something like “But there’s so good!” And that’s a fact. This is how I do it. My take isn’t remotely the same as my mother’s and if she were here that’s exactly what she would say, but I’m sure she won’t mind.
- 2 large courgettes, thinly sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, thinly chopped
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
- splash of fresh lemon juice
Even though I admire that kind of patience I know I wouldn’t be able to spend so much time faffing about next to the hob. Especially right now. So what I do is slice a couple of courgettes as thinly as I can manage, throw them in a hot non-stick pan with a tablespoon or so of regular olive oil or rapeseed oil, with a pinch of salt, pepper and chilli for some heat. Sometimes I add a sliced clove of garlic and a splash of fresh lemon juice. The courgettes are done once they turn golden and are easily pierced with a fork.
This recipe can be easily scaled up and is a perfect side with meat or fish. Also makes for a great snack with drinks.
Hope everyone’s having a good week. I’ve decided to take it one day at a time.