Three of my favourite feelings are: the joyful realisation that there is another layer in the chocolate box; the glee at discovering a cold spot in a too-hot bed on a cold night; and the familiar comfort of my mum’s voice on the phone.
The latter takes me right back to childhood. Even though the words and tone may have changed along with our relationship, the melody of my mum’s voice remains the same and puts me right back at the kitchen table, listening to her and my nana put the world to rights, largely through anecdotes involving Mrs Muckybum who lived down the street.
I sincerely hope that wasn’t her real name – how unfortunate if so.
Anyhow, last night’s conversation covered pillboxes, Night of the Hunter and her upcoming flying lesson. My side of the dialogue was nowhere near as smart or sparky. She was on speakerphone as I chopped onions and I realised as we nattered, that I was no longer the child at the table, witness to the conversation, I was part of it! We’ve both upgraded a role: I’m her and she’s nana! I felt a great happiness at this and relaxed into my natural non-teacher idiom which, like my mum’s, is much more aside-based and riddled with inuendo. We’re basically drag queens without the vibrance (me, not her.)
I’m hoping that this recipe will have a Proustian effect on you. It was a real treat for me to make it as I listened to my mum’s voice, as pleasant an accompaniment as a glass of prosecco or a favourite playlist. It’s a made up curry, and I apologise to anyone who knows how to make a serious curry. This is an end of the week, let’s put everything in kind of recipe. A ‘ let’s focus on the most important things’ dish: in this case, a chat with my ma.
Made up curry
1 tin coconut milk
1 onion sliced
Chillis to taste, chopped
1 chicken stock cube
Any veg (potatoes/squash, cubed, carrots/courgettes cubed, peppers sliced, whatever)
1 handful red lentils
Bicarb soda (1/4 teaspoon)
For the curry,
Fry off the onions till translucent. Add chillis, ginger and currry powder to taste. Add coconut milk. And stock cube and water if necessary. Bring to a low simmer. Add in your veg and lentils, according to general cooking time. Let it cook. Add tomato herbs or spinach about 5 minutes before end.
Mix 1 cup of Gram flour with 1 cup water and bicarb soda. Add in cumin and salt and mix together, till it makes a thin batter. Heat oil or ghee in frying pan and pour in half the batter. Let it fry through and then flip and repeat on the other side. Serve with the curry and tell your mum afterwards how great it tasted.