Sunday afternoon and the sun’s shining. It’s mellow around here, that Sunday sort of vibe – relaxed, laid-back – is all the go.
I had a guest this morning for breakfast. I whipped up mushrooms with thyme and garlic on toast, with fried eggs, coffee and OJ. We sat in the sunshine on my terrace and enjoyed it, talking about nothing in particular but enjoying it.
Yesterday was pretty ideal. I’ve had a cold that went to my chest. I felt pretty ordinary for a while. Yesterday I woke up much improved and feeling suddenly as if I had been let off the leash. Before heading out the door I pulled a few favourite recipe books down from their shelves. I browsed through them, making up a shopping list as I went along. Then I left, the sun shining then as it is now, and walked to the market.
There are days I am impatient with the market. The crowd is so thick that you need a machete to get through. Grannies with their jeeps stop and prop in the middle of the way. The vendors yell spruiking their wares, the cheap veggies, the half-price trays of meat, the juicy fruit. Tourists loiter with heavy cameras slung around their neck. I thread my way through it all with intent, knowing where I am going.
I worked through my list, cheese first, then some fresh pasta, some sourdough, meat and then a variety of vegetables. Often I’ll stop for a coffee, but not yesterday.
Back at home, I began to cook. I had my iTunes playing loudly as I prepared the days dishes, singing along loudly as I mixed this with that, chopping with the beat of the music, all synchronised like.
I like to cook. I used to be very good. Once upon a time I actually contemplated becoming a chef. In the years after choosing not to, I used to cook a lot anyway. I would entertain quite a bit, hosting dinner parties where I would concoct some interesting and challenging menu. My guests used to look forward to these nights, and I used to look forward to showing off. I don’t cook anywhere near as much anymore, though I hope to again – and so setting myself yesterday to a day in the kitchen was very satisfying.
I made some soup first, a Cauliflower and Roquefort soup out of a Delia Smith cookbook. Then I made my famous and now familiar spaghetti bolognese, slopping in the red wine, throwing in a bay leaf and then another for good measure, then letting it cook slow and long, bubbling like a witches cauldron minus the eye of newt.
That was dinner, cooked up with some black pepper fettuccine bought at the market. Then the footy came on, a marvellous high scoring game of highlights, were good triumphed after a struggle over evil, the Don’s beat the scum and I’m as happy as a boy could be, or just about. Then, just to top it off, The Godfather comes on straight after the footy. How good is this?
I know there’s a lot of blokes out there who know exactly what I mean. To see your team win a close one against a hated enemy is very satisfying. Then to be laying on the couch in the dark and to have that followed up by one of the greatest bloke movies of all time is a masterstroke of programming.
Today, some housework, some kicking back, some more cooking. On the menu? Syrian chicken – nah, never made it before. And something called Panade a l’oignon. I’m in my domestic mood.