Saturday morning: cars whoosh through the rain-soaked street, tyres sending up small waves of water, as welcome a sound to these ears as the velvet voice of Ella Fitzgerald as she filters into the kitchen. The downpour washed away the dust and crept inside, trickling through holes in the roof at first, then wending its way through flickering light-fittings and finally caving in the laundry ceiling. Not even the mad rush for buckets and pots and pans to catch the stuff daunted us. A rare task this and, as such, undertaken with some joy. We’ve been deluged and it’s delightful.
I dawdle through the recipe, lingering over the eggplant, playing with the light that falls on the glossy, oiled cherry tomatoes. We will we be five for dinner, this deliciously grey autumn evening. Golden rounds of eggplant sandwiched with herb-, pistachio- and olive-laced mounds of fresh ricotta; a heap of cherry toms, the yellow ones from the front garden, roasted until their skins split; a gratin of thinly sliced potatoes layered with red onions, sliced to a similar papery-thinness, cooked in a mixture of stock, lemon juice and olive oil. Show-off stuff.
Cooler days, curiously, have made me ravenously hungry for dairy produce. Yoghurt, cheese and sour cream. Standing at the deli counter, armed with a quickly scribbled list that simply read:
Cracked green olives (the ones flecked with red chillies)
Turkish bread (2?)
I came home with things that were definitely not on the list:
A very large piece of unpasturised French Basque blue cheese
Another, larger still, of aged cheddar
A small(ish) triangle of chalky Manchego
A trembling wedge of fresh ricotta, snowy white, also snuck its way into the basket. Like a child unleashed in a sweet shop, I couldn’t stop. Unusual behaviour, this. Wary of the effect on my digestive system and the uncanny ability dairy has to make my nose drip not unlike our leaking home (utterly charmless two days later, I must add) it’s difficult to imagine what, exactly, came over me.
Time to re-think; time to re-adjust. An overhaul in the kitchen is due. There will be some changes around here over the next few weeks as this blog quietly enters its third year. Subtle changes perhaps, but just the shift in thinking that’s required. The world does not need another recipe for roasted cherry tomatoes; instead, all I can offer today is a bunch of glistening baubles, anointed with olive oil and ready to roast to bursting perfection. Not much, I know, but their brightness cheered me no end.