But I’ve decided to take it as a good sign. First, I’m hoping that being sick now at the start of Winter will mean I’m cool for the rest of it. Secondly, it neatly did away with any first-day-on-the-job awkwardness. Thirdly, after months of burning away on less than six hours sleep a night to put in the work to make myself as cookbook-worthy as possible, some enforced rest is kinda nice.
But yeah, did I mention kitten-weak? I could hardly lift my head yesterday. However there was a small window where hunger, my sense of taste returning, and my ability to stand up straight intersected, and I made good on it by cooking myself up some tomato soup, with sake, chilli, and cinnamon in its cherry-red depths. That aside, this is really just a can of tomatoes and some water, so as well as the fact that it ain’t no thing to make, it also costs little.
Tomato Soup with Sake, Chilli and Cinnamon.
A recipe by myself.
1 can tomatoes in juice (crushed makes your life easier, but sometimes whole are cheaper, so go with what you know.)
1 heaped teaspoon sambal oelek OR 1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 tablespoon semolina
1 shotglass of sake
Cinnamon and salt to taste
Open the can of tomatoes and tip it into a pan. Fill up the can with water and tip that into the pan too. Add the sambal oelek or chilli, bring to the boil then simmer for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. If you’re using whole canned tomatoes, mash them up with your wooden spoon as you go. Sprinkle over the semolina, stir it in quickly, and simmer for another five minutes till the soup is thickened. Finally, stir in the sake and a dusting of cinnamon (not even a quarter of a teaspoon – just shake some into your hand and scatter it in from there) plus salt to taste, and serve.
Serves 1 – although easily multiplied for more.
Tomato soup is what it is – you either like it or don’t. This is special yet nothing special at the same time, making it a rather perfect lunch. There’s something inimitable about sake’s clean yet buttery taste and the way it mingles with the slow-simmered tomatoes. The semolina swells and thickens the soup superbly, and the chilli and cinnamon add necessary, fragrant warmth, generally distracting you entirely from the metallic beginnings of these tomatoes. If you don’t have sake kicking around, use sherry, and if you don’t have that kicking around, this will still be really nice, so fear not. And if you don’t have semolina you could use polenta, or just have your soup a little more watery. However, there is also something to be said for following my recipe as it is, too.
So I ate it for lunch yesterday with a cup of hot lime and honey – the lime simply a different take on the usual lemon drink that I’ve been having nonstop for the last few days. And it was wonderful.
I had my last day at work on Friday. It’s strange not to be going there anymore after so many years. At this stage it just feels like I’m on sick leave, but there is a persistent sense of having left something big behind – it’s a little sad, but it’s also very, very freeing, and growing more definite. And I left on good terms – the best terms in fact, dancing wildly with everyone at a local bar. Indeed, it’s possibly for the best that no-one has to make eye contact with me immediately following my particular brand of jiving to Tainted Love. I can’t help it, when the music plays I dance big, and I dance freely.
And any lingering feelings of “what have I dooooooone” were dissolved quickly on Saturday night at an amazing potluck dinner at our dear friend Jo’s (the same one who told me about Arya’s pants.) Friends that you feel comfortable enough to have a fullness-induced (slightly mulled wine-induced too, to be fair) lie-down in front of are good friends indeed. Seriously, when I get too full I have to lie down, and there’s really not many places outside the home that I can feasibly follow through with it.
So this is me now – not wearing a cool beret (or even an uncool beret), not having written gazillions of pages of my cookbook, and not feeling particularly well.
Music to write a cookbook to:
I already love Janine and the Mixtape’s song Bullets, but if anything’s going to make me listen to a remix of it, it’s the fact that Haz’Beats from Homebrew is behind it. Dreamy as.
Speaking of remixes, listen now to this Scratch 22 remix of Street Chant’s Salad Daze. Holy cow, is all I’ve got.
Was a little tipsy the other night and pulled my typical move of falling into a YouTube black hole of tears-inducing Broadway videos. And there are few more instantly tears-inducing than the late Laurie Beechman. Ugh, just typing it makes me want to cry. Watch her singing On A Clear Day…If you dare.
Next time: I have the latest Cuisine magazine and am still planning to cook something from that, but whatever it is, hopefully I’ll be well enough to make it something a little more involved than a can of tomatoes and some water. But not too involved, you know me.