Dreams of Trump, Hot Hot Hot, Salsa Verde, Prawns and Peas, Easy Pomegranate Chicken with Kasha
Okay, so it’s hot at La Casa Rosa. Really fucking hot. 41 degrees in a high mountain village, five degrees hotter down in Lucca and just the proper fiery abyss of hell in Florence. I have gone into my slug coma mode, where I swell up and sort of hobble about in the dark with the shutters shut. The fan, aimed at my head at all times, pumps hot air at me like a hair dryer. I haven’t slept for a week, regardless of the number of bevs consumed (many). My kids have been lugging cellos and double basses around Lucca in the thumping heat and there are concerts in pretty churches where I fan myself menopausally and wonder if I should take antibiotics for my infected mosquito bites. My leg won’t bend – they got me on the least leathery area – behind the knee. I am taking the antibiotics. The tourists are burnt and fat and they wear stupid hats for no apparent reason, middle-aged women wear little girls’ dresses, the men in shorts and t-shirts two sizes to small for their huge paunches and they all look angry and exhausted, sweaty and bitten. I fear I look like them. I do look like them.
HowEVER, before it got apocalypse hot my sister and her boyfriend were here and nice food was consumed in the garden. The days when you had to put a shirt on in the evening feel like a hundred years ago now that this boiling soup has descended. I dreamt about Donald Trump again (okay, okay, so I slept for five minutes) and we were on a Dreamliner to New York which seemed scarily vast and overpopulated and the press were all wondering who I was and why I was with the President. I was reading him a story about sharks. One of the journalists, who I knew from Moscow and was a friend of John Donvan’s, asked me what the significance of the book was and I said; “Oh, I don’t even know if he understands it’s about sharks.” She wrote it down in shorthand in her notebook and I said; “No, don’t say that. It’ll make him look stupid.” So, THAT’S how mad I have gone.
I see my patients on Skype with my feet in a bowl of iced water. They do not know this.
Prawns and Peas – a classic for when there’s nothing in the house to eat except frozen crap. Fry the prawns in olive oil, garlic and lemon juice. Boil the peas in salty water. Mix them together and add parsley, spring onions, salt, pepper and grated cheese.
Chicken in Pomegranate Molasses with Kasha and Mint –
This was another slightly desperate supper with scrags of chicken out of the freezer. It’s from a Honey and Co. recipe and I’ve written it up properly before but this is a very quick version and it was good, actually. Fry the chicken from frozen in olive oil and pour some pomegranate molasses over it while it’s cooking, some chopped garlic, salt and pepper, a chilli maybe. Once it’s brown and sticky, add a lot of spinach and let it all wilt. Pretty. Boil the kasha (had to look up the English word – buckwheat! (who knew?) But this could be rice, couscous, farro, whatever) and then chop or tear some mint into it, salt, spring onions, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, parsley. Toss the salad and put the chicken on top.
I made a Cucumber Salad with this. Cucumber, salt, sugar, Japanese rice wine vinegar….sesame seeds. Nice.
Whole, gutted fish. These are sea bream and a sea bass in the picture, but also good with trout. Or salmon. Or anything. Put a sprig of rosemary, some salt and a clove of garlic in the gutted fish. Pour on olive oil and lemon juice, more salt. Bake until the eyes are white and the skin is crispy.
Parsley, anchovies, garlic, spring onion, vinegar, capers, olive oil (not much), salt and pepper in the blender. Lemon juice if you like. Also nice with watercress or spinach.
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