So a few birthdays ago Sam and Charlotte bought me a cooking voucher which I never used. It expired but Ann practically suggested I ask if waitrose could extend it. They did and instead of sitting at home stressing about work I got to cook this middle eastern feast. Thanks loves xx.
I have just wrote my first piece in the third person. I decided to put self care first and not go to the theatre and actually had a nice time cooking and writing. This makes me happy. Please read on if you’d like to read it.
The sizzle of the green peppers in the pan. She doesn’t really like them but it’s been in the fridge for a while and it’s good to eat something green in a meal. She cooks them in the garlic oil her mum bought her for Christmas. This oil came alongside a tapas cookbook she’s always been meaning to read but hasn’t got quite round to yet. The pasta bubbles furiously, almost drowning out the sizzle of the peppers cooking. She adds cherry tomatoes and the remainder of the green olives from last week’s book club meeting. She’d meant to make pasta puttanesca, one of her signature dishes but bizarrely was out of anchovies. She could have sworn she bought some in Lidl. Oh well she thought, I might as well use what’s in the fridge.
Classic FM is on in the background, a soothing background noise compared to the bubble and sizzle of her already late to eat tea. The peppers are almost charred but she thinks they taste better that way. Time to add the passata, which turns the innocently sizzling olives, cherry tomatoes, and peppers into a lava like substance complete with crater like pockets of air. This has the affect of decorating the surface of the black marble cooking top with spots of sauce. She has a love/hate relationship with the shiny back kitchen surfaces which take a ridiculous amount of effort to stay gleaming. The steam from the sauce temporarily blinds her, she steps back, tries to take an appreciative whiff but she can only smell the pasta steam and something burning. Shit! She forgot the garlic bread in the oven. She fumbles for the oven gloves, opening the oven to let out the predictable as the rain gush of hot air. The garlic bread is only slightly too brown. God cooking can be a trial at times. The pasta sauce has now congealed and looks less appealing than before. She angles her face so she can stir the sauce whilst her glasses continue to steam and adds the remainder of the garlic and whatever it is Philadelphia. She hates waste yet regularly must throw away too much food, overbuying in Lidl seduced by how cheap everything is. Half a pack of asparagus, mouldy blueberries and strawberries had all met their maker earlier on when she’d realised they’d gone off whilst rummaging through the fridge for the vegetables.
Finally, it’s done. She tries to inhale the smell of the sauce but can hardly smell it at all until her face is inches away from the pan, she gets a faint whiff of garlic and the Philadelphia. She tries a bit of the pasta and burns her lip. Why does tomato sauce always drown out all other tastes she thinks. I added sugar after all. That’s meant to improve the taste of the sauce according some guardian magazine article she read aeons ago, ha well not according to Nicki Minaj. Maybe the sea salt will be enough. The sizzle and lava sounds have been muted. Light classics are still playing on the radio the screen says along with the hum from the extractor as she stirs the sauce through for the last time enjoying the way the blue spatula lifts all the sauce from the sides of the pan. There is no waste with that blue spatula she thinks, it’s a pleasure to bake with. She vaguely recognises a part of the classical music playing, the extractor now turned off she can hear the radio announce its Bruch’s violin concerto. She smiles inwardly, how times have changed that she can now recognise bits of classical music. She uses her fork to awkwardly shift the pasta into her white ikea bowl. Presentation isn’t her forte, particularly when she is on her own. She’d love to be like her friend Jerry who can effortlessly cook amazing meals for lots of people without getting stressed.
She grinds some black pepper onto the pasta and adds a chopped disc of goat’s cheese just to give it some taste. She leaves the mess behind her and takes herself and the bowl to her preferred spot on the sofa. The pasta is edible, the sauce not one she’d pride herself on serving to guests but for herself it will do. Its only food after all. There is a mildly acidic aftertaste to the sauce but the linguine is just how she likes it, slightly less al dente than is fashionable. The goats cheese has melted and as she gets a piece of black pepper in her mouth, the sauce improves. The charred green pepper adds a freshness to the flavours, counteracting the slight dryness of the sauce, as she starts to greedily fork more into her mouth. In her last two mouthfuls, she gets a tiny piece of salty olive and more pepper. She’s pleased though, it’s a meal for herself, which these days is still an achievement. She’s still slightly hungry but mindful of the time and her dyspeptic self which has a tendency to vivid dreams, after large meals, she decides against eating anymore. Her dyspeptic dreams are not always comfortable she has found, especially where cheese is concerned. I’ll make another cup of tea instead she thinks. She loves tea, and today has treated herself to ‘love’, a tea she is more enamoured of because of its name and its bright cerise packaging than the taste itself. The tea smells comfortingly floral with hints of lavender and is surprisingly sweet for a herbal tea. She tops up her tea bag with hot water and decides against settling on the sofa. She pops two antacids in her mouth and walks to her bedroom to enjoy her tea in the lamp light and with a novel.