2 Sep 2013

Like hunger

How to describe this feeling, this physical sensation, that has settled below my solar plexus. It is like hunger in its hollowness, in my desire to feed it. Because what has been feeding me for the last five days has left, travelling away from me, going west along the motorway, crossing the bridge over the River Severn from England into Wales, past the old port cities along the coast towards the smoky clatter of plant and towers of the steelworks that announces Port Talbot, then turning south towards the sea. They're home. And what remains of them here are bright memories, like illuminated shadows stretching across the grass.


My mam and dad, my niece, her husband and their two little kids have been staying with me. There has been pancake flipping, barbecuing and roasting, baking, jam making and wine pouring. There have been darts and frisbees, footballs and bingo games. There have been walks and runs and falling over. Rabbits and deer. Sunrises and sunsets. There has been laughter. Lots of laughter. 

('Iwan gets really upset when I tell him off,' his mother said. 
'I don't,' Ffion, his older sister said. 
'No, you're more resilient.' 
'I'm not Brazilian!')

The orchard fences were sagging under the weight of brambles clustered with plump blackberries. We made a small dent.

Blackberry jam 
Blackberry tart (recipe below)
And now I find myself alone I am attempting to nourish that hollow feeling with a soup made with the home-grown tomatoes and red onions that Mam and Dad brought with them.

Tomato, pepper and hot chilli soup (recipe below)
And then as I'm stirring the soup, my husband, Tony, calls from Corfu where the cruise ship he's lecturing and painting on for 8 weeks has docked for the day and his voice brings me home to myself, our life together.

We all need to be capable of feeding ourselves but the nourishment we receive from the people in our life who we love, who love us, makes us whole. 

Hungry Writing Prompt
Write about the shadows in your life so far. Write about the illuminations. 

Blackberry Tart
This was the first time I'd made this tart, originally served to me by my friend, Mary Vickers, in Florida. I cannot begin to tell you how good the cream cheese and icing (confectioner's) sugar base is within a crisp, sweet and buttery shortcrust envelope. You could pile more fruit onto the top. Next time I will and I'll try a mixture of blackberries and raspberries too.


Detail
Tomato, sweet red pepper and chilli soup 

No real recipe here, just instinct and palate. I used 1 red onion, two long sweet red peppers, a red chilli (all three chopped and softened in olive oil), added a small bowl of chopped fresh tomatoes, some crushed coriander seeds, salt and black and red pepper (for extra heat) and simmered it all for about 45 mins. I pushed it through a sieve for a bright and fine broth but you could liquidise it all for a thicker soup.

I was just on the point of discarding the mash of seeds and skins when I decided to taste it. It is now in a small bowl and will form a tasty little island in the soup along with some creme fraiche.