I watched the entire 30odd minutes of kangaroo Dundee today. What is wrong with me? I watched a whole programme about a tall and strong looking fellow rescuing and nursing baby kangaroos, becoming their mother
It did get me thinking about comfort though. The primitive need. My boy fell over at playgroup whilst playing away from me and he walked around searching from me in cries that escalated in volume until he found me.
No matter where I am in the world, I always crave okra curry and hot chapatti with yoghurt after a few days. Why does it feel so easy, warm and calm to wake up next to someone you love each day. Remember the feeling of laying your head in your mothers lap and having your hair stroked, or sitting on the lap of your mum or dad in a crowd, the safe place. Maybe the smell of chips is comforting because it was a regular treat, a common feature in the winter take-away suggestions on a Friday or on blustery days by the seaside, laughing with loved ones. Or remember that time when we escaped from arguing relatives, hit the road and ended up at the seaside, in the dark in a bank holiday with nothing to eat, but chips.
Maybe the reason I keep Bollywood serials running in the background is because it feels like someone is there, maybe the sounds are familiar in a way that other shows aren’t or maybe there transport me to times when I actually watched a movie without gadgets for distraction. It’s comforting. Perhaps kadhi is cajoling because its what I’ve always eaten with khichdi when I’ve been sick. Growing up my mum would persuade me to go to the temple with her, she said she got some peace of mind at the temple. I never understood it, until I grew up.
My next recipe offers me comfort. My uncle has become old and frail, but memories of him are younger, still very mature and active. His garden was well tended back in the day. I loved walking along the oaths that were lined with unusual flowers, lots of them. I would head straight for the back of the garden, where a swing hung from an enormous tree. I’d swing and avoid kicking apples. I knew my dad would be carrying them home for apple pie.
Nowadays I give this recipe an exotic and spiced twist. The juices burst through the top of the crumble and make I could drink it. It’s really good, try it.
3 cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped (I used Bramley apples)
150g lychees, stoned and halved
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 stick of cinnamon
2 star anise
50ml rose water
A generous knob of butter
For the crumble topping
150g plain flour
100g caster sugar
75g dedicated coconut
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180degrees
2. Make the crumble topping first, by combining the sugar and the flour, then rubbing in the butter gently, to make a bread-crumb like texture. Then add the desiccated coconut. When it’s ready, put it in the fridge until the topping is needed.
3. Turn your attention to the fruit, by heating and melting the butter in a pan and adding the Apples and sugar. Crisp the apples up for 3-4 minutes before stirring in the cinnamon, rose water, cardamom, and star anise. Turn off the heat and add the blackberries and lychees
4. Turn the fruit into an oven-proof dish and spread the crumble topping over the fruit, evenly
Bake the crumble in the oven for approximately 20-25minutes before serving…ideally hot!