I stumble over the cardboard boxes. Marlon constantly jumps in them letting me know that perhaps I should start packing. Or perhaps something completely opposite: “please, please, do not take these away, these are my favourite toys”.
Six years since I moved out from my family home: almost two thousand kilometres away, few hundred hours on Skype, few things that my Mum gave me before I left and many others that I collected over the years. Those things simply bought in the supermarkets, a present from former employer, who got rid of some odds and ends in the pub or B&B, treasures found on car boot sales or charity shops. Nearly for free, or literally for nothing – one man garbage is another’s man treasure. An odd glass that can handle almost half large bottle of mineral water - ugly but practical. Clay bowl that presents hummus in a beautiful way. A cup that was left behind by beloved Sister, when she moved out of the house we shared few years ago. New house is a good opportunity to sort things out – things and thoughts. I always try to go to the new home with a fresh mind, without bad memories, but I simply can’t get rid of many things collected over the years.
For example I have this really old tea towel with some printed hens. It has few holes in it, but I can’t just bin it – my Mum gave me this one and I love it more than any other posh tea towels. I also have some cards, letters, or just notes collected over some period of time – I love them because not many people nowadays send a traditional post. I cannot just burn them in the fireplace. Are books my fetish? Yes. Is this weird? Perhaps. I love the smell of paper and the paint and will not replace it with new high technology reader. The most recent one that my partner bough me for last Christmas and secretly sat and look ate the photographs reminding him the best meal we had in our life. So I get rid of the dust like they do it on films and place all of them in the boxes. I wrap the plates using huge “Sunday Times”. For the next few weeks we will only use: two plates, two cups, two pans. We need to pack and be ready to move.
I also gradually use up some ingredients that perhaps we little forgotten and spent too much time in the kitchen cupboards. I am getting used to the idea of cooking dinner of whatever is left in the freezer, cupboards and fridge. From the next month going to the shop to get some extra shopping will be even more time consuming, so I need to be more disciplined. There is half pack of the dried chickpea, great to make vegetable curry. Too few vegetables? Lacking a bit of colour? Do not worry; there are some sundried tomatoes in the fridge. At first I wasn’t too sure if it will go well together, but is tasted incredibly. Surprising, new flavour combination.
2 tbsp sunflower oil or clarified butter (ghee)
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, peeled and finely chopped
about 2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
about 3 cups of chickpea, boiled and drained
400ml coconut milk
300g fresh baby spinach
about 8 sun dried tomatoes from the jar, drained and sliced into strips
Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Fry for few minutes until slightly softened and add the garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for about one minute and add turmeric. Stir so the spice covers the onions and next add the chickpea and coconut milk. Stir, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Next add the fresh spinach, do it in few batches, always wait until the previous batch is wilted. It looks like a huge amount of spinach at first but when added to the pan it goes down a lot. Seson with some salt. When the last batch of spinach is added place the sun dried tomatoes in the pan and stir again. Bring to the boil and remove from a heat.
I serve it with Peshawar naan bread. This dish is suitable for reheating however the spinach is not very good looking when re-heated. Still tasty though!