Month: June 2016

Stuffed Aubergine with Apricot

Last Saturday, we held a party. It was somewhere between a house party and a dinner party  – a halfway house celebration between youth and adulthood, which seems pretty apt considering this Friday we get the keys to a three-bed cottage in the East Midlands. But back to last Saturday afternoon, and the slow cooker humming, chicken braising, radishes pickling and beans bubbling. We were making tacos, proper tacos with orange braised pork; pilbil chicken and deep and spicy beans (for the vegans in the house). All talk of the EU had been quietened by Buena Vista Social Club and a very earnest pledge to move to Canada at the earliest opportunity, and – modesty aside – we turned out some of the best tacos I’ve eaten this side of Mexico. I mean, we even had pickled radishes. Our guests, half expecting a bowl of pringles and a tub of thousand island dip, seemed to agree. But better than homemade tacos and pico de gallo was the fact that in the space of an evening, we’d become the couple who cooks. Feeders, if you will – Read More

Day Five: Crickets

It must be a funny thing, to live with the constant hum of crickets – like tinnitus, I suppose. A long time today I sat listening to those crickets, under the shade of the old olive trees in the garden. We’ve been slow and sluggish today – fragile from devilishly strong wine, bottled like vegetable oil and sold for €2 a piece. We tried to drive up Mount Aenos in the morning, but it was hot and we kept on getting lost on roads that turned into gravel tracks. Up in the hills we passed a crumbling village – little left but walls falling in on themselves and one stark white church – its garden swept and walls freshly painted. I wonder how many people ever hear its bell, considering the only inhabitants we found were mountain goats and a skinny dog. In the end, we gave the day to the heat, and only when the sun began to set did we venture to our cove for a swim. Hair still damp and skin salty, we Read More

Day Four: Skala

Skala reminds me of holidays as a child, in Spain, where you pay €6 for a pair of sunbeds and stay there all day. We do just that. The sea is calm and flat, and the salt hums like crickets. Shoals of silver fish swim between my feet, so perfectly blended into the ripples of the water that I wonder whether they’re there at all. There is something very still about this place, almost lifeless. I wander round the souvenir shops and find all the pieces of beloved tat that lined my bedroom shelves as a kid. Gifts brought back from places exactly like this – a too small pair of slippers (pom poms and all),  a puffa fish hanging from a piece of string, a tiny ceramic pot decorated with pictures of the gods – I already know what the perfume balm smells like before I open it. Part of me wants to buy it all. Even the slice of Kefalonian Kataifi – a type of baklava – takes me back to a holiday to Turkey aged six, Read More