What a week this has been- the kind where you don't have even a second to sit and stare, the kind where the list of chores seem never ending, the kind where you're moving a million miles a minute, the kind where you just have to keep going.
The week started off with a celebratory surgery to remove the port in my chest. It was a moment of closure for me to finally remove this small coin that had become a crucial part of me- literlly, as I could feel the surgeon unleashing his strength to pull it out. Maryam wasn't too pleased to see Mummy with a bandage. The first time she saw it, she burst into tears. She keeps tugging my shirt down to have a look every now and then and will say 'sorry Mummy' every time she sees it.
Then came the planning for Maryam's second birthday. She can proudly sing the Happy Birthday song and was giddy with excitement at the prospect of having her own party. And cake of course. In between baking a lemon and blueberry cake, pancakes, pizzas, pastries and chocolate puddings, I don't think I stepped out of the kitchen for two whole days. But loved every minute of it. She looked in awe when she was cutting into the cake and just that single moment made it all worthwhile.
But all that seemed insignificant when I turned on the news and saw the state of Japan being washed away by the tsunami. I was in Malaysia when the last tsunami hit and saw first hand the devastation it caused. I can only imagine what the residents are going through and pray for the people to be strong and pick up the pieces. They have done so in the past, they can surely do it again. It is trully heartbraking and I urge every one of you to help in any way you can. I have provided a link here where you can do your part.
But no matter how crazy and busy life can get, there are two things I never compromise on- food and family. It's days like these that I crave food that is wholesome, filling, delicious and.....just plain comfortable. The kind that you can eat sprawled on your sofa, your feet covered with a warm fuzzy blanket. Food that nourishes you both physically and mentally, food that nourishes memories.....nourishes the soul.
Sylvie from Gourmande In The Kitchen wrote a beautiful post about comfort food and made me ponder about what my comfort food is. For me, it's a food that makes me feel relaxed and happy. A food that jogs memories, fond memories, memories of a happy childhood. Food that gives a feeling of warmth and satisfaction. Sylvie best describes it as a 'gastronomical bandage' and that is exactly what this dish does for me.
I put this pasta together in a matter of minutes, just adding whatever spices and herbs I had in the pantry. It is now a staple dish and we have it at least once a week. I loved watching Maryam carefully wade her little fingers through her pasta bowl to find the longest spaghetti. She then proceeded to suck it into her mouth in one long breath. 'Again?' She squealed and repeated until the whole bowl was finished. Definitely a food that makes memories.
What is your comfort food?
What is your comfort food?
Spaghetti in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
400 gms spaghetti or pasta of choice
5 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 large ripe tomatoes, grated
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried herbs
1 tsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley and parmesan to garnish
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. You can add salt and 1 tbs olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking. Add the spaghetti and boil till al dente. Drain and save the water for use with the sauce.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and add chopped onions. Fry till it just begins to change color. Add garlic and fry for a further minute. Add all the rest of the ingredients and season with salt and pepper. You can add the leftover pasta water at this stage to achieve the consistency you want for the sauce. Simmer the sauce on medium heat half covered for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and add your spaghetti. Toss to combine. Garnish with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese.