What might lighten the misery of sitting alongside your terminally-ill mother? Emma and I shared recipes and tips to give us some respite. She was a newly discovered family member (brother’s wife’s sister’s daughter) working, by absolute chance, at the local hospital caring for Mummy. She took her lunch breaks at the bedside: encouraging my mother to eat, chat and laugh before the rest of our afternoon visits. AS the smallest of thank-yous and in memory of our cooking conversations, we presented Emma with the cast-iron casserole she craved – and which is now named “Christine” in honour of Mummy.
Nearly two years after those dreadful dying days, Emma and I have at last been able to cook together and share memories softened by time. She came bearing the special Isle of Wight garlic for a delicious spinach and chickpea curry – Martin the house painter certainly enjoyed it for lunch. We used the unusual asafoetida spice. (Try saying “ass-a-fetid-a” quickly!)
This is an easy vegetable curry that is a meal in itself or could be part of an Indian feast. Use a tall pan with a lid. Drop a single mustard seed in to the oil – if you hear it pop, the oil is hot enough. Put on the lid as soon as you add the rest of the seeds: they pop and jump like mad. The spinach mainly reduces to create a thick spicy sauce with the chickpeas providing a different texture.
Penny Melville-Brown OBE
Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk
Helping disabled people to work since 2000