Today, for posterity, a recipe from the aunt. But let alone 10 step-by-step photos, not even one photo, so ok, skip this unless you want to know how to make fish with curry and a tamarind sauce:
about four tamarind pods (or tamarind concentrate) / 1 tsp sugar / 1 tsp salt / dash of sherry (or port) to taste / sprinkling of corn flour / 5 fillets white fleshed fish / curry powder / olive oil
De-husk tamarind pods if using and soak in hot water to cover. Remove all seeds.
Blend or pulverise tamarind and soaking water, sugar, salt, sherry and corn flour to make a sauce.
Rub fish on both sides with curry powder.
Heat olive oil in a wide based frying pan, fry onion until soft. Add fish and fry until the outside is lightly browned. Pour over tamarind sauce and simmer until the sauce thickens and the fish is cooked through.
Serve with boiled rice. The flavour is sweet and sour.
A morning to myself today. I rehearsed the route to the shopping mall once the maid had let me out (I told the aunt that the maid speaks a tiny bit of English, and the aunt was surprised as she said she can barely speak Spanish, she comes from a part of Oaxaca where people speak a local dialect).
Luckily I can buy gifts from my homeland in Mexico City, actually in Walmart. However, the range of Australian wine in Walmart is not good. On the way back I said hola to an ‘old friend’ Matteo. The aunt loves dogs but her husband is allergic, so she buys doggy treats for all the neighbourhood dogs. Matteo is a big, sad dog. I finished reading Tess of the d’Urbervilles and it made me feel sick. I only realised afterwards that it was an English learner’s version ‘retold’. I wonder if the original version is so abject, or more beautiful.
It’s comforting to realise that other people have their own lives, and at the point where this is a surprise, the surprise is needed. I saw this twice today for a moment (but I realise they weren’t moments of joy for the other people). It makes me think of a quote I remember inexactly from I don’t know who, something like: we are two solitudes come closer.
In an article called Personal Growth – Inner Communion Jamuna Rangachari quotes a May Sarton: ‘loneliness is the poverty of self, solitude is the richness of self’. Rangachari goes on to say ‘Solitude is the joyful experience of one’s own self. It is the ability to spend time with our self in a state of completion and plenitude… We look for love, for appreciation, for acknowledgment and understanding…physical companionship and affection, and for security…guidance and support, for someone to show us the way…
It is only when something shifts and we start locating the source of these things within us that the journey starts…And with each turn of the screw, our friendship with ourselves deepens and we feel replete within ourselves, whole, perfect and complete.‘ Is solitude the deepest site of happiness? The way we can live in our own skin and care about other people simply for being who they are, without requiring anything more?
Postscript: I find the quote is from Rilke, Love consists of this: two solitudes that meet, protect and greet each other.