Fri 01/09/2023

Courgette flowers

Friday was momentous because for the first time since we moved here (about 4 years now) and after much longing we were finally able to acquire some COURGETTE FLOWERS. I was at the market for a bunch of things: hake, shrimp, fiordilatte, buffalo ricotta, veal shanks for ossobuco, some veggies. I popped into what I like to call "the hippies' shop" (not the kombucha one) for fresh sage and once at the counter I saw them: a beautiful bunch of courgette flowers in a vase. There was another bunch of inedible flowers in the same vase so I had to ask whether the courgette ones were for sale or just decorating the counter; I am not 100% sure they were aware they are edible. Anyway, my wife was working from home so I showed her immediately once back and we discussed what to do with such a precious commodity over a light lunch of fresh bread and tomatoes. After much deliberating we settled for stuffing and frying them like they do in Rome/Naples. The filling is fiordilatte, anchovy and basil, and the batter is a simple one of flour and water. I tried to make the batter rise with some yeast but it just bubbled - I think it was too thin to rise. The batter was right though, so next time I'm skipping the yeast entirely. I washed those flowers with a wet towel, extremely gently, like they were my babies made of glass. One of them was looking a little run down and when I washed its inside, out fell the tiniest slug I've ever seen. Barely bigger than a grain of rice. I threw away the flower but put the slug back on it so at least she can enjoy her retirement years in my bin with a source of food which is also a home.

It rained quite hard in the afternoon, an angry rain that flogged the asphalt and everything on it. I didn't mind, but my wife was out shopping and was caught in the middle of it. The forecast had said light rain after 5pm; instead we got heavy rain at 3pm. Weather forecasting is barely better than astrology; I notice I rely on it less and less. The river outside the window turned brown, like it sometimes does in such circumstances; it looked awful, more of a muddy ditch than the estuary it's supposed to be. The water level was also the highest I've seen in a while - it must have flooded a little in other parts of town.

6pm came around and we started our Friday evening, which is always my favourite part of the week. We are fully dedicated to enjoying each other's company then. We start with some wine or some cocktails; we have a few appetisers made with the fresh stuff I bought from the market in the morning; we talk, we catch up on some recipes on Youtube. At some point we smoke a joint together, watch something funny, make out a little, I smoke a cigarette, drink a beer, and eventually cook us a fancy dinner - fish, always. We end up eating around 11pm like spaniards. This time I made us caipiroskas with the bottom of a vodka bottle we had laying around. There is but little strong liquor left in the house now, which I find unnerving. The appetisers were the fried courgette flowers of course, which turned out nice and crispy, with the fiordilatte nicely melted. They looked like little pears because I left them a bit of stalk, which darkened after frying. We started rewatching That 70s Show, because it has been a while and tv shows season hasn't started yet.

For dinner I tried to make a fancy restaurant-looking dish. The main component was the hake fillet, grilled; I served it over a nest of grilled courgettes which was sitting on a bed of chickpea and potato cream. I also included a couple of shrimps wrapped in lardo at my wife's request. I'm a nutcase so I decorated the cream with dots of shrimp bisque (never throw away the shrimp heads!); it made it look a bit like a giant cookie, if I'm being honest. I wrecked an eyedropper in the process, in the sense that I don't think I'll ever be able to clean it of the bisque. The dish was good though. We fell asleep against each other in the bed, watching more That 70s Show. I should start washing my teeth right after dinner or I'm going to get cavities again.

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