Monday, 7 May 2012

I am happy that you are.

I know this sounds really really bad.
Mum, please just look away if you are reading this first sentence as I am about to explore our inseparable love-hate relationship. 
But my dear readers, I will be honest with you.

In the past, if my phone displays 'mum_mob', I used to hesitate. 
I hesitated big time because, a) she tends to ring me when it is not really appropriate time for me, b) from my experience, I know almost every time she probably won't be in a good mood when she calls me, and c) sometimes it is a real struggle for me to comprehend what it is exactly upsetting my mother. 
For instance, one Saturday evening, I'd just got in from work and just as I sat down, even before I got changed, my mum's on the phone. Bear in mind and please understand, it had been a long old hard day. My journey home was awful due to the chaotic traffic caused by  rugby match. I was tired, hungry, hot and bothered quite frankly.
One thing and the only thing that I did not wish to do, and could not put up with on that particular evening, was to have my mum on the other side of the line and listening to yet, another, repetitive, stories of her non apparent issues. Yes, I am sorry, but I said it.

My mother has this habit of repeating her opinions. 
It is chronic as far as I am concerned. If it happens to be a negative one, she goes on for even longer. She mostly only ever rings me when things aren't quite brilliant. 
It seems as though, she somehow finds comfort from ventilating the stuff out to this poor soul. 
But I find that really hard so I tend to shut it out. It is not exactly easy to cope with the fact that I cannot physically help her due to the long distance. With just over five and a half thousand miles between us, to be precise, and although my head will tell me there is nothing I could do about it, I'll indeed still feel guilty. 

But lately, she seems a bit different. In a good way, of course.
Like the other Wednesday for example, I was in the middle of doing something when my phone went. I realised it has been a long time since I spoke to her last and thought to myself I'd better answer.
'' I hear you've been busy talking to your little sister. Did you not call me because you don't want to speak to me these days?''
I laughed. 
I could hear her giggling while trying hard to put on a serious voice to have me on. I remember this mum, whose sense of humour was always celebrated by her children and who used to be the master of seeing the funny side of every story.
For the first time in a very long while, I felt warm inside. I found the comfort in her. I felt strong that I had my mum back. 

Like her, I could see the funny side of this, us.

Eggy Bread with Balsamic Strawberries

for the bread
few slices of bread
couple of eggs, lightly beaten
drop of milk
pinch of salt
some ground cinnamon
some sugar
some butter and little olive oil

for the strawberries
150g sweet English strawberries, halved or quartered
2tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp vanilla sugar
some freshly cracked black pepper
few mint leaves, finely sliced

for the garnish
dollop of natural yogurt
toasted pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

I love eggy bread. When I was young, but old enough to be in the kitchen, I used to make this a lot for my sister and brother. My original version of first ever eggy bread is nowhere near as fancy as this, but the big bowl of crunchy brown sugar always made it delicious.
This version has lots of elements that will be appreciated by more educated palate, like balsamic marinaded strawberries with cracked black pepper. It is sweet, sticky and spicy. This luxurious strawberries keep the whole thing very fresh; alive.

First, you need to marinade strawberries as this will give strawberries some time to take up on those flavours that you're about to add.
It is very simple to do this. Get a large bowl, put strawberries, balsamic vinegar, sugar and black pepper. Mix them well, cover it up and leave them in the fridge as long as you can. Anything between 20mins to overnight will be fine. When you're ready to serve stir in the mint to re-introduce the freshness.

Make the egg mixture by whisking the eggs with little milk to loosen it up. Season it with pinch of salt and dunk the bread into the mixture. When they soaked up the mixture, pan fry them with little butter until golden brown and sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon.
I fry mine with little drizzle of olive oil as well as butter to stop the butter burning.

Spoon the strawberries onto your eggy bread with a good dollop of natural yogurt, and don't forget to sprinkle some chopped pistachio nuts for the extra crunch.
Hope you enjoy.

She says, 'Now I lost everything, I can see what I couldn't see back then. And you're right. I was too busy looking for what was not there, almost forgot to appreciate what I had all along... I'm sorry if I have been a depressing company at times but I am happy now, content where I am and who I am.'

Being content where we are, I am very happy for you, mum.


  1. beautiful words! i think many of us experience the same with our mums...

  2. I discovered your blog today and already fell in love with your photos, and words.

    This story touched me deeply. It reminded me of my grandmother, how her actions from the past were so painful to bear. But time healed, and the last line of this post was exactly what she said to me recently :)

  3. A very honest and ultimately heartwarming post. I think all of us feel this way about family sometimes, but in the end, there is a lot to appreciate. Love the look of your eggy bread too, gorgeous pictures.

  4. Hello mitzisfoodoo, Anh and leaf (the indolent cook),
    Thanks for your kind words. I think it is such an empowering thing to be able to share the stories of our lives and feel connected.

    S x

  5. Aren't the most of us (daughters!) struggeling sometimes with their mums? I think that quite normal and just real life. Thank you for that story! Susanne

  6. As a fellow expat, I completely understand!

    The difference is, my mum never calls me because it is too expensive for her. So its always left to me and I'm really rubbish at doing so. After a couple of quiet weeks I feel bad and want to call her but also don’t because I know I will be told off for taking so long. So further delays etc etc.. This makes me feel like a really bad daughter and I would appreciate if it wasn't just me making those phone calls.. But I glass is always greener on the other side, hey?

    Unrelated to this, I'm loving the sheves in the background. I take it - you've finished your renovation? House tour, please!! Every single sneak look truly AMAZING. Dead jealous!! :)

  7. Did I just type GLASS?! You know what I meant :)