Do you sometimes cook things that have very specific, maybe special memories attached to? You know, when the thought of the dish fills you with not just the warm and fuzzy, like a Christmas Turkey reviving all the warmth of happy family dinners (or not), when life was simpler (or not), …but instead when the food makes you think of a specific time and place in your life…hopefully a very happy one.
Well I made a combination of such foods today. Our lunch was chicken and sweet corn soup and battered and fried apples.
Chicken and sweet corn soup, this is something I first tasted in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the old colonial health resort of Nainital as a child many moons ago. It was very cold one day when we arrived back to our hotel from a long walk along the beautiful lake flanked by lush forested hills. The kitchen was not ready to serve dinner, but they did offer to make us a chicken and sweet corn soup. It was delicious and just what we needed! Warm, thick and very filling. The altitude, fresh air and the thick soup ensured we all had an early night and a very restful sleep.
Today, as I smelt the scent of the soup cooking the images of the short break we had in Nainital came flashing back: the lake, fantastic horse riding along the shores, me galloping with the fresh mountain air in my face, my mum looking on worried, dad just smiling with pride, my sis giving up on the horse within 10 meters; then us all sitting in the hotel playing cards and reading books by a crackling fire…happy family memories!
Battered and fried apples (“Alma pongyolában”, which literally translated means apple in housecoat) – these bring back the memory of a food technology class in 5th grade. What makes this dish extra special is that it is inseparably linked to one of my favourite teachers of my whole schooling, Mrs Hozeschnic. She was very special. She was very strict, gave her heart and soul to her pupils and lost it at times with those who abused her trust. She treated us like young adults, giving us choices and responsibilities (something that was not at all common practice in those days, almost 30 years ago). It was in one of her classes that we made these. We had so much fun making them, chatting with Mrs Hozeschnic and what a feast we had on them afterwards! We even had music playing in the class room as we cleared up.
Both simple dishes , yet so much accompaniment…for me at least.
I hope my children will have such special dishes, which fill them with warm happy memories too! These are real comfort foods, but not in the negative sense that we’ve come to understand the meaning of comfort foods.
Do you have any dishes that bring back lovely memories?
Would you like to share the memory and the dish? Please share in a post, add your link below… and don’t forget to grab the linky code to add to your post too!
…Just in case you wanted to try these simple dishes out:
Chicken and sweet corn soup
4 pieces of chicken thighs
1 kg of frozen sweet corn
stock cubes to taste
I put it all into a 5 litre pressure cooker, bring to boil, then turn heat to a low simmer for 20 mins. After turning the heat off, I let the cooker cool and when there is no more steam left, take the lid off. I fish out the chicken, debone & chuck them back in. Then I blend it down with a handy little hand blender. (If it’s not thick enough for your liking, you can always add a bit of cornflour and bring back to boil to thicken it up further.)
Served with fresh warm bread or croutons… delicious!
Battered and fried apples
5 large apples peeled, cored and cut into 1cm slices, sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice to stop them browning and cinnamon (more liberally) for added flavour.
For the batter:
150 g flour
200ml warm milk with a ½ teaspoon of dried yeast dissolved in it.
Pinch of salt
Heaped teaspoon of sugar
Heat oil in a frying pan (enough to just cover the slices). When oil is hot enough, dip the apples in the batter, let excess batter run off & place them in the frying pan. (careful not to splash… as I did!) Turn them occasionally to get a lovely golden brown coat. Best done on a medium heat to give apples a chance to soften inside the batter.
Delicious when served with honey and Greek yoghurt. (The full fat version is best.)