I am writing to you all post-move (and from a happy, spacious place), but before I take you there in words I’d like to share a little something from the final week of chaos at the Shoebox. Dog has a bit of a leg-licking issue and despite all efforts with the cone of shame, he has not relented. On arriving home from work one night last week and before having a chance to shut the door behind me, I had a bag full of doggie meds thrust in my face and was told, almost proudly, ‘Dog is booked in to see a psychologist’. I looked at Dog and looked at The Italian, and wondered how things had come to this.
After my ‘what the hells’ and ‘whys’, I was told that ‘Dog is stressed by the move’ and, given he had taken to gnawing at his leg like it was an Olympic sport, had been ordered to begin taking anti-anxiety pills and Valium, as well as to wear a pheromone collar that would simulate ‘warm, fuzzy hugs’. Exact words from the wild-haired man standing in front of me with dog quietly ambling behind him. Apart from Dog’s obvious issues, he apparently also needed to see the psychologist in order to ascertain whether stronger meds were needed. ‘I will pay the ridiculous amount just for the pleasure of experiencing a dog psychology appointment,’ The Italian said giddily.
And so I stood there, one shoe barely off and trying to suppress my giggles, as The Italian and pheromonated Dog strode off from whence they came. A little later in the cucina, I imagined what a dog therapy session might look like as I weighed up what to do with that other half head of cauliflower and random fridge items to be used up before abandoning the Shoebox. Would Dog lie on a doggy bed or couch and whimper out his feelings? Would patting be allowed and doggie treats used to coerce responses for further analysis? Would the psychologist stare creepily into Dog’s eyes, searching for the contents of his soul?
The appointment is yet to take place, but I have a strong sense that it won’t be Dog being psychologised, not with the way I’ve seen The Italian lovingly share his pizza with Dog (which he doesn’t even share with me) or the way he wipes Dog’s face with a napkin after every evening meal. Poor Dog.
This lovely dish of comfort I concocted as a means of having warm, wintery vegetables in a baked situation, minus the greasiness that usually accompanies. And also because I used up many of the oddities in the fridge. Enjoy as a main with a herb and radish salad on the side, or as the filling for a bocadillo (an awesome Spanish roll, usually filled with tortilla).
1 medium head broccoli, cut into 3 cm florets
½ head cauliflower, cut into 3 cm florets
extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh or dried oregano
1 cup self-raising flour
½ teaspoon turmeric
100 g freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
50 g Gorgonzola, blue cheese or vintage cheddar
1/3 cup slivered almonds, roasted
melted butter, for greasing
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (optional)
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 23 cm cake tin with baking paper.
Place the cauliflower in a large pot of water and simmer over a medium heat. After 8 minutes, add the broccoli, then cook for another 7 or so minutes, or until the cauliflower and broccoli are tender. If one vegetable is cooked before the other, remove these pieces with a slotted spoon. Drain the vegetables in a colander and set aside.
Add about 2 tablespoons of oil to a small pan and cook the onion, oregano and rosemary over a low heat, for about 10 minutes or until the onion is soft.
In the meantime, whisk the eggs well in a large bowl and then add the flour, turmeric, *almonds and grated cheese. Add the slightly cooled onion and crumble in small chunks of Gorgonzola with your fingertips. Season the mixture well and stir to combine the ingredients. It should be nice and sloppy and creamy-looking.
You are just about ready to add the mixture to the tin, but before you do, brush the baking paper with melted butter and sprinkle half of the seeds around the sides of the tin. Pour in the mixture and shake to even out, then top with the remaining seeds. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until the bake is golden and set. Allow the rustic masterpiece to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy!
* This is purely up to you, but I like to roast the almonds for about 10 minutes on 150°C for a bit of extra flavour. You can do this while cooking the onions.