Firstly, apologies for my absence. I have been feeling heartbroken. My very dear friend of many, many years died a week or so ago and I am feeling the loss of her keenly. I have been feeling quiet and blue thinking of her and missing her presence. I’ve been remembering how she lived her life and how incredibly brave she was. It was complicated, colourful, loving, passionate, opinionated and messy at times. It was motherhood, friendship, moving all over the country, big heartfelt hugs, bright lipstick. It was real, brave and a little bit crazy at times. In other words, a memorable, meaningful life which may have only lasted 50 years but she sure packed a lot in. Even in the last few weeks when the prognosis was dire she was still sitting at my kitchen bench cracking jokes and telling me she was liking how good she was getting at saying f**k whenever she felt it all overwhelming her. We drank tea and chatted with our kids like old times and my heart was feeling thankful and broken all at the same time.
Some of my most treasured memories of Cate are about kids and food. Our children were little ones together and there were LOTS of days of hanging out with our tribe of kids, making play dough and changing nappies. We made sandwiches and pancakes for the hungry hoard we had created. She transformed what could have been quite an isolating time (I was a young Mum and none of my other friends had babies yet) into something entirely different. With Cate I found my way. Tie dyeing onesies and cloth nappies, going apple picking with a bunch of preschoolers, sewing up a storm and generally feeling reassured that this simple, loving, maternal life I had so desperately yearned for was something she understood too.
One of my strongest memories is sitting on Cate’s front step with a big mug of tea, no doubt some strange brew that she had recently taken a shine to – I remember a liquorice tea stage that lasted way too long for me – and a bowl of her burghul salad. For Mums running around after six kids under six the idea that we could actually carve out a few minutes to sit in the sun with something other than toast for lunch felt like an afternoon at a day spa. For a woman who was never blessed with great wealth she sure lived a rich life and I feel incredibly lucky that she shared some of it with me.
In honour of my darling friend and all she gave to me I share with you Cate’s perfect lunch time salad. May you all have a friend like her and hold them dear…..
1 cup bulgur ( cracked wheat )
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1 red capsicum diced
1 small cucumber, diced
1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley ( dill and basil is also good, or a mixture of all three )
1 can lentils or chickpeas, drained and well rinsed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place the burghul in a bowl and pour over 1 1/4 C boiling water. Add a teaspoon of salt and cover with cling wrap. Leave for 30 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
While the burghul is soaking cut up all the other veggies and herbs and mix together your dressing ingredients. We liked to soak the red onion in cold water for about 10-15 minutes to lessen the rawness of the onion.
Mix together all ingredients and stir through dressing adding salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with a nice chunk of good bread if you have it and of course, a cup of hippy tea.
Feel free to change the vege and herb ingredients according to what you have in the fridge. Cate’s version was always a surprise and usually involved whatever herbs she had growing in a pot on her back steps. It was always yummy but that may have been the love in it.