3 March ’21, 13.20pm

I poured some tiny speckled green lentils from a packet into a heavy pot and covered it with cold water, 3-4 inches above the lentils. I turned the heat on high. I peeled two cloves of garlic and dropped them into the water, followed by two tiny dried red chillies from a jar bought in Rome when I was visiting a friend who first made me the soup that begins like this one. After a moment’s thought, I added a bay leaf too. While it came to the boil, I peeled a large potato and cut it into cubes. An unexpected deviation arose when I took 5 tomatoes from the freezer (where I left them last September) and dropped them in to the water.

Another deviation emerged when I considered the relentless day of teaching and meetings that S was doing: I put a garlic clove two anchovies and some salt in a pestle and mortar and pounded them. I added some chopped parsley and pounded that too. Then I poured in some olive oil and mixed it until it was bright pond green. I added half a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a squeeze of lemon and poured it into a small glass bowl and put that on the table. Very vital, very potent.

When the lentils were almost tender, I added the cubes of potato and two large pinches of flakey salt to the lentils. After c. 8-10 minutes of boiling the potato cubes were cooked. I set the pot on the table with two bowls and the end of a parmesan. I ladled soup into each bowl and we each added a spoon of the green sauce and grated a little parmesan.

After eating soup I put cold rice pudding and roasted plums left from Monday in two small glass bowls with a small amount of cream. I took one upstairs to S, who was now in a zoom meeting.


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