I love Dr Phil.
There, I said it.
I don't necessarily agree with everything he says (a lot of what he says, actually), but every now and then he comes out with a corker of a one-liner. My most recent favourite is: 'You can't cure life; you can only manage it.'
My grandmother died on Wednesday, at the age of 91.
It was very peaceful — my mother was with her, holding her hand when she drew her last breath. I am going to miss her terribly.
Her name was Dora Olive Rosalind Alexandra Cullen (you’ll notice her first four names form an acronym for ‘Dora’, but her father — apparently in a fit of patriotism — actually named her after the Defence of the Realm Act of 1914). My brother and I called her Dan. As kids, we tried to pronounce ‘Gran’, but only managed ‘Dan’, and the name stuck. We called my grandfather Hiya — this was my brother’s doing, as my grandfather had a habit of greeting him with a loud ‘Hi ya!?’
Odd but true.
Hiya died just over a year ago, on 7 June 2009. I was upset at the time, but I didn't realise that I hadn’t really mourned his passing until Dan died. They were a package, you see — one just didn’t make sense without the other. And while Dan was alive, it felt like Hiya was, in a way, too.
To know them was to know a great romance. After 64 years of marriage, they were still like teenagers — they really had the hots for each other, right up to the end.
And they were wonderful grandparents: My early memories include Hiya letting me have sips of his beer, taking me on birding trips, telling me the story of the London Werewolf as many times as I’d hear it; Dan dispensing chocolate biscuits, letting me play dress-up with her not-inconsiderable stash of jewellery, and telling me about her life during the War; plus countless hugs, smiles, laughs and love.
This is just off the top of my head. There is more — much more, of course — but this is a food blog, and I don’t want to get carried away (‘Too late!’ they cried).
My gran was a competent cook, but her repertoire was largely from the post-War, meat-and-three-veg era. A pescetarian, she loved fish but would often cook meat for Hiya, though she most enjoyed nibbling on a chunk of good cheese or dark chocolate with a glass (or two) of wine.
Cauliflower with yoghurt
1 medium sized cauliflower
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons prepared French mustard
½ cup plain yoghurt
6 slices cooked and diced streaky bacon
1. Break the cauliflower into flowerettes and cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and put into a warm ovenproof dish.
2. Makes a sauce by melting the butter, stirring in the flour to form a dry roux, and finally adding the milk.
3. When thick, remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolk, mustard and yoghurt.
4. Add the chopped bacon. Pour over the cauliflower, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and paprika, and brown under the grill.