Sunday. With her relaxed personality and character, she can disarm you and uncover you. Your weaknesses and insecurities fall away and, for one day, you take refuge in her presence. The last day of the week plays out unlike the rest, choosing a different path, less strained and complicated. Now, after a lifetime resenting all she had to offer, I succumb to her charm. Each week. Every time.
Things have changed. Forever different. It took me that long to give in.
As a young boy growing up I looked at the less glamorous of the weekend days as the one that stood between me and a new school week. And the moment we finished dinner it was just a matter of time. When. I could hear my internal clock striking one second hand after another, ticking away and getting louder and louder. The routine continued until my parents ushered me upstairs, effectively closing the chapter on the weekend. It was there that I lay awake, refusing to shut my eyes on freedom.
These days things are different. The responsibilities that grow along with you change the way you view the week. Live the week. The days of the week unfold like dominoes, gaining momentum as the days fall off. It`s during the weekend that you regain your sanity and breathe. Long, deep breaths.
If Saturday is hurried, Sunday is deliberate. Like today. Everything about it is deliberate and easy. It started that way when the cold morning light pushed through our screen and hit our eyes. Nature`s wake up call. The pace was easy, free and stretched. The recent routine of life nearly jarred me from the bed. But this Sunday held nothing in store for us. Except what we had in store for it. So there was a moment to linger beneath the comfort of home before I snuck away.
The first thing I`ll do is run a pot of coffee. My wife sends me off each week with a fresh cup that she leaves warm in my hands, so on Sunday I take control. As my eyes fight for familiarity, I can hear the coffee fast at work. I wake her up with a cup and a reminder of all that we have on the calendar. Nothing.
We spent the morning editing pictures and catching up on past projects. I took a gap in the morning as my chance to work my way into the kitchen and start a pot of this soup. A reason to break up the day and come back together. And after a few hours spent staring at a screen, it was a welcome relief.
The two of us talked over the weekend. The shoot from the day before and some new friends we met during the process. We played out the rest of the day in our heads, noting all the things we needed to cross off. But we`ll do it at our pace. One small bit at a time. We take after Sunday. Slow and deliberate and sure.
Sunday has become our saving grace. Our chance to catch up and slow down. An opportunity to share a bowl of soup, something delicious but easy, and escape the hectic pace of life and the impending winter frost. The chance to do it as we want. When we want to do it.
Sunday is my new favourite day. It`s everything it never used to be. To me. She disarms me and relaxes me and lets me fall into her. Over and over again. And when we finish dinner the fear no longer visits. I suffocate it with the love from my family as we spend the last of the day together. Scraping out every last bit we can. Each week. Every time.
From my kitchen to yours,
Hot & Sour Shrimp Noodle Soup
- 1 tbsp. peanut oil
- small piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 900 ml vegetable stock
- 200 grams large rice noodles
- 1 tbsp. oyster sauce
- 1 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- pinch of sugar
- 1 thick red hot chilli pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 10 tiger shrimp, tails on
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, juiced
- small handful of cilantro leaves
- Add the oil to a large saucepan and add in the ginger over high heat. Fry for a few seconds and then pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the stock heats up, cook the rice noodles according to direction. For large noodles, boil for 6 minutes and then drain. Keep warm.
- Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, hot chilli and garlic to the stock and reduce heat, simmering for 5 minutes. Add in the shrimp and continue simmering for a further 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked.
- Add the lime juice, sugar and green onions and cilantro to the saucepan. Season to taste.
- Run the noodles under hot water to prevent sticking and divide among two bowls. Remove the shrimp and set aside. Pour the stock over top and arrange the shrimp on top. Add a bit of fresh cilantro on top to garnish.