Dearest Reader, did you know that I spent the first six years of my life upside down?
Every day when my father would come home from work he would find me, upside down, my head buried in the soft cushion of the couch. Every night, when we would gather in the lounge room to watch television while my father popped sunflower seeds in his mouth from a large jar and my mother knitted rhythmically click clack, click clack and my sister sat quietly, there I would be, upside down.
"Her brain will dislodge" my parents said to each other.
"Just make sure her school marks don't go down" they said eyeing me.
Then, after six years, a girl at school told me that I would break my neck if I spent so much time upside down. It seemed logical enough-a spindly neck surely couldn't hold up a body and frightened, I decided that being right side up was probably the sensible thing to do.
What's my point? Well six years is a long time to do anything. And six years is the amount of time it took me to perfect this tuna dip recipe. Why six years on a tuna dip? I should explain that it wasn't six consistent years trying to make this dip. A friend of mine Teena used to bring a tuna dip to our place for dinner parties. I loved it so much and assumed that she made it so every time when she'd ask what she could bring I'd mention the tuna dip. Then one day she brought it in the container that it came in and I realised that a) she didn't make it and b) that it was really expensive because she bought it at a Woollahra deli. So feeling guilty about having asked for it I didn't ask her to bring it again and sought to make my own.
I tried every possible combination trying to get the right balance of flavour and texture. Until one day I tried something and it all came together perfectly-it was the addition of spring onion and tomato sauce which gave it a unique flavour. I assumed just adding more mayonnaise and pickles (never a bad plan really) would be the key but it turns out what I was seeking was tomato sauce or ketchup and the tanginess of the green spring onion. The tuna dip has a creamy, spreadable texture thanks to the food processor and makes a terrific sandwich filling as well as a potted tuna dip for Springtime picnics-plus one tin of it makes over 2 cups worth and I make large lots of it and keep it in the fridge for low carb snacking.
And the best part of all (well for those of us that are having to unveil pale, untoned, winter-fattened arms for the onset of summer) is that you can use tuna in springwater and it tastes pretty good although my favourite is always the tuna in oil. I usually won't eat tuna in springwater or brine because it tastes like chunk style _cardboard _but with these ingredients you really cannot tell much of a difference. The day I figured it out was a happy day and I danced a little dance in my kitchen. And for good measure I spent 5 minutes upside down before the phone rang and I had to return back to the real world.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever spent a long time perfecting or developing a recipe?
My Favourite Tuna Dip
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
4 whole pickled cucumbers (polski ogorki)
1 green spring onion (about 20-30cms in length (I don't mean to get precise and this isn't a strict guide)
425g/16 oz. tin of tuna in springwater or oil, drained well
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons tomato sauce/ketchup
3 tablespoons pickling solution (from the jar of pickles)
1-2 tablespoons whole egg mayonnaise
Step 1 - Place the gherkins and the spring onions in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well together until it becomes a smooth dip consistency.