We’re moving house soon so I’ve been trying to use up all those bits and pieces in the pantry so we don’t have to shop before we relocate. We’re only moving a few kilometres up the road but the fewer boxes the better. Our pantry is fairly organised compared to most but even I have some skeletons in my cupboard, or rather strange jars in my pantry. I’ve found all sorts of interesting and forgotten things in there. Half a jar of brown sugar from before we embraced a low sugar life, some two-minute noodles of death that came in a gift hamper I’m not sure when…they may have moved house with us more than once…scary.
But there have also been some treasures, like the jar of semolina I had left from my last round of pasta making.
I have fond memories of semolina. When I moved to the big smoke (aka downtown Adelaide) in my early twenties with new baby in hand, hospitality job that saw me working unnatural hours and an often absentee and in hindsight, abusive husband (no, definitely not the current Mr Scraps) it was semolina that saved my sanity.
Or was it the tiny Greek lady two doors down, the one with the knotty fingers and hearty laugh who brought it to my door in all its glutinous protein glory one Saturday morning. We’d met only briefly a few days before when I caught her “stealing” the grapefruit from our tree that overhung the old pairing side fence. She had thought I “looked a bit worn out”, so here she was pot in hand to make my day easier.
Saturday semolina became a thing. Sometimes it was flavoured with nothing more than a little brown sugar, sometimes it swam in warm milk, others it was piled high with sliced banana or berries and their syrupy juice. And always there was thick, home-brewed black coffee. Sometimes we chatted and sometimes, if my baby was sleeping we just sat silently slurping in glutinous goodness, washing it down with thick black goo. When we did chat, we discussed nothing really, the weather, children, husbands and sometimes she went home with fruit from our trees, sometimes she brought me olives from hers. They were some of the best conversations I ever had. It didn’t matter what time I crawled home after dinner service on Friday, or how many times the baby woke after I did, I was always up bright and early Saturday morning waiting for the lady with the pot.
Eventually she showed me how to make my own as well as many other things. We eventually moved away, but I stayed in contact, if somewhat sporadically over the years. Sadly my Saturday Semolina lady passed away a few years ago at the ripe old age of 98. I’d like to think she’s out there somewhere, supervising ( and probably shaking her head, waving her hands and laughing) every time I make this…
This makes one really large serving or two small ones.
1/3 cup semolina
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp brown sugar (we substitute this for Rice Malt Syrup although if you use whole creamy milk you don’t really need any extra sweetener at all).
1/4 tsp salt
Put the semolina, milk, water, brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan.
Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until it is as thick as you want it. This usually takes about 3-5 minutes.
Serve in a bowl or mug with a little milk, and a sprinkling of cinnamon, sliced banana, nuts, a handful of berries or whatever takes your fancy.