Brazil nuts, blue jeans and a broken heart. And some pesto.

The first man to break my heart isn’t the one you think. His name was Peter. The first time we met, he gave me a box of chocolates.
I was embedded in my red cotton beanbag, cemented to the patterned eighties carpet, watching something on the TV, Top of the Pops maybe, which was housed inside my mum’s teak television cabinet, one of the first things she had had made when she and my dad divorced. The tobacco coloured curtains were drawn, the night beyond cold and black. The fire was on, blasting out artificial purple heat.
As soon as he walked through the lounge door, he grinned, all teeth on show, spectacled eyes wide and handed me some Just Brazils. A gift. On a Thursday evening. This guy was cool.
As I took the ceollphane wrapped box, I noticed the two gold rings on his pinkie, different to my dad’s wide banded signet ring. His colourful shirt sleeves were folded back over his jacket. He had a style all of his own. He probably commented how he liked the song that was playing at the time, which made him even cooler.
I unwrapped the box. Oval shaped chocolates were housed in gold dimples. I took one out, popped it in my mouth, held it there. The chocolate slowly melted. I savoured the sweet and silky mouthfeel. Then crunched the creamy nut inside. Heaven.
I don’t have many food memories connected with Peter. But this one is etched in my brain. I think he cooked spaghetti bolognese, using red sauce from a jar. I remember he gave me my first pair of jeans. Blue denim. Pepe London. I was the most fashionable girl around. And he loved musicals. I loved them too. Phantom was my favourite. He gave me a pop-up Phantom of the Opera book that played songs from the show. He did summer school projects with me. My dad was always too busy. I felt seen and heard by him. I felt like a princess.
And then he left. He didn’t just leave my mum. He left me. How could he. I wrote him a letter. I made sure my tears smudged the ink. Don’t go. Please don’t break my heart. Stay. Keep noticing me and my interests. But he took his belongings. And went. I never cried when my dad told me that he and my mum were separating. I was too young to understand what it meant and the grown up seven year old in me said, that’s ok dad, if you’re not getting on it’s for the best. But I understood very well a few years later when Peter moved out what it meant. The loss of a way of life. The feeling of rejection.
My favourite pair of jeans broke last week. An unsalvageable rip where the cloth has grown paper thin with years of wear. Immediately I thought of that box of chocolates I was given as a little girl. Of Brazil nuts. Of Peter. The day he made me a princess. And the day he stole my crown. I ordered a new pair of jeans. A different brand. And then I made some pesto. With brazil nuts. To let that little girl know that she is loved. However silly that may sound.

Brazil nut pesto

Silky, vibrant and alive. With in season limes, creamy brazil nuts and Pecorino. Give it a try.

A cup of Brazil nuts
A bunch of parsley
A bunch of tarragon
1-2 cloves garlic
2 limes, juice and zest
A cup of Pecorino, grated
100-200ml extra virgin olive oil

Whizz together all the ingredients in a food processor. Dollop over hot green beans, roasted carrots, chargrilled prawns, barbecued chicken or steaming pasta. Enjoy
Enjoy this peach and burrata salad recipe? Then you might like this garlic prawn recipe