Sardines with Chilli and Lime Recipe

I really admire you.

You who manage to fit all the little pieces of this puzzle that we call life in slots of 24 hours, you deserve my respect.

You who work a full time job, commutes, and still try to keep your social life in balance by finding the energies to say yes to colleagues and friends every now and then – and truly enjoy their company. Who have a family – a partner and even one, two, three kids; who manage to see them every day for a decent amount of hours, spending quality time with them and fulfilling their (and your) needs. Who also find the time and energies to go grocery shopping for good food, to the butcher and independent roaster, to the good bakery and the trusted fishmonger, to the farmers’ market – then go home and prepare a lovely meal, ready to be served at the right time. You are awesome.

You who among all of this, find spare time to take care of yourself, do some physical exercise, some yoga, or even just trim your nails or do your hair. Who still have space in your life for some very needed “me time”. Who have hobbies, and passions, and time to cultivate them, build them, get better at them; who have  mental capacities and focus to dedicate to learning something new, improving your skills, or simply, to do what you love and do it better every day. Who have the power to change your life, if you only wanted to. You are a wonder.

I want to hang out with you. I want you to show me the way. I want you to teach me to measure my energies, to be productive, to use me little pile of free time wisely. To be efficient and keep up with what I love. To meet deadlines and set goals. I want you to teach me how to avoid this feeling of exhaustion, followed by laziness. Show me the way.

I see you every day, you know. On the tube, on the way home, looking like you cope – standing, reading a book, holding on to the pole with one hand, keeping a gym bag in between your legs, a purse on your shoulder, a bag full of groceries somewhere next to you, pushing it back into place with one foot every now and then so that it doesn’t spill its content on the whole carriage floor. You seem tired but I see contentment in your  eyes as they rush along the lines of your book. Then I see myself, with a book on my knees, unopened, blank eyes staring at the empty space, listening to lyrics I am not paying attention to. Mind overwhelmed with information, stimuli, ideas, thoughts, and frustration. Blaming myself for not being able to be like you – efficient, calm – for not utilising my time at most and at best, for lacking that energy, that rationality.

I want to be you. I want your answers. I want to be you to be able to accomplish all that I want in my life. Comparison is the thief of joy, they say – and I feel it. Is it all appearance, fake, a surface built to make us feel sorry for ourselves, for envying other people, for wanting their lives? The era of continuous information, the life in the metropolis has made the wound deeper, and yet I am both the victim and the executioner. I can’t help but look. I am like Orpheus. Everything around me is so full of life that I live with the constant feeling of missing out. I can’t catch up and I can’t cope. It is truly tiring.

You see, I want to know how you do it because I believe I can make it, too – go to bed feeling I have achieved something. My desires are modest, my goals are humble. Are you happy? I am. I just can never stop dreaming for change and for higher, better things.

This dish has been inspired by a lunch I had on one of those days when I couldn’t be bothered to make lunch for myself. It was a revelation, and I have been making it at home a lot lately. The humble canned sardine fillet meets the freshness of lime, celery and parsley and mingles with the hot spike of chilli. Beautiful  as part of a ‘tapas’ style meal, served with thinly sliced, toasted dark break, or with seedy crackers. 

2 cans sardine fillets in oil, drained

  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 baby round bell peppers (sweet) or
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

In a small bowl, season the sardine fillets with the lime juice. Stir in the chilli, lime zest, chopped celery and bell peppers. Season with salt and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley, toss again. Serve.

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