The youth hostel served the most basic of mueslis, yogurt and bread for breakfast. My bowl was full of the oat grains and raisins by the time I reached the bread tray. Five slices of brown bread is what I took along with the small packets of Floralip butter. I knew no one in Geneva, and after a few days, I still had no idea what I was doing. The Australian dollar continued to plummet, and I concentrated on spending as little as I could. Included in the price of the hostel was a breakfast, my only guaranteed meal of the day.

Toward the end of the day, I would reach into my handbag for the napkin-wrapped five slices of bread. Plastic knives and forks were part of my improvised travel kit and handy for buttering bread on a bench facing Lake Geneva. (What was I doing sitting outside, at the windy lake, in the middle of winter?)

Every day I asked God to provide me with food. Most evenings all I had were the five slices of bread and butter. Every time nothing came, I sat with the bread and said, “Thank you Father for my daily bread and butter” because it was enough.

We ate fish once a day when I was growing up. It was the cheapest form of protein available in rural Philippines, and we ate the whole thing, fried from head to tail. I hated it (except the eyes, the rubbery texture was great). A few years ago fish became palatable to me and now it is an enjoyable treat.

Salmon was on sale at Coop, my local grocery story,  and we had all the ingredients for a nectarine salsa in the fridge. Salsas of any variety are a favourite of mine. The sweet, cold crunch of this one contrasts nicely with the warm, firm salmon.

Chopping the ingredients took longer than cooking this meal. Total time was probably 15 minutes. I can’t remember where I got the salsa recipe from, so I would add the ingredients slowly and taste as you go.

  • Salsa nectarines, red capsicum, red onion, corriander (or cilantro), lime juice, salt, possibly sugar and fish sauce (I can’t remember now!). Chop. Refrigerate.
  • Salmon this recipe calls for a corn salsa with the salmon. I didn’t have corn, and I was aching for a fruit salsa. This meal tasted great, but I would still cook the salmon slightly differently to go with the salsa, probably less herbs, and cook it simply in butter or olive oil with salt and pepper. Don’t over cook your salmon – let each side have two minutes in a warm pan for it to stay moist and a bit undone in the middle.
  • Cous cous one cup cous cous, one cup vegetable stock. Sit for five minutes.