Unbelievable. Saturday and I am off. This is indeed a magical tale. Houdini must have had something to do with it. Not losing any time here though.
Armed with a great swimmer/fisherman, my best friend/accountant, and another best friend/daughter, in Xlendi, I need nothing more. The sea is indeed stupendous as Fantastic Mr Fox would say.
We spend the late morning and all afternoon swimming, eating ftira with tuna, drinking litres of fizzy water and drawing fantastic pictures followed by story-writing and ice-cream-eating.
The ‘Ftira’ with tuna goes hand in hand with trips to the sea. We Maltese have an automatic tuna-ftira-eating action when we go swimming. It’s a bit like eating popcorn when going to the cinema, or binging on ice-cream when lonely, or eating Bovril when sick (moi).
Ftira is a round-shaped, flat bread, with a texture similar to ciabatta. The best ftiras are produced in the mother island Malta. I recall a bakery in Balzan close to where Aunty Mary used to live. But, if I remember correctly, Tal-Furnar in Xaghara also make a very good ftira In some bakeries, the dough is brushed with oil and sprinkled with sesame seeds before being baked. My mouth waters at the thought as if I have not eaten one. Some have a hole in the centre and some no.
The perfect filling, in my perfect foodie world, is this ftira cut open, then a good helping of kunserva spread from one side to the other, covering every bit of the soft insides of the bread. Then, oil, lots of pepper, some chilli, raw onions very finely sliced, tomaotes, fresh mint, succulent tuna in oil, white beans, pickled vegetables (gardiniera), some lettuce for crunch, chopped sundried tomato, the odd black olive and good quality capers coming from Gozo! Spot on! And a Kinnie on the side!
So whilst dreaming of tuna and capers, bread and olives, my sensational daughter draws me a picture and writes me a story. Uncle Brian even claimed the picture ‘I want to see it framed, hanging on the wall above my dehumidifier in the living room of my 2-bedroom house off St Gorg’s Square’.
What a magical world indeed.