Please forgive me if my recollections about the last couple of months are in anything other than chronological order: this is simply the way my brain works. Everything as I remember it or not at all.
And, without wanting to drive the point home, this INTOLERABLE heat seems to lightly sauté my brain, in a black butter sauce probably. I hate the cold, but more than that, I hate the heat!! It is too hot to work, too hot to cook. How I envy people who live near snow and frost, yet I also despise snow and frost because it means I get cold hands. It does, however, mean hot stews, spicy chillis, rich cakes, eating as much as possible to retain and to further enhance that important belt of fat that stops us from turning blue. It’s all scientific you know.
Well, as you will see below, I have posted a couple of photos, one of my Lemon Meringue Tarts and one of my husband’s homemade bread. His is infinitely more artistically shot than mine. I am hopeless with a digital camera. The bread was delicious though. I have hired him as my new food photographer although it may mean dragging him away from Futurama or the Simpsons at times. I am fairly certain that I have weaned him off Big Brother and as for Eastenders, he went cold turkey on that when we had satellite TV hooked up. It was for the best really. There are only so many implausible plotlines and ridiculously far-fetched scenarios that the human brain can comprehend without short-circuiting the synapses. I had dreadful visions of him watching one second too much of Albert Square and collapsing in a foaming heap on the floor muttering “the launderette....queen many pretty colours.....”
Anyway, enough with the absurd meanderings. As you may have read below, we have another new dog, a teeny tiny Jack Russell called Max. He is adorable and as close to physical perfection as you can imagine. I missed Benji terribly and Max is a good companion who snuggles up to you at night whilst keeping one beady, bright eye open guarding the house. Coney and Max have a certain stoic camaraderie. They love to run around the field together but indoors there are boundaries that must never be crossed. These boundaries run somewhere along the lines of Coney indicating to Max that “what’s yours is mine but what’s mine stays right where it is mister so take your stinking paws and perfect teeth away from it.” It could be that Coney is jealous of Max’s perfect gnashers. Who knows? Whatever the reason, we are currently babying her because she cut her leg open very badly and had to have 20 stitches. She remained very brave though, and she is just getting extremely bored with being walked exclusively on her lead. The stitches come out Friday morning so if I can only keep her from nibbling them until then, they shouldn’t get infected. Indeed you might say that she's trouble y'all.
The spare bedroom is now virtually complete. Our trip to Ikea was entirely successful (we even got to see a burning building en route!) and once we have removed the devil-wood that is carpet gripper from the room, plus assorted bits of wood and cardboard, it will be a perfectly peaceful room. And, as an added bonus, Coney has decided to make the room her own “Thanks you guys for giving me my own room and comfy bed and ooh, look at this lovely expensive bed linen that I can scrap about with my claws and these delightfully rustic looking cushions that I can gnaw on when I’m bored. You shouldn’t have. Now please leave.”
As for cooking, as I mentioned, the heat has made baking prohibitive, particularly with our Kitchenaid being out of action but I have been experimenting with a few Summery dishes that keep our bellies full.
I made my own version of Pasta Primavera which I have a strong suspicion is an American invention, probably from the 50s, as I have never seen it in any Italian cookbook. It’s origin aside, Pasta Primavera is actually a healthy and yummy pasta salad (which can also be served hot) which utilises the great Summer vegetables that are just coming into fruition now (that sounds like a contradiction in terms). Some recipes use a heavy Béchamel sauce but I find that just too cloying, particularly when serving it cold so I combine the oil that the vegetables are sautéed in with some freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and it makes a light but tasty dressing. Anyway, here’s the recipe as I recall it, a combination of a traditional American version and Nigella Lawson’s version from Feast (I couldn’t find the book at the time so had to remember what the picture looked like. Not a whole heap like my own!).
Pasta Primavera this will serve 2 incredibly gluttonous people and 4 people with smaller stomachs and a stronger will:
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped (I would use more, but my husband unfortunately has a physical aversion to it so I have to keep it minimal)
Handful of Pine Nuts
2-3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Knob Butter
Rice Shaped Pasta
Button Mushrooms sliced, around 250g
About 10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
French Green Beans, halved, fresh and blanched
Fresh Broad Beans, podded, blanched, deskinned
Handful of Frozen Peas (but fresh are better, if using fresh, blanch them until tender in boiling water)
Chopped Spring Onion
2 Courgettes, cut into inch long batons
Really, any of the above green vegetables can be omitted, Sugar Snap Peas and baby Asparagus would be great too.
Cook the Pasta as per directions on pack.
Heat the oil and butter gently in a deep frying pan. Add the chopped garlic and pine nuts, cook until the nuts are golden but take care not to burn the garlic as it will taste bitter.
Add the courgette batons and gently fry until they turn soft and start to go golden (about 3-4 mins).
Add the mushrooms, cook until soft but not releasing their water. You don’t want to fry them.
Throw in the parboiled green beans, broad beans, frozen peas and a little of the cooking water from the pasta if necessary. Season lightly at this point.
Finally, add the tomatoes, chopped spring onion and drained pasta, stirring thoroughly but carefully to amalgamate all the ingredients. Add about a cupful of grated Parmesan cheese, stir until it starts to melt. Check for seasoning once again. At this point, put a lid on the pan and leave for upwards of 10 minutes if you are eating warm, or for a couple of hours then refrigerate if eating cold.

Apply to face.


Keith J. Crocker said...

Ok, I'm sorry about the dog, I was trying to break into your house to get ahold of a cupcake, the dog bit me and I bit back...

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