Friday, June 26, 2009

We don't need no education.

Schools out for summer! Woohoo!! I love love LOVE the summer holidays. I get to have my kids back, the sun shines (bwahahaha I hear the Scots cry) and we get to go on adventures. At heart, I'm an adventurer and the kids even more so. I look forward to this time of year and we use our powers of invention to come up with weird and wonderful activities. Watch this space!

I think the path to true adventure is to look in small places, to go on little trips and to chat to the most unlikely people. Me and the kids find it wherever we go. It usually involves little or no money, old clothes and mud. And strange people. I LOVE strange people. Don't ask me why, it's just the way it is.

To celebrate the end of school and the beginning of summer, I tried to book us into our local restaurant Massimos for pizza. The girl answered the phone after a loooong time ringing and when she eventually answered, she sounded bored out of her skull:-
Me: "Can I book a table for this evening please?".
BW: "Well, that depends..."
Me"....really, what does it depend on?"
BW: "How many people it's for!" (Unspoken..."Like, duh! Moron!" *eyes rolling*)
Me: "There will be five of us"
BW: "We-ll, I have no booths left...."
Me: (Unspoken..."Did I ASK for a booth??") "Ookay, do you have a TABLE?"
BW: " (Silence)"
Me: (Silence...quietly banging my head off the wall)
BW: "I could give you a table outside the restaurant..."
Me: (Unspoken..."What, in the restaurant across the road where the staff are MUCH more professional?") "No thank you, we don't want to eat outside the restaurant"
BW: "Um....ok.....*click...brrrrr*

Sooooo, we had pastafest instead! The kids were delighted and Kelly said it was MUCH better here anyway. I love that gal.

We tucked into macaroni cheese, creamy papardelle with feta, pine nuts (yes!...pine nuts...I have them!) and cherry tomatoes alongside a nice crusty baguette.

Creamy Papardelle with Feta, Pine Nuts and Cherry Tomatoes

This is enough for two incredibly greedy people or four smug, not so greedy people.

Papardelle, cook as per packet instructions
Scant tablespoon olive oil
Onion, chopped small
Garlic clove, sliced thinly
Cherry tomatoes, around 8
3 tablespoons of cream or more to taste
Handful grate Parmesan
Pine nuts, dry toasted (very hot pan, add nuts and shake..for this dish, until dark)
Feta cheese, around a small handful, cubed

Add chopped onions to olive oil, heated in frying pan. Cook for five minutes until softened...if they look like they may catch and burn, add a droplet or two of water and stir. Add not add earlier or it will burn...and stir, cooking for a couple of minutes. Add half the tomatoes whole and the others halved. Squeeze them about a bit. Stir, add cream, stir, add lots of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Drain pasta when ready and add to onion mixture, coat with sauce, throw in the Parmesan and pour into serving dish. Sprinkle over toasted pine nuts and feta cheese. You could of course add any kind of herb or even a little grating of nutmeg but it's perfect as it is.

My ankle is still swollen but it is much better, my knee is a scabby mess and I won't be surprised if they run away from me at the swimming pool, crying and screaming but otherwise, I'm fine. Lucy is all better by the looks of her running round in circles shouting 'Flapjack!' at the moment. I still have lots of work to do and have to cancel some activities we had planned because we are going on holiday this Sunday and we just don't have time to do everything. But I'm relaxed, chilled and think someone may have slipped some Valium in my wine....

Thank you Shona for a wonderful brunch this morning...bacon rolls, crusty ciabatta with roasted peppers and melted mozzarella, little cupcakes with fresh raspberry icing, fresh strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, fresh orange juice and hot, wonderful coffee...Maureen, Anne, Karen and I were delighted. It was a lovely way to end the year.


Unknown Mami said...

Enjoy the summer break with the kids!

Helen McGinn said...

Thank you! x

Debbie said...

Amazing how little skills some people have and yet they work in public! Your dinner looks great. I hope you have a wonderful summer:)

Helen McGinn said...

Too true Debbie...and thank you lass!
H xx

B.o.B. said...

Pasta looks delish and I eat a lot of pasta before my long runs. Stopping by from SITS!

Hope you are having a great Saturday.

Jen said...

THat Mac and Cheese looks so YUMMY!! definitely better meal than the pizza at the restaurant! I too LOVE summer! I wish it would just slow down a bit! It's flying by way too fast!!

I am here from SITS! I hope you have a wonderful Day!


Penelope said...

What a beautiful blog!

Visiting from SITS :)

Helen McGinn said...

Thanks guys...gone to visit your blogs.
Helen x

Marina said...

Mmmmm....that sounds yum and I think I will experiment on this one :> Thanks

PS. Stopping by from SITS.
4 fabulous giveaways@