A family affair

I love good food. Produce that is fresh, affordable and liked by my family. My inclinations to experiment has not disappeared having had four children it has just meant that time restraints and genreal busyness has forced me to be savvy about the way I prepare and cook our food.

Last night was typical. Juggling four children in and out of the car while the eldest went to drama class meant that dinner was not thought about until late in the afternoon. (I did read once that all “good mothers” should prepare the evening meal sometime during the day. And sometimes I do, I even cook ahead and freeze meals for those busy times, but there is something about cooking fresh food that is more statisfying)

Pasta seems to be a favourite in our family. I had promised to make homemade pasta in the holidays but a few childhood illnesses prevented this from happening. Anyway, as I fossicked in the fridge for a range of vegetables that I know number 2 and 3 child will not want to eat and I managed to find zucchini, button mushrooms, carrots and to my surprise some chorizo sausage. The two girls helped to wash and cut most of the vegetables while I sliced the chorizo and got the skillet hot to fry of the booty. As these delights were being covered in a beatuiful smoky choirzo glow, my two helpers prepared some rhubarb as well, for a fruit crumble.

I should say we have a rule in our house about second servings and dessert. We all love our food and at times the children seem to have no capacity to know when they are full. My eldest would eat more than me if we let him! So the no second serving rule came about. Also the dessert rule was fashioned by my husband. He had read something about “slow food” and taking care in the food we prepare. So as a result we have dessert if we have time to prepare something, rather than dishing out scoops of ice cream or yogurt, because it is easy. At other times there is always loads of fruit to choose from.

Back to the pasta, we cooked pennette and then worked in the chorizo delights and some seasoned passatta. The vegetables had caramelised in the spiced oil from the chorizo and the edges of the sausages had become dark and crunchy. It is so versatile the chorizo. My husbadn makes a fabulous omelette with the spanish sausage. We are lucky that the local supermaket stocks them. We first came across them when we were living in London. This wonderful man in a van called “Bay leaf and Sage” ( I think??) used to drive around our area once a week blowing his horn. I would wander across the common and visit the van and be tempted by a range of deli goods and the most wonderful breads from Paris. Those of you who like good bread would know the baker I am referring to, his name has escaped me right now. Maybe let me know?

The pasta was good – even an hour later when I ate with my husband. The crumble was satisfying too, but I suspect the flour, butter, sugar, shredded coconut and oatmeal ratio was not perfect. It tasted great in that “comfort food” kind of way, but my aversion to too much butter probably meant that it could have had more crumb!

That is one of the things I am reknowned for – cooking without a recipe. I love cookbooks and reading recipes but I cook, like so many of you I guess, by instinct. I believe we are the ultimate scientists becasue we understand the processes and the methods essential to making our food sing! Well, must go and tackle a new day of domestic life.

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