Excitement – and by that I mean near-hysteria – levels in the house are at an all-time high at the moment.
First of all we have this:
Which is about 1/10th of the amount of gifts brought by my mum who is - joy! - visiting. So as well as having their beloved grandmother here (note to all grandmothers out there: to ensure undying love of your grandchildren, give them Doritos and 7UP for breakfast while you’re minding them), the kids have IRISH JUNK FOOD also. (I must admit to being pretty excited about this myself).
We also have these –
PROPER ENGLISH WEEKEND NEWSPAPERS! (And look – it’s Esther from Recipe Rifle on the cover! [No need to explain yourself to me, Esther; anyone who enjoys playing with children is either (a) lying (b) insane or (c) being paid]) The Guardian remains unopened because I’m keeping it for this weekend. (Pathetic, I know.)
Less excitingly for me, we also now have this:
Which is one half of the Furby Horror Show*. If you’re fortunate enough to be ignorant on this matter, they are electronic pet-type things, not unlike Gremlins, but FAR more irritating. In fact they appear to be the creation of a very troubled mind indeed. I think – although my limited experience on this does not so far back me up – that their behaviour changes the more they’re attended to; in which case perhaps we have the faulty ones? The faulty porn star Beavis and Butthead ones? They seem to say little other than “Oh YEAH, Oh YEAH Baby”, and then snigger in a disturbing 15 year old male sort of way. There is no Off button. They fall asleep eventually, but only if you put them on the balcony with a large cushion over them. They can be quite cute if you put them facing each other, but within 3 minutes they’ve reverted to sniggering and panting like cheap hookers, and occasionally demanding food. It goes without saying that the children LOVE them, cart them about everywhere, and leave them in unexpected places to cackle at me when I least expect it (the car; the bathroom cupboard; under my desk). I am demented by it all.
(*The other half was hidden away somewhere soundproof, and now we can’t find him, and I suspect the batteries have run out, so he cannot moan / thrust out his pelvis for help. HUZZAH!)
And so I have been retreating to the kitchen more often than usual, despite the heat and the humidity and the lizards (one leapt out of a cupboard at me last night, frightening the life out of me.) During one of these hideouts I happened to combine a drawerful of slowly-dying red peppers with my favourite easy dinner turn-to, and - Ta-Da! - a new easy dinner turn-to was born.
Pasta with Red Pepper and Tomato sauce.
You need (for 4)
- 4 peppers (red or yellow),deseeded and roughly chopped.
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped (or crushed)
- Generous splash of olive oil
- A few basil leaves (not a deal-breaker if you don’t have them)
- 2 tins of tomatoes (whole, chopped or pureed)
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
- Pasta, to serve. (Any type, and shape, any amount.)
Place a generous glug of olive oil in a large heavy pan, add the garlic and a couple of the basil leaves (if using).
When it starts to sizzle, add the chopped peppers. Stir well, turn down the heat, cover, and go have a cup of BARRY’S TEA while sitting on the balcony, feeling nostalgic for the sleet and damp of home.
Once you’ve got that out of your system – about 5 minutes – return to the peppers, stir, and add the vinegar. Let it sizzle, then add the tomatoes and basil.
Raise the heat, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover.
Go have half a block of Irish cheese and three packets of crisps, then go for a run / vomit. (Or not.) Either way, after about 10 minutes, make your pasta, then drain, and add to the sauce (you want to give the sauce between 15-20 mins to simmer). Which you’ve taken off the heat, of course.
Mix well, and serve, with or without parmesan.
Actually, don’t limit this sauce to pasta; it’s great with almost anything – eggs & warm tortilla wraps; cold on hot buttered toast; atop roast potatoes – or even better, eaten alone, warm, and topped with grated parmesan. (Alone, that is, apart from four sinister robotic eyes watching your every move.)