Now. Where was I... Ah yes, I was dashing off to the hairdressers, and had been blaming hormones for the upheaval in my life. Certainly, the hormones are to blame for my current crappy (or rather, crappier than usual) skin – notably on my forehead. And so I got it into said (fore)head to address this dermatological imperfection by covering it up. This is what I was hoping to channel:
Alas, this is closer to what I ended up with:
(Even the hairdresser – of a profession usually so ready to completely ignore your instructions and keep snip-snip-snipping away - looked a bit distraught).
And so I dashed home, traumatised my mother-in-law (“Oh!” she said, when she saw me; and nothing else), and squeezed my inner - and outer - serial killer into that beautiful dress (kindly loaned to me by Seraphine), before escaping before the kids could deface me with their hummus-hands. (Not, however, before the Boy looked at me and said “Mummy, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???”)
And so to the Blog awards! I met the Man in the bar (where he did the most obvious double-take I have ever seen in real life) but the competition for drink was fierce, and so we eventually gave up and headed into the dining room. Or rather tried to; because it turned out that actually, partners weren’t invited... Ooooops. I guess I just assumed it was Plus 1- maybe I didn’t read the emails properly - or indeed, at all (frankly, I’m still just thanking CHRIST that I didn’t pursue my initial persistence that he wear black tie...) They were very nice about it, but we were clearly going to mess up alot of organisation – not to mention table plans – so made the decision to abandon the dinner and catch up a deux in the hotel restaurant. Which was lovely, even if I was a bit over-dressed (even for a serial-killer). We nipped back in in time for the awards, sat with REAL bloggers – people who update their sites regularly, and who actually make an effort with them (no Blogger Hosting malarkey for these people). In fact when the Man wasn’t laughing at my ridiculous new ‘do, he was pissing himself with every nomination which appeared on the screen: each time one was called out, a snapshot of the site appeared. Every one of them, without exception, was professionally done: logos and pictures and About Pages and indexes... And then there was RL. OHGOD. Through snorts the Man managed to say: “Imagine if you won!”
Thankfully – truthfully, because the mortification would have been too much – I didn’t, and we were spared any further shame. (I totally called it tho on who would win – this great site; I mean seriously, wouldn’t you give this your food blog vote?) And so we headed out into the night, home to hang up our dancing frocks for – well, for good I suspect.
In other news, this is what the rest of the week has delighted me with:
The Boy (on Sunday night) – out of the blue, as he was going to bed:
“Mummy, you are going to DIE on Tuesday.”
“Really? Why do you say that?”
“Things that are sharp are going to go into your mouth and through your face and you WILL DIE. On Tuesday.”
He was really quite specific about Tuesday, so much so that I took a bit of extra care yesterday driving about in the shit-hire-car (the wheels of which stop moving if you try to turn them more than 30 degrees; which I have to say makes turning onto busy London roads something of an adventure). Anyway, it turns out he’s no soothsayer, and I’ve lived to screech at him another day. Until next week at least.
The Girl and I were pottering in the kitchen this morning, when I noticed a whole family of blackbirds in the garden.
“Look at the birdies sweetheart - what do birds say?”
“Fuck!” she shouted, happily.
(One in fact looked a bit hen-pecked and possibly did shout Fuck! on a regular basis, but it wasn’t exactly the response I was expecting.)
And the highlight of my parenting week? This really just summed up where the journey of parenthood has taken me (through the town of Despair, past the village of Caring, to the Point of Resignation). We had a playdate (“we” being “they”) on Monday, at the end of which the kids had a chocolate treat. After I bundled them all into the car and strapped self in, I noticed something brown, crusty and semi-permanent on my trousers. It could have been chocolate, but then again, it could have been shit. I scratched and sniffed.
It wasn’t chocolate.
The worse part was that I wasn’t phased in the slightest. Not by the poo on the jeans (dog’s, uuuugh, from a welly, via a puddle), nor by the poo now under my fingernails, nor by the poo on the hanky which went back into my pocket (which I found again yesterday). I have become one of those women who accepts errand poo stains as a part of her everyday life. I’m not sure whether to despair or congratulate self on my new innate motherhoodness.
Moving on. I promised a recipe, and here it is. I stole it directly from this lovely lady, (whose blog would – nay, should - certainly and deservedly win awards) and then added some cheese. (She in turn pinched it from someone else, and actually it’s quite a common Italian recipe, so I don’t feel too bad for my plagiarism.) Rachel recommends it as the perfect summer supper, however I’ve been eating it regularly since being back in blowy blistery Blighty, and don’t feel anything has been lost by the lack of sunshine.
Tomatoes Stuffed with Rice
A quick note: In Italy, this is left to stand once cooked for several hours, and served luke warm, with diced roasted potatoes (as per my picture). Go see Rachel for further (and better) details. While I love it with the potatoes – like cheese, there is little that potatoes doesn’t improve - I like it just as much on its own, and in fact have of late been side-stepping the potato element and just having stuffed tomatoes, with extra baked risotto on the side. Also, I tend to eat them more or less straight from the oven – who can wait hours for food?. Finally, I find that while large ripe tomatoes are, of course, better, the dish works perfectly adequately with crappy-English-supermarket-October tomatoes.
You Need (for 4):
- 8 large tomatoes
- A handful of fresh basil, shredded
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- A few tablespoons of grated Parmesan
- About 8 – 10 tablespoons of risotto rice
- Salt and pepper
- About 10 tablespoons / 100ml of extra virgin olive oil
Cut a lid off the top of each of the tomatoes, then using a mixture of your fingers, a spoon and a knife, scoop out the innards. You want to be left with the tomato shell. Be careful not to split / cut through the bottom of the tomatoes. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the inside of the tomato shell and turn upside down to drain. (Leave the lids to one side.)
Put the tomato flesh into a large bowl. Rachel recommends blitzing it with a blender, but I found it quite therapeutic – in a slimey, disgusting sort of way – to break it down with my fingers. (What can I say? As we now know, I happily pick dog-shit off my clothes).
Mix the smoothed tomato guts (see how many ways I can describe it??) with the basil, garlic, cheese, rice and olive oil. Add quite a bit of salt – the rice will need it – and pepper. Then leave to sit for about 30 - 45 mins.
Turn your oven on: 200c / 400f / Gas6
Put the tomato
cavaties on a greased baking tray / in a greased oven-proof dish and fill each
one to about ½ - 2/3rds with the rice mix.
Top with a tomato lid. Dot the
rest of the rice around the tomatoes, and sprinkle with some more olive oil.
Stick in the hot oven for about 40 minutes or so. Either eat immediately – as a side or on it’s own (with bread and butter, yum!) or make like an Italian, and allow to cool to room temperature.
THAT IS IT. Yes, a bit of faffy waiting around during the prep, but once in the oven, the rice and tomatoes cook themselves. Leaving you time to massage Regaine into your head, have a quick weep, then steal your toddler daughter’s hair-clips.
Ps: Big thanks to the wonderful and brilliant Emma for reminding me about the return of David Sedaris to Radio 4 this week, which in turn reminded me that the poo wasn’t actually the highlight of the week really. Listen, people, and weep with laughter. (And then vow to reinstigate 1950s (or 1980s, if you’re Irish) parenting “methods” to your own unruly offspring.)