Monday, May 21, 2012

Pre-Packed Thoughts

Lately we've been eating the salad leaves from our suburban garden. What a feeling to go out back in the morning, cut some salad leaves and bring them to work!

Almost everyday I'll go in my polytunnel and look at the little plants and the miracle of life happening slowly but steadily in there... 
In particular, we have a Borlotti Bean plant, who had two accidents so far: when still in the small pot inside the house, my son by accident "sat" on it. The plant was folded in two... I managed to help it up again with some Sellotape and a wooden stick. A few days later, when it was recovering from the first hit, a friend's child broke the upper part... Again, Sellotape came to the rescue... I looked at my plant a bit sad and made sure the child didn't feel bad about it. Well, I have to say it is the first bean plant to grow flowers!!! I have been rewarded already, even if those flowers for one reason or the other will not turn into beans :)

I've been thinking a lot about pre-packed things lately. Mostly because we'll celebrate my son's 5th Birthday on Sunday. Awesome! He's 5 already. I can hardly believe it. 

The Birthdays we've been so far, except for two of them, were held in these covered play grounds where there are slides and ball pools. You pay a fee per child, the children get two hours of play (among crowds of other children) then everyone from the party is gathered into a room, the food for the kids is served, the cake is cut, the goodie bags are handed out and you go home. Yes, the kids have great fun. Yes, my son the last time did not stop running and playing for two hours. But...

I hate it. I hate those places. I just have to say it. The Invitation cards are all the same, you just fill in date and time. The cakes are usually bought in the stores by the parents. There is no food for the parents. So you're stuck there with a disgusting coffee for two hours watching your kid going up and down an artificial playground which is usually kept quite cold. I thought the other day: When even a child's Birthday comes pre-packed in a sterile, assembly line-like place, you realize humanity IS doomed.

Maybe it's me. I'm too radical. Maybe. I'm an extremist. Maybe. But...

But the joy I saw in my son's eyes the other day while cutting the red paper to make his invitations... The spark in his eyes when he suggested how to make them look better... It was great. It was worth all the effort. 

His Birthday will be on an Angry Birds theme. He was very interested in the whole preparation of the goodie bags and such... I'll be cooking my butt off, and we'll spend a wonderful afternoon together, everyone will be eating and drinking juice or beer or wine and the house will fill with the kids running up and down and their laughter and I'll be the happiest person in the whole world. 

It's disgraceful that people won't even take the time anymore to prepare a cake for their own children's birthdays... I am making everything myself every year and I love it... Every year the menu is different, every year I'll find a different cake to make. I don't like baking cakes, it's something that never turns out quite the way I expect it. But the joy it brings to place those candles on it :)

I always cook from scratch. I make my own washing powder. I refuse to use bleach in the house. After work I dig in the garden in the effort to make it produce food. We eliminated TV when our son was born. We don't buy ready made food EVER. We shop as little as possible. We don't buy things we don't need. We drive the smallest possible cars as little as possible.

And I often think all we do is for nothing... All our efforts, all our hard work to make this Earth a better place is wasted because one single person will never make the difference...
But... But then I look in my son's eyes and see them lit up when he talks about his plants in the garden, and his crazy love for slugs, worms and centipedes and I see hope and that not all we do is for nothing, all we do is actually for him :)
Peas Blooming

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tuna and Cherry Tomatoes Pasta

I have been absent for a long time, I know. It feels like ages, I missed this space.
Truth to be told, I was worried about a few things and didn't feel like writing because I was afraid to channel my worries and that is the last thing I want to do.
This does not mean I have not cooked in the meantime, I've actually cooked quite a lot as usual, I just wasn't in the mood of taking pictures.
Now I'm back to my normal self, and am ready and happy to share another simple recipe I prepared last night. I was a bit in a hurry to make dinner because I wanted to go to a poetry and music show with some colleagues in the evening, so I had to keep things simple.


Rigatoni Pasta
10 Cherry Tomatoes
1 Can of Tuna (in brine, I do not like the one in oil)
Olive Oil
A few pieces of Onion

Place a bit of olive oil in a non stick pan along with a few pieces of onion. Once the onion becomes soft, add the drained tuna and the cherry tomatoes split in half.

Let it simmer on low heat while the pasta cooks and then mix everything together.

Here is the result :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yummy Meatballs

Before last week, to me, meatballs were something you find in a meatballs pasta sauce. The most exotic thing you could do with them, is cook them in a little water and oil and dress them with lemon juice.
But thanks to the amazing world of food blogging, I came across a recipe for savory meatballs, using a complicated sauce to garnish them and obviously was something I could not recreate because it called for too much time and and too many ingredients.

My recipe is simple and effective. All our guests on Sunday loved it :)


Minced Meat, Pangrattato (Italian style breadcrumbs, easily recreated by putting a blender in regular breadcrumbs) and some Parsley and Salt to taste. I will not give any measurements because it all depends on your taste.

Put the meatballs together and cook them in a non stick pan with a bit of water, salt and olive oil. While they are cooking, blend this yummy sauce:

2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Ginger powder
2 Garlic cloves, halved
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Once the meatballs are ready, pour the sauce over them and let them sit for a few minutes before serving. I tend to remove the garlic from the sauce because my husband would otherwise complain.