Did I mention that we are going away for a week?
I'd like to say I'm being ever so casual about it, that it's no biggie, but who am I kidding?
We are going to ITALY. To Rome, then to Naples.
I am very, VERY excited.
Of course, in the run up to any holiday there is the finishing up of work.
There is the 'weather checking and clothes washing' to be taken care of (you might not like me to mention that it's currently getting up to 28C in Rome - now where did I put my sandals?)
There is the consideration and purchasing of useful literature (I am very pleased with my 'overlay' book of ancient Roman sites (which has photos of the current ruins, with artists impressions of how they used to look which you can overlay onto the photos), purchased on Amazon for a mere 1p as opposed to the 10 Euros I am informed it will cost us in Rome)
There is the finding of the passports and the checking of the tickets.
There is the daydreaming of how perfect it will all be as long as we don't try to do too much and wear the kids out on day 1 (actually unlikely as we are staying with friends just outside Rome first and we have been promised a relaxing day on Sunday revolving around lunch somewhere very lovely.)
And then there is 'Operation Fridge Run Down'. Easier said than done when the courgettes are still coming, as are the tomatoes.
I managed to get a whole yellow ball courgette into a quiche the other day - grated and squeezed out before I cooked it up with 3 thinly sliced onions. It made a delicious supper, and the courgette went completely undetected by those who did not know it was in there.
I could have cried when the next day, the Husband brought 2 more green courgettes in from the garden...
Tomatoes, on the other hand, are something I never tire of. The kids eat them raw and cooked, and it's very easy to turn them into soup, passata, anything really. Proper tomatoes, grown with some love, just smell delicious - of sunshine, of warmth, of halcyon days. If I had nothing else to do, I'd quite happily sit in a greenhouse of tomatoes and smell the smell all day. A bit like Ferdinand the bull smelling the flowers all day - but he was in Spain, and not many people know that story these days...
If you've never smelt a freshly picked gorgeously ripe tomato, you might think this all sounds a bit wierd, but I'm betting I'm not the only one who feels like this...
Tomatoes, of course, remind me of Italian food - the classic insalata tricolore with mozarella and basil, all that pasta sauce flavoured with basil, with chilli, with all sorts of things, brushcetta... I'm anticipating more than the odd stop during our sightseeing to partake of all things gorgeous, Italian and tomatoey - plus the odd glass of chilled white wine, of course.
For now, though, something much more English. I could have gone the bruschetta route for lunches the last few days, but these are English tomatoes, and oddly, bruschetta never occurred to me until just now when I sat down and started writing this. So I've been eating tomatoes on toast - inspired by a friend who's on the 5:2 diet and who advises me that if you use Nimble or Weightwatchers bread, 2 pieces come in at around 132 calories - including a dollop of Lidl's lowest fat mayo. Now I am no longer following the 5:2 diet. I'll tell you about it sometime, so my tomatoes were sliced and arranged on slices of homemade bread, drizzled with some (Italian) olive oil, sprinkled with some sea salt and pepper and served with some delicious Hampshire watercress. I decided to pass on the mayo...
Tomatoes on Toast (serves 1)
2 reasonably thick slices of good bread
tomatoes (the exact number will depend on the size of your tomatoes, how thickly you slice them, also the size of your slices of bread - may be 3-4 small to medium sized tomatoes as a guide)
Olive oil, seasalt and fresh ground pepper
Watercress to serve
Toast the bread lightly on one side under the grill. Flip the bread over and cover the uncooked side as much as possible with slices of tomato, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper, then pop back under the grill for a few minutes till the tomatoes are starting to soften. Alternatively, you could sprinkle a little sugar on the tomatoes for a more caramelised effect.
Serve on a plate with some watercress.