It has been one of those weeks. The OH is working away a lot at the moment in a bid to get most of her work completed before the summer holidays; The small people are tired and crawling to the end of term; Small Boy’s uniform trousers look like they have argued with his ankles; the rest of his uniform looks as tired as him; Small Girl is heading for the last few days of child care as she will be starting nursery school in September; I am tired of my chosen career and can’t wait to retire in a year’s time; its raining; and to top it all Wales got knocked out of the Euros by Portugal in the semi finals. As I said it has been one of those weeks!
Earlier in the week Small Boy announced he would like to try ballet lessons. I will admit to being quite excited and may have overdone it showing him you tube videos of Rudolph Nureyev in action! Anyhow I organised a class for him to attend this morning. He too has been excited in anticipation of his first ballet lesson. He has pirouetted his way through the week. Saturday morning arrived, he had a breakfast of toast; eggs; fruit and milk to ensure he was at his demi plie best! We brave the mist and rain and walk to class (yes it is July). On entering the waiting room with small boy clad in his football kit and skins and small girl who looks like an urchin on the best of days. I have to admit to feeling like we had walked into that scene in Flash Dance where Jennifer Beales walked into an audition at the Conservatory dressed in her welding gear! But I digress. Small Boy has not seen that film but he obviously felt the same as there was no way when those double doors opened and all the little girls looking like balls of candy floss floated into the class was he going to follow them!! No amount of encouragement; threats or bribing was going to change things. Thankfully there was a lovely mum that I know there who was sympathetic to our plight and so the small people and I took refuge in a nearby cafe and ate cake!
Yesterday for some unknown reason I decided to soak the last of the dried cannellini beans along with some black-eyed beans that were lurking in the pantry. I hoped that once they were soaked some inspiration would hit. Of course I should be bringing you photos and recipes of platters of salad eaten at a lazy summer lunchtime picnic whilst the children prance about barefoot on the grass and make dams in the river – unfortunately this is Wales and the reason it is so lush and vibrant is due to the amount of rain; mist fog and general precipitation we endure. When I woke this morning and saw the mist and rain the inspiration for the soaked beans hit and so todays summer recipe is a bean and pasta soup!
Soak around 250 g of beans overnight. The following day, drain the beans, pop them in a large pan with some bean friends (a couple of cloves of garlic; a bay leaf or bouquet garni; drizzle of oil; a fresh squished tomato and ground black pepper) cover with cold water and bring to a boil then continue with a heavy simmer until the beans are tender but still have a bite (around 30 minutes).
In the meantime finely chop an onion; a carrot and a stick of celery and saute in a glut of olive oil until soft and glistening. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes along with the beans and that murky liquid they have cooked in – I kid you not! Don’t throw it down the pug hole – use it. I know it looks murky and unappetising but I assure you it has a wonderful taste that will add a depth to your soup. Squish the cloves of garlic from their skins so their sweetness permeates the liquid. Throw in two handfuls of small pasta (any shape you want or break up whatever you have got in the pantry). Let it simmer away until the beans and pasta are cooked and season. Add some water if it becomes too thick.
All done – serve with some grated parmesan or a swirl of pesto or a squeeze of lemon juice just to lift it. It brought a smile to my reluctant budding ballet dancer and calmed his somewhat disappointment with life – The sun actually made an appearance for an hour too. Cant be bad!