Nanna and Pops are arriving early doors and I will have done two hours of cleaning before they get here. Except things don’t work out like that. I wake at 8am, Ollie and I wrapped in each other’s arms, with a sweaty teddy between us.
I’m an hour behind schedule, already on the back foot. Daisy is downstairs, wrapped in a blanket, putting in some hours with Tracey Beaker. Where do I start? The house is a tip. I send the kids to tidy their rooms (a pointless exercise as far as Ollie is concerned) and Daisy emerges moments later in a flamenco dress (the girl has a great sense of occasion).
Ollie’s shouts for breakfast mean I have to feed them, never a simple task, and actually creates more mess on top of the existing mess. They’re bickering at the table and a pile of washing is occupying the only other chair, so on the pretence of getting dressed, I carry my breakfast upstairs, and eat it staring out of the window.
I come to my senses when I see Tom pulling up outside. Is that the time? I’m panic-stricken! I throw off my dressing gown and wipe the crumbs from my face. But I needn’t worry. He has the look of a troubled man – deathly pale and clutching his jaw as he crosses the street.
I remember that he’s just been to the dentists. An emergency appointment booked by me yesterday. All other NHS dentists had waiting lists of a year, but I’d stumbled across this back street one that could take him on immediately. Ok, so it only had 2/5 stars on its rating, but sometimes needs must.
I race downstairs in concerned-wife mode, hoping to shepherd him into the lounge, the only vaguely tidy room. He is traumatised. He talks of a flickering light, a dirty reception-area, and a locum who may or may not have been a qualified dentist. I try and sooth him with my words whilst gradually backing out of the door. I leave him to the children, who have no sense of delicacy and leap all over him while I run for the shower.
Nanna and Pops arrive to the usual chaos – Ollie is the only one available to answer the door to them – but then they’ve had six children and are quite used to it.
After a leisurely lunch out, we don’t get peckish til 7, and so the idea of the mezze came about:
- 400g can of chick peas, drained
- 1&half tbsp of olive oil
- 2 tbsp light tahini
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Juice of a lemon
- 50ml of water, approx
- Sea salt
- To serve: a few reserved chick peas, tsp olive oil, sprinkle of cumin.
Whizz it all in a food processor until smooth, apart from the water. Slowly add the water depending on what consistency you want the houmous to have. Blitz again. Taste. Add more salt/lemon juice/garlic as required. Put into a bowl. Sprinkle with cumin, put the extra chick peas and oil on top.
Courgette, feta and mint salad
- 2 courgettes, thinly sliced length ways, brushed with oil
- 30g pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
- 50g feta, cubed
- Mint leaves
Griddle the courgette slices in batches on a hot griddle pan. Turn after a few minutes so cooked on both sides. Cut them into thin strips. Arrange on a dish, put the feta, pine nuts and mint sprinkled on top. Add a squeeze of lemon if needed.