Back to school

Common knowledge has it that you leave school at 16, or 18, or 21, at least in the UK.  Once you’ve done your GCSEs, or A-levels, or dossed around for three years and gotten a degree and become sub-prime in the process, you enter the real world and submit to the tyranny of paid employment for the next fifty years, at which point you become a gopher for your reasonably grateful descendents and wonder why you ever retired.

In reality, of course, it’s a little less straightforward than that.  Many of my peers have done vocationally-related post-grad courses – accountancy, management, HR, IT, and other similarly tedious subjects besides.  I, having bypassed the university experience, did my bachelor’s degree over six years (part-time, like my vegetarianism, but with fewer courgettes), finishing at the age of 30, having winged the last two years following the birth of my eldest son (you really don’t know what spare time is until you’re a parent, and then it’s too late).

My wife is about to take a bigger step still though, and actually return to school.  Having spent {CENSORED} years in the private sector learning, essentially, how to appease both those she worked for and those who worked for her, she’s decided that commerce is not for her.  So in September she will embark on a graduate training program to become a primary school teacher.

Admittedly, you could make an argument that the timing is less than perfect.  In these times of Cuts and Austerity (both of these words being somehow elevated to the status of proper nouns), a public sector pay freeze and the cancellation of Gove-has-no-idea-how-many school building projects would surely suggest that a small delay to proceedings might be in order?

Mind you, you can’t argue with the job security, once you’re in.  If Panicrama are to be believed, only a handful of teachers have ever been dismissed for poor performance, so you could potentially just put your feet up once you’re through the staff room door, and spend the rest of your productive life drinking coffee and occasionally throwing chalk at whichever munchkin you took a dislike to that day.  (Thinking that through, my wife is a poor shot and not a great lover of coffee so that probably wouldn’t be up her street, but you get the idea.)

But a drop in household income is not the most scary thing about this story, not even close.  Nor the increase in possibility of having projectiles found at varying points in the Mohs scale hurled at my house by disaffected yoofs (if under-12s qualify for this tag).  And even the likelihood of my wife becoming a commie union member (and knowing her she’d end up as the next Christine Blower) doesn’t faze me – not as much as the fact she is voluntarily returning to – I shudder to say it – school dinners.

I don’t need to expound greatly on the horrors of school dinners.  Despite Sir Jamie’s best endeavours they remain the stuff of nightmares and ridicule in equal measure (except of course when addressing your school-age child, when they are nutritious and tasty and not to be in any way avoided).  Everybody has their own favourite hate-worthy meal from their own school days – spotted dick, fish pie, anything served with those ice-cream scoops of mash (whose sadistic idea was that?).  And now my wife is putting herself squarely in the firing line of that most enigmatic of races – the dinner lady.

Happily I will still be here to provide delicious, wholesome and entirely non-meat antidotes to her daily poison.  Such as this, which is brilliantly quick and also under 750 cals for anyone watching their weight.

Not-Trapanese pasta

“Not” Trapanese because Trapanese pasta is made with cold tomatoes and a pesto made with almonds instead of pine nuts.  We much preferred it modified – this serves 2.

  • One punnet of cherry tomatoes (I think about 300g)
  • Enough pasta for two people
  • Packet of fresh basil (or a handful of leaves if you’re posh and have a plant on the window sill)
  • About 75g of grated parmesan
  • Handful of pine nuts, warmed in a dry pan (not until brown, just starting to get oily)
  • Glug of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (must be freshly ground)
  • Half a clove of garlic

Roast the tomatoes in a little oil and plenty of salt and pepper for 20 minutes or so at about 200 degrees (might be gas mark 6, I have no idea).

Stick the basil, pine nuts, garlic, pinch of salt and a small glug of the oil in a blender (although we prefer a hand blender) and pulse until you have a rough paste.  Work in half the cheese with a fork, add a bit more oil and the rest of the cheese and work this through as well until well combined.  That’s pesto.

Cook the pasta.

Stir the pesto through the cooked pasta and do the same with the tomatoes.  Serve topped with a little more parmesan and another grind of the pepper mill.  Lovely.


About theparttimevegetarian

A part-time vegetarian since 2008 when my wife decided to go veggy, I've worked hard to ensure our diet remains interesting, tasty and avoids any bland vegeburgers. I sometimes write about food, but a foodie blog this ain't. If you like this blog please Like my Facebook page:
This entry was posted in Pasta, pesto, Recipe, Vegetarianism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Back to school

  1. youfatfoodie says:

    Ooh, that looks tasty. I shall be trying that. And if it is as tasty as it looks I might even forgive you for linking to the Daily Mail.

  2. Debbie says:

    Great stuff, I am hoping youfatfoodie will make some for my supper in the coming weeks 🙂

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