It has not stopped raining for days. I was worried about Tory Girl’s two-hour drive home yesterday but she was fine. I’m not so sure her stomach is after three days of eating my food. I intended to make lasagne for her first day but her sister, not realising that young women in love need to be at their boyfriend’s mum’s house as early as possible on the first day of a visit, had accidentally taken the car keys with her. I shelved the good food and made us egg and beans on toasty buns instead. I had to go for the simple meal because nothing was defrosted except the mince for the lasagne…on such trifles does the world that is my own personal horror movie turn.
My original intention was to impress her with my lasagne on its own but you and I both know that was never going to happen, so I decided to accessorise the meal with a fresh salad and some buns. You may recall we ate the buns the previous day, under egg and beans. Not a problem: lasagne, fresh salad and some frozen roast potatoes that my brother had sent with his children and which I had forgotten to use. So, lasagne, fresh salad and ready-made roast potatoes. Trouble is, whenever I put on an oven and throw roast potatoes into the mix, my reflex is to include as many cooked vegetables as I have in my freezer, and I had prepared parsnips, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, peas, and sweetcorn before it occurred to me we were supposed to be having salad. That’s why there were no sprouts, which led to complaints from Spud; but he’s always complaining so I wasn’t listening.
Talking of carrots, they weren’t just any carrots; they weren’t even M&S carrots: they were organic, home-grown in a pot by the Hub carrots – his first crop (apart from the one radish and two spring onions I’ve already eaten).
Don’t be fooled by the excellent photography: once prepared, and without being peeled, the whole lot fit into my gerbil’s hand. But they were delicious.
So there we were: lasagne, roast potatoes and a thousand vegetables. Only the lasagne wasn’t quite made…I went to the cupboard while cooking the roux sauce but the cupboard was bare except for three little sheets like these:
I kicked the poor Hub off his sick couch and sent him haste post haste (that is, a sort of painful shuffle, like a tortoise with a walking stick) to the supermarket to buy some lasagne sheets, praying that the roux sauce wouldn’t congeal or my hair go any greyer while he was gone. I tidied up while I was waiting, and that’s when I noticed the box of lasagne sheets I had already taken from the cupboard with the other ingredients. Now I had to decide whether to hide that box or risk the Hub’s wrath. Figuring I was already so wound up that a good row would relieve my overstretched nerves, I flung the truth at him when he got back, only to be disappointed because he simply rolled his eyes at me and heaved his sore bones back to the couch from whence he came.
So: lasagne in the oven; potatoes roasted; vegetables cooked; throw in a bowl of rice at the last minute and everything was ready to serve. Umm, potatoes look a little dry, not being home-made, so I’ll make a jug of instant gravy.
When we lived in South Africa I was always begging people to send me British instant gravy but by the time we returned to the UK I had learned how to make it (the Hub is a great cook; and a great teacher when we’re on speaking terms) and didn’t buy it for years, until it occurred to me to have it in as a standby for when I forgot to buy cornflour (for thickening home-made gravy) or for occasions such as these when common sense had gone in the bin with the carrot tops.
Thus it was that Tory Boy spent the whole meal repeating in a squeak, ‘Lasagne…and gravy??‘ and Tory Girl preferred to drive home up a busy motorway in teeming rain rather than face another weird meal.
They were lucky to get any at all: taking the lasagne out of the oven straight to table, the dish was hot even through the gloves and the Hub was in my way; I squealed, a la Road Runner, ‘Meep, meep..moooove!’ at him and he just got out of the way before I threw it on the table.
And you know what? I was right: the potatoes were dry; lucky we had some gravy to go with it.