It's the winter holidays.
It's freezing cold outside.
We're all a little over eating rice cakes and traditional New Year's foods three meals a day.
What to have for tea.....
I have an under-utilised pasta maker....
Hey girls- lets make pasta for tea!!
So at about 5 o'clock Amy and I headed to the kitchen.
Meg wanted to finish her picture she was drawing first and K was outside in the gloaming chopping wood.
Amy was very impressed that I was pouring flour straight on the table and then cracking eggs into it.
Impressed and a little excited at how naughty it was- you forgot the BOWL mummy!!!
By the time we'd got a dough and were kneading half each for three minutes then swapping so that I could make sure Amy's half got a good go over too Meg had joined us.
While resting the dough we started the sauce with me finding a frozen block of tomatoes in the big freezer and the girls chopping onions and pumpkin, and I went on a high and low search for the pasta machine. Three cupboards and a couple of discoveries later (I found and discarded a sippy cup that hasn't been used for at least four years and realised we have not one but two fondue sets that have not only never been used but that I didn't even realise we had!) I found the pasta machine.
It won't attach to our table so we attach it to the benchseat and just work at thigh height.
It went pretty well.
As well as cooking with a 6 and 8 year old goes.
They took turns putting the dough through, cranking the handle and helping the dough out the other side of the machine.
What I forgot was how long it takes.
All that resting and rolling and folding and rolling and etc.
Amy reading her book while waiting for one of the resting periods to end.
When we had finally cut the first batch of fettucine I realised we had nowhere to hang it. There were pasta sheets drying in various stages of done-ness here there and everywhere and flour absolutely everywhere and we still hadn't finished the sauce and we had about four strands of undried and uncooked pasta each to show for ourselves.
Luckily K had given up on chainsawing in the dark and come in. Credit to him he didn't faint when he saw the state of the kitchen and washed up and rolled up his sleeves and helped out. We now had a sauce maker and pasta drier maker. Gaffer taped some bars to the table and ran them to the hutch and we were in business.
The poor kitchen
Set Amy up making pumpkin ravioli (she is very precise and patient and perfect for fiddly jobs) and Meg and I continued fettucine production. K made sauce from the tomatoes I froze in the summer and the onion the girls had cut up and forgot to add the garlic Amy brought in from the storage but hey.
fettucine and ravioli and the empty plate after we ate the first batch of ravioli in brown butter as a chef's snack to get us through the end of the process
We had a couple of disasters- Amy over egged the ravioli wrappers and some of them glued themselves to the table and Meg put unfloured dough through the pasta machine and gummed it up and I forgot to season the pumpkin but hey. Nothing we couldn't fix with a little intuition and a lot of time.
And so at almost eight o'clock, two hours past tea time, an hour past bedtime and almost three hours after we started we finally sat down to pasta:
Poor Amy was so exhausted she was just over everything
It looked pretty authentic...
And even Amy perked up!
Phew. It was really yum. Even if I do say so myself. And we all had fun. The girls were thrilled and it was a real family production.
But when we were talking about how (some) Italian people do that every day and I mentioned that pasta isn't even the main meal in Italy and that they would make 'Il secondo' as well as pasta and salad and of course dessert they just looked at me bug-eyed.
And we all took a moment of silence in respect of Italians who are seriously awesome to manage all that.
Because while we loved our yummy fresh pasta meal, our pasta machine has been lovingly wiped down and safely packed away again and I can assure you it won't be coming out again for the next little while at least!