I do love a recipe with a weird title, and this one was rustled up on One Cold British Night to much acclaim.  I had a DINNER GUEST.  This is such a rare occurrence in pandemic times that I was excited for days beforehand.

There is a feeling here in the UK at the moment that we should enjoy these kinds of freedom while we can. Before Boris slams the iron door again…

So it was that my beloved Sanja came over with a fancy bottle of Italian wine, two packs of sausages, some tomatoes, a bunch of asparagus, and lots of other goodies.  She had roasted and jarred her own red peppers for this recipe and they were BRRRRRILLIANT.  This is one of the words I love to hear Sanja say (and she does say it quite a bit). It also wasn’t very long before she uttered her catchphrase and general philosophy on life, “Oh, who bloody cares?”  BRRRRRILLIANT.

What was also brilliant was cooking together.  We stood side by side at my kitchen counter chopping things up and cackling with laughter.  I had made focaccia to a recipe by Ma Baker for the “Italian bread” part of the recipe

and I had Raffaella Cara lined up on the kitchen record player as this record is something we both have an enduring love for.  Don’t know this one?  Please spend 2.42 watching this piece of pure art. Every time I watch it I want to learn the dance routine.

I haven’t seen Sanja since my hen night in pre-plague times so there was a lot to catch up on.  Or was there?  We both admitted that we hadn’t really been doing much.  Sanja said that she was having to watch out lest she becomes HOUSE PROUD.  No chance of that here.

or any day.

My favourite bit of our mad conversations was when I asked Sanja if she’d come to see me when I lived on the houseboat.  She told me that she had, and in fact, had stayed the night.  I was amazed by this, the boat was tiny and I didn’t remember any friends staying over (plenty of unsuitable MEN but that’s another story).

“Did I have a sleeping bag?  Did you sleep on the floor of the front bit?”  I asked, “No!” she yelled, “I slept on the sofa.  On the sofa, because I am SHORT!”  She then jumped up from the table and bent over and touched her toes, saying,  “I can do this not because I am supple, but because my legs are short!”

What a glorious thing it is to laugh your head off for hours on a WEEKNIGHT.  It’s true that Mr R makes me laugh from the minute I see him on a Friday night, to the minute he takes his leave on Sunday.  But it does feel like the rest of the time I am living like a nun.  In a vow of silence with no laughter.

I am going to plan more cooking together sessions with Sanja for sure.  It was an absolute tonic.

And what of Joe’s dish?  We LOVED IT.  As we chomped our way through it, we kept saying how delicious it was.  When we were making it, we thought the idea of making a cold salad then mixing hot pasta through it was weird.  But it WORKED.

We could taste lots of different flavours with each mouthful, it’s a genius little recipe and much recommended by both of us.  As a bonus, the dish was neither hot nor cold – great for someone (me) who has had a toothache for about a month…  Thanks, Joe!

Joe was in Murder, She Wrote

(as well as my beloved Rockford Files, of course)

so this recipe is destined for the Murder, She Cooked book.  There are still a few recipes up for grabs if you’d like to test one and be featured in the book.  Skip over here for the list.

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