Still Here!

IMG_8275IMG_8302This year, I was the Wicked Witch of the East for Halloween without even realizing. We were in a rush to get out the door, I hadn’t even planned to dress up at all, then I put on that fabulous nose just for kicks, and when there was a leftover wig, I grabbed it too, on an impulse.

Trick-or-treating is a completely different thing in the U.S. than it is here in Europe (duh, you say) – the effort people make with their costumes, and the open house atmosphere, the general joy and goofiness is really heartwarming. One family installed a huge Zozobra in their front yard, complete with a gloom box. Whether they actually set fire to him, I don’t know, maybe that happened later on, but he was scary and beautiful even when he wasn’t burning! Anyway, I grabbed that wig on a last minute impulse, and ended up having great fun with my silverfoxy mane while strolling around the neighborhood chaperoning two young’uns on their quest for candy. IMG_7362.JPGHere they are, dressed up as Chewbaccas, dubbed „The Wookie and his Cousin“ by the locals, and may I say they were very successful indeed and came home with _a lot_ of candy.

As you may have guessed, we spent the last two weeks of October with our folks in the States, in lovely Santa Barbara, CA. They were wonderful, generous hosts, and we had a great time, practically extending our summer by two weeks. Mostly, we did normal stuff (for there – obviously, the beach is usually not a part of our everyday city life here!). I wanted the kiddos to experience what their American family’s life is like. So we cooked, played games, grocery shopped, went to the farmers market, ate at their favorite burger, pizza and taco joints, enjoyed the year-round abundance of fresh (and tasty) fruit and vegetables, and of course we also stocked up on sunshine and spent as many hours as humanly possible by the always magnificent Pacific Ocean. My son surfed, my daughter and husband boogie-boarded. I tried it too, but got weirded out by the speed, man, those things can go fast! Absolutely not my bag. So I sat by the beach with my knitting, which of course is. So was walking Sully, my folks‘ supersonic Border Collie, caught here in repose – a rare occurrence with that gorgeous, hyper dog dude. On most other pics, all you see of him is a black and white flash.

IMG_8397The day after we arrived, my daughter turned ten. It was her birthday wish to go whale watching, so we got on a boat and spent four hours admiring those gorgeous (if smelly) creatures who came really close, being amazed at the many graceful dolphins who came even closer, and commiserating with the locals about the ugly oil rigs the ugly government recently had installed all along the coast. The little princess also got her ears pierced in Santa Barbara, here she is with her new cute little glittery rainbow flowers.

IMG_7463 The second weekend, we took a memorable trip up to Yosemite. There is a great deal of hype going on about that place, and I admit I was a bit indifferent about going at first. Now, I’m so glad we went, because despite it being such a corny line I read in one of the brochures, Yosemite does change you. Walking through the forest, gazing up to the massive El Capitan and Half-Dome granite rocks and watching the sunset from Glacier Point was just as awe-inspiring as my visit to the grand Canyon decades ago had been.

That said, my personal highlight was Mariposa Grove, hands down, walking in the presence of giants: the sequoias.

IMG_8162Some of them have been around for more than 2000 years, and they’re as tall as 25-story buildings. It’s hard to put into words what a quiet, commanding presence they have. They seem powerful and gentle, and unlike the rocks, I didn’t find them threatening. Much like you would in a cathedral or museum, we automatically spoke in hushed voices (little else but monosyllabic ‚wow’s, ’see that’s, and deep sighs), sat down every once in a while and soaked up the vibes of the ancient. It was a spiritual experience, and a happy, happy day for me.

A good thing to remember on Thanksgiving – happy Turkey Day to those of you out there who are celebrating today :-).

Upon returning to Santa Barbara, we did a few more mundane things like shopping and walking Sully and spending every minute we could by the beach before heading back to LAX, taking the scenic 101 by the coast. Two days later that very highway was up in flames, so I’m calling that great timing. Our folks are not affected this time around, another thing to be thankful for.

Settling back in, I’ve been doing new client acquisition (sigh), taxes (sigh again), and prepping for the upcoming annual Winter Fayre at my son’s Waldorf school (yay)!

IMG_4519Making little snowflake dudes like I already showed you last year;

IMG_8546Crocheting potholders that are both functional and cool looking (in my opinion anyway);

IMG_8527Crocheting adorable egg warmers, resurrecting a design I had already made a few years back, using natural fibers this time (never any other way again!).

Since my son’s class is in charge of the espresso bar this time, we obviously needed to make Cantuccini cookies in advance, their being vegan a nod to the classmates having chosen that lifestyle as much as a necessity, because the regular recipe was a disaster!

The Fayre’s day after tomorrow, so we’ll be doing little else the next two days. After that, there will be more work on ‚my‘ new book; I was asked to translate a romance novel by Amy Lane, and even though it’s very much a grown-up love story, most of it takes place in a (Californian ;-)) high school, so my young adults itch will be scratched too.

In case you were wondering what I was doing with myself all this time since my last post in late August, I was working, handling some school kerfuffle and doing more mom/little people stuff than usual. For the most part, I was editing the heck out of the cowboy novel manuscript I had due shortly before leaving for the States, which culminated in a week all by my lonesome out in our cottage, better to focus on the manuscript without having to deal with kids, household and school matters. I buckled down, and it was a very productive week indeed. Except for a stroll before sundown, I didn’t really leave the house.

Manuscript submitted, we packed, bought gifts, organized cat-sitting and away we went – and the rest you know.

You guys in California, if you read this: thank you again. We miss you!

Advertisements

Luxury Problem

IMG_6672I _almost_ feel bad because of what I’m about to do: lament the summer vacation’s being over. Gone are the days of daily swimming, crafting whenever I felt like it, no parents rep responsibilities, actually no responsibilities period, beyond being with the kids and catering to everybody’s culinary and recreational whims. Sigh.

It sounds like a lazy time, reading through that first paragraph, and some days were certainly slow-paced enough to call them lazy. Not that we actually did _nothing_ that much. There was swimming, playing, reading, cooking and baking, and I actually managed to finish sweet A.’s sheets, check ‚em out: IMG_6659Doing the math makes me realize what took so long. I was going to have the project finished by mid July, and I was done with the crochet part by then. But: Darning in threads in 60 crochet flowers (4 apiece) takes time, and is extremely tedious work. I was done with that by early August. Then there was the color sequence to figure out. Thankfully, I had help with that:IMG_6638Once that was done, the flowers pinned to the sheets, there was the step I dreaded even more than darning in threads: stitching the flowers to the bedsheets.IMG_6691I don’t know why I don’t mind knitting or crocheting for hours but find sewing so painful – but it is what it is. Some days, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I guess that qualifies as lazy all right ;-)). But in the end, the flowers were in place and the pins back in their glass jar, so. IMG_6731Now all I need to do is pack up the sheets and send them on their way so A. and her husband can have sweet dreams in them :-).

I saw less of some friends over the vacation weeks than I would have liked, and more of others than I would have thought, and, oddly, I did not miss the city one bit. I’ve been back for a couple days now, and although I appreciate the restaurant and organic foods situation, as well as being able to hit the stores for my kids who managed to grow over the six weeks like you wouldn’t believe, I can’t help wishing I was back at the cottage and packing up the swimming gear,IMG_6676goofing around with my baby girl

or baking with my boy

Instead, this morning my husband took the red-eye, the kids trotted off to school heaving long-suffering sighs at having to be up at the ungodly hour of 7 a m, and I have a translation to sink my teeth back into. I also am really and truly all by myself for the first time in weeks.

Although the heat called for a lot of fruit and salad, cooking did occur. For instance, I made a somewhat unorthodox quiche-like affair with store-bought puff-pastry dough:IMG_6441Leeks, chanterelle mushrooms, cashews, cheese, eggs and cream, and no crust to prepare – that was one easy dinner right there.

My new favorite salad is this:
IMG_4868It’s boiled green beans, blanched and seeded tomatoes (great for using up tasty, over-ripe ones that have become too squishy for regular salad), a chopped shallot and olive oil. Salt and pepper. Lovely as a side dish for barbecuing, or with a pasta dish, or all on its own.

Also worth mentioning because it’s such an old favorite of mine I had all but forgotten about: the Taco Salad :-). Our friendship stems from my healthy-diet-be-damned, happy-hour-after-work-heavy advertising days in the Nineties. Every once in a while, it’s a very happy Tex-Mex indulgence, even though I wash it down with iced tea instead of Margaritas, these days.IMG_6207.JPGIt’s easy enough to make, if you want to try.

Tempting Taco Salad

1 head iceberg lettuce, cut into strips

5 tomatoes, cubed

1 can chili beans

1 can corn

1 store-bought salsa

1 bag corn chips

large handful of grated cheese

1 container sour cream

200 g ground beef, browned in olive oil with a chopped shallot, a handful chopped cilantro, seasoned with chili flakes, cinnamon, cumin, salt, sugar and pepper

After browning and seasoning the meat, layer (in a glass bowl for a better visual, if you have one) from bottom to top:

shredded lettuce

meat

chili beans

corn

salsa

sour cream

tomatoes

cheese

one half of the chips, crumbled

Decorate with a row of whole tortilla chips all around the rim of the bowl and sprinkle with pepper. Serve with extra chips & salsa, queso if you’re so inclined, and guac.

There. Now my lunch-break is officially over, and I’m hungry. Go figure!

Have a great week everyone, and smile at a picture my kids took after I failed to clean up after myself like I usually scold them for doing:IMG_6671No worries though, my legs are still their regular shape :-).IMG_E6727To Berlin-based readers, happy first day of school, and to everyone, enjoy another week of this spectacular late summer.

 

Summer Appreciation Post

IMG_6363Welcome to serenity;-).

This is what I see when I spread out my blanket at ‚our‘ spot by the lake. Isn’t it beautiful? I’m always astonished at how few people come here, but of course I’m not complaining. To the contrary, I’m deeply thankful we get to have this place to ourselves more often than not.IMG_2394As you can guess, we have moved our life out to the country cottage for the next few weeks, and so far it’s been pretty chill. We’ve done the things we usually do when we’re here: Walk in the forest, swim in the lake, find mushrooms, cook, grill, sleep in, play games, sit by a fire, gaze at the stars at night. Our lazy routine is punctuated by the kids‘ sudden cravings for favorite foods, or certain things that need to be eaten because nature or the garden supply them.

When we found chanterelle mushrooms after the rain last week, we made the best fanfuckingtastic grilled cheese from them, see above. Pimped with green onions and fresh rosemary, yum.

The above are plum dumplings, one of my childhood favorites. I learned how to make them at an early age, since they were one of my Dad’s specialties. It’s not difficult, albeit a messy process. Consisting of a mashed potato, flour and egg gnocchi dough wrapped around a plum and boiled in salt water, they’re breaded in buttered breadcrumbs and eaten with a bit of sugar. The kids just like to roll ‚em in the stuff as you can see above, and depending on the type of plum you use, it may be necessary too.

Other Parents Have Time to Cook foods are: lasagna, pancakes for breakfast, as well as, notably, my husband’s Jewish pizza topped with chanterelle mushrooms, what a treat that was! I was going to take a picture but the pizza was gone so fast I didn’t have a chance. So sorry, maybe next time. But you get the idea – thin, crisp pizza dough topped with sour cream, onions, mushrooms and cheese – very good stuff.

IMG_E6285The above was my adaptation of a classic Arabic basbousa cake; I was inspired to make one myself when I read about it on Cleobuttera’s blog. Her recipe sounds very good, but that particular day I was dying to know whether it isn’t possible to add dark chocolate to the orange flavor, and use spelt semolina instead of the called for wheat. And what can I say? It was certainly a worth-while experiment.

As of late, I’ve become quite the home-made syrup buff, check out the flavors we made for the school fair in June (yellow is elder flower, red is raspberry), so the orange syrup part didn’t scare me.IMG_5955We ended up with a lovely melt-in-mouth dark chocolat-ey concoction soaked in sticky orange bliss. Nice with a glass of milk, black coffee, and (I was told) with a glass of fruity champagne. Not drinking much myself, these days, as my body does not appreciate it anymore. Who knew I’d end up becoming such a health nut??

We have a sweet four-legged visitor for a couple days who is making puppy dog eyes at me, urging me to leave the hammock I’ve been typing away in and take him for his midday run:IMG_6375Cooper is an Australian Shepherd, and he’s a very cute bundle of activity, this one. Since we also brought the cat, it’s an interesting experiment. So far, they’ve been giving each other the evil eye, and the kitty needs to be coaxed to come out of the house at all:

IMG_6369That hammock has become a favorite place to do favorite things in, here’s my new couch blanket coming along nicely, on DC row at a time.IMG_6297Have a beautiful summer, wherever you are and whatever your favorite seasonal activity may be. I’m off to the woods with a strapping, woofing young fellow now.

Detachment Part Two, and More Heat Eats

IMG_6111When I stumbled across this piece by André Aciman in the New York Times a while ago, it resonated with me, not only because of the example he gives (his boys have moved out…), but because it made me realize that I, too, tend to try and anticipate what bad things are going to feel like so I’ll be prepared when they happen. But while this type of emotional rehearsal may seem like a valid strategy to any constructive pessimist, it may ultimately prove futile. For despite all anticipation, there will always be stuff you hadn’t reckoned with: Life can and will whack you over the head with Unexpected Things.

Mr. Aciman advises to be thankful and enjoy the good things as they happen. It’s sound advice, too, for these precious moments of joy are the piggy-bank for coping with the times life will give you lemons and throw you curve-balls. img_2907.jpgRemember your first heartbreak? I’m sure you do. One moment you feel loved and happy and secure, and the next you get dumped, and realize that the person you cherished, relied on, and trusted in is yours no more. Long story short, apparently my son’s ex-girlfriend (bizarre consecutive words right there!) has fallen out of love with him over the course of her 3-month exchange in the UK, and ended their 2 1/2 year relationship. He didn’t see it coming, all seemed fine when he went to visit her over Easter, but that’s how it goes with still waters. I also remember how much can change over the course of such a long time. She’s made her decision, and he needs to accept that.

But boy, do I feel for my boy. He’s being very mature about it, for now. He says he’s sad, he certainly seems subdued, but he doesn’t want to talk about it much, not to me anyway. There’s a solid support system of friends. Maybe he talks to them, or he simply lets them take his mind off things. They got him to join a gym, which we support, and of course we also have his back. His baby sister makes him laugh, his cool daddy took him to the Long Night of the Sciences, and we’re going to have more mom and son dates again. Yesterday we cooked, and watched 2 episodes of vintage television, Deep Space Nine, which I can only hope he didn’t just do for my sake. He seemed to enjoy it.

Also, we’ve begun checking out our boxed up old vinyls, and of course I have a back story to each and every one! (The Cure’s Head on the Door album (went to see them live on stage for that tour, and Robert Smith said nothing at all to the audience other than hello, good night, and announcing one song with the words ‚this is the Kyoto Song, I’m sure you wouldn’t understand‘ ;-))! What do you think? Was he always like that on stage, or was he in a particularly weird mood that night? We found The Sonics‘ first album that opened my mind to garage rock with an unforgettable BANG, just listen to this: Psycho; and of course, courtesy of my music lover of a daddy, this hauntingly beautiful Étude by Alexander Scriabin. In the YouTube link, Vladimir Horowitz is playing – the recording my dad had was by Svjatoslav Richter, different but equally sublime. I could go on and on, but I’ll save that walk down memory lane for RL, I think.

So, the detachment business. Here’s what I’m doing right now:

a) Allow my boy to be in pain – I’ve passed on Prof. Pearlman’s advice from ‚Call Me By Your Name‘ (don’t snuff it out, let yourself feel it); who knew I’d need to quote this to my own kid so soon? And what a good thing I just read that wonderful book …

b) Get used to not having sweet St. around any longer, friend-zone or no friend-zone, things are probably going to be awkward for a while now.

c) Trust my son to cope with this by himself, and with a little help from his friends.

I don’t know if it’s even possible for a parent not to grieve by proxy, I don’t know how not to anyway. I know my son will be miserable for a while, but I also know he’ll learn something from this. And of course there will be quite a few who’ll happily console him if he lets them!

And since even heartbroken people need to eat, especially when they’re 16, how about a little comfort food that’s heat wave compatible? Have some

IMG_6121

Gigantes Bean Salad

Usually, I would use a can of tuna for this, but since I had run out and it was the weekend, here’s what I used instead. Sun-dried tomatoes, lemon stuffed Spanish olives and because this is me, capers;-), make for a lovely Mediterranean combination. Olive oil, dash of lemon juice, oregano and black pepper – and you’re done. No cooking required, always a plus when its more than 30 °C.

You will need:

Canned Gigantes beans, cooked

1 small shallot or onion, sliced or chopped

Handful of sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips

Handful of green olives, lemon stuffed and sliced

2 TBSP capers (recipe also works without these if you dislike the taste)

3 TBSP olive oil

A few squeezes of lemon juice, to taste

Very little salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 TBSP oregano, dried

Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl, season and let steep for a bit. Enjoy with or without crusty bread – from a nutritional point of view, it’s certainly unnecessary, but if it makes you happy, by all means, have some.

Thank you for reading, everyone, and have a good week!

Heat Wave Eats, Part Two

After two days of massive rain showers, temperatures have evened out to a pleasant 25 °C, and it felt like all living creatures breathed a sigh of relief. One definite upside of the heat last week was that it left the most perfect water temperatures at my favorite lake behind. Usually, I’m kind of squeamish when getting in there for the first time after the winter, but yesterday it was a real treat. Cool but not too cold, clear water, dragonflies buzzing lazily, and the lushest shades of green all over the foresty lakeshore (and since I couldn’t possibly not think about this wonderful summer song as I was typing this particular word, enjoy that: Lakeshore Drive).IMG_E6043And while husband and kids can handle solid food even when it’s 30 °C, I personally had little else but fruit, salad and yogurt over the past week. IMG_6008What you can see above is one of my secret weapons whenever the heat makes it unfathomable for me to even be in the kitchen with a lit stove. The white stuff is a sweet concoction based on our German cream cheese variety, which goes by the odd name of Quark; it’s not as solid as cream cheese, and when whipped up with an electric blender with some whipping cream, it can become as fluffy as a mousse.

Favorite Summer Dessert for Finicky Eaters

500 g Quark (cream cheese would work too if you can’t get it in your neck of the woods. 400 g cream cheese and 100 ml yogurt, in that case)

100 ml whipping cream

3 TBSP sugar (substitute with maple syrup or even Stevia or another sweetener to taste, if you prefer)

Bit of vanilla

Juice of 2 lemons

Bit of lemon zest to taste

Fresh berries of your choice

Put all ingredients (other than the berries) in a bowl and beat them into fluffiness using an electric blender. Put in the fridge for min. 1 hour – this is infinitely better when thoroughly chilled.

Wash berries and serve on the side in deference to particular eaters. Naming no names, there are some at our house who need all foods to be very clearly discernible from each other, and would refuse to eat this lovely dish if I were to add, say, blueberries right away…IMG_6004So while one person might have this, IMG_6007there are some who’d rather decide by the spoonful what they garnish their food with:IMG_6009Be that as it may, this Quark has proven to be a crowd pleaser many times over (it used to be a signature dish of mine when parent-cooking for the kindergarten), and it’s still a family favorite today.

There’s also a nice winter variety that I like to use freshly squeezed orange juice and orange fillets for, also quite good with cubed fresh mango as a topping.

Sorry I didn’t get around to do a write-up of this before. My Friday afternoon was all about new sensations, which I will probably be experiencing on the regular as of this month. It seems, dear friends, that the fates (and my daughter) have chosen to make me a HOCKEY MOM… IMG_6030That was me putting on a brave face of acceptance, sitting in front of the club house, nursing a diet soda and feeling like an impostor. Also a wee bit annoyed by the regulars, some of whom were drinking beers at 4 in the afternoon, I kid you not!, while unabashedly checking out the fresh meat. Ugh! Luckily, I had brought my crochet:IMG_6031Guess I showed them :-))!

Upside is they have WiFi, so this week, I’ll just bring my computer to the bleachers and do some work while the newest hockey enthusiast is having her fun (I’m so glad she chose a sport by herself, actually, and not something I made her try. A very good thing!)

Have a lovely week, everyone!

Heat Wave Eats, Part One

In Berlin, we’re experiencing very high temperatures for end of May. It’s gone up to 32 °C today and the brief mini storm only added humidity to the heat, sigh. My son took his beloved electric fan to school with him this morning because their classroom heats up so badly in the afternoons. He’s going to be one popular boy today ;-)).

Dishes best served cold are the go-to culinary strategy for this kind of weather, and there’s a few that I’d like to suggest, for enjoyable eats that won’t put you in a food coma as soon as you’ve swallowed the last bite.

The first thing that comes to mind is Gazpacho. I always have a craving for it in the summer, and I love how it’s filling but not heavy, in a wholesome, happy-making way, much like a salad. Come to think of it, it is a bit like a pureed salad! Here’s my version of this iconic Spanish veggie soup:

Cool as a Cucumber Gazpacho

1 red pepper, seeded

1 yellow pepper, seeded

1 cucumber, seeded

2 green onions

1 can tomato passata

6 TBSP tomato paste

500 ml tomato juice

1 stalk celery

1 lemon, squeezed

1 piece of chili

1 small clove garlic

8 TBSP olive oil

Salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, pinch of sugar

Peel, chop and place in a bowl the vegetables, tomato juice, paste and passata, olive oil, lemon juice and spices. Puree with a stick blender, thoroughly. Don’t forget to wear an apron, the stuff will spit.

Add more seasoning, lemon and oil to taste. Cover and place in the refrigerator for min. 2 hours.IMG_5999Make croutons from any leftover bread of your choice: Cube and fry in a pan in olive oil with a crushed clove of garlic until browned. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.

Serve gazpacho with a cold drink and more bread if you’re so inclined, or if you’re in a hurry, just pour a glass and enjoy like a smoothie. Consistency should be about the same.IMG_6002I’ll continue with cold food tomorrow. Dropping out of here again with a quick wave and some pics of my old lady of a cat and her own, very wise strategy for the heat: Do not move unless absolutely necessary.

 

Write What You Know

This is one of the things you frequently hear in creative writing classes. There seems to be a great deal of discord among writers on whether that’s BS or not, and I’m not even sure what my own stance would be if I actually were that kind of a writer, you know, of fiction, with stories to tell. Since I’m not, and blogging about practical, mundane stuff, I can certainly attest to this axiom being more than valid, especially when it comes to one of my pet topics, recipes. Imagine someone writing about how they think a cake should be made instead of documenting the correct ingredients, measurements, and method! Chances are the result would be a disaster, even though the text might be a fun, Doctor Seuss-like read, which would create modern art when put into practice.

I can assure you all the recipes I share on here have been tried and tested, as well as approved by an esteemed jury of family and friends before being published – and if I’m really lucky, the food is still sometimes called art ;-).

So, a word on peppers. I may have written about them before, and people who know me in RL are aware they’re not my favorite vegetable in the world. It’s true that they’re really healthy, and my family loves them, so I do buy peppers, but love them I do not. The notable exception are the little green pimientos you may be familiar with from tapas spreads – I do enjoy those. So when the three red peppers my husband had hopefully bought were staring me right in the face yesterday, and I found myself wishing they were little and green instead, I thought, why not pretend they are.

I prepared them exactly the same way I would go about making pimientos (place on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, roast in the oven). And what do you know? They turned out really good! And because my teenager was supposed to bring something for the cookout at his girlfriend’s and was too incapacitated by the previous night’s party to be of any use to me in the kitchen, I took pity on him, let him rest for a bit, and threw together this pasta salad with roasted peppers:

IMG_5973.JPGIt was a nice, summery side dish for their barbecue. Incidentally, it was vegan, also – it’s one of their friends‘ chosen lifestyle, and I try to respect that when cooking for those kids. So, grated Parmesan cheese on the side. But interestingly enough, nobody seems to have missed it because they completely forgot to add it :-).

Pimiento-Style Peppers Pasta Salad

In the spirit of exactness, you will need:

400 g pasta

2 cloves garlic

3 red peppers

4 – 5 TBSP olive oil

salt

pepper

Small handful of pine nuts, roasted

A few leaves of fresh basil, cut into thin strips

Wash peppers, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place in a hot oven and roast for about 15 minutes, until their skin starts to blister. Turn down heat and let roast another 5 minutes. In the meantime, boil water for pasta, crush garlic and roast pine nuts in a frying pan.

Combine in your salad bowl: Olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, pepper and roasted pine nuts. Take the peppers out of the oven and set aside in a covered dish for a few minutes. Then seed the peppers and peel the parts of the skin that come off easily. Cut into 1 cm wide strips. Cook the pasta al dente, strain and let cool for a bit.

Add everything to the bowl, mix and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Finally, add the basil strips. This salad is very good while still slightly warm, but can be prepared in advance and eaten as a cold side dish. Hot or cold, enjoy!

And that’s what I call a productive lunch break right there! Have a good week, stitch readers.