One of the happy little things about living in a warmer climate is the abundance of herbs I've been able to grow in my garden. I remember too well the desperate attempts at growing basil in my old Wellington veggie patch - the tiny seedling that refused to grow, the scrawny stem, the burst of leaves just before it died completely. Here I have too much basil. It's taking over everything else and starting to flower so this morning I decided to cut it back and make some pesto to freeze for the winter.
This sounds like a merry way to spend a sunny morning doesn't it. It would have been if my normally compliant, sweet tempered little boy hadn't deserted us in the night leaving his defiant, bossy, and downright rude lookalike in his place. After a tense visit to the mall this morning to buy birthday presents for two, yes TWO birthday parties my son has been invited to on Saturday, I was in no mood to put up with his shenanigans. Besides, I had it in my head that I wanted to make pesto.
Distraction is always a good tool to have in your parenting belt. I felt quite smug as I walked out of The Reject Shop with a $2 clay dinosaur egg, complete with little digging tool and brush to excavate the dinosaur bones. I had visions of him sitting at the table, completely enthralled by chipping away little bits of clay, excited to find the bones underneath. When we got home I set him up with it and went outside to collect and wash my basil.
As soon as my pine nuts hit the hot pan I heard the first "Mum.... can you...." behind me. Now, pine nuts cost a lot of money, and they like to burn if you allow yourself to be distracted for even a second. I ignored him. "Muuuuummmmmmmmmm I caaaaaan't doooooo it!" Fine. I went over and starting chipping some clay off the admittedly very hard egg while popping back to shake my pan of pine nuts every few seconds. It was ages before we found a bone. By now my already wound up 3 year old had well and truly lost his patience. The clay was firing off in all directions leaving a layer of brown dust all over the table, the floor, and me. I smelled something burning. You guessed it.
So now I was whizzing basil in my very small kitchen whizz thing, picking out burnt pine nuts, digging for dinosaur bones, and blowing my son's nose every 5 seconds because it was "making a noise". After 5 minutes of this I'd had enough. We took the egg outside and threw the blimmin thing on the concrete.
But it still didn't split open. And I wanted to make the pesto darn it. But I was not inside happily making my pesto, I was outside mucking about with a ball of concrete masquerading as a kids toy. HOW do they expect CHILDREN to do this??? I yelled at nobody. Well I thought nobody was listening but then I heard a rustle from across the fence. My neighbour has a talent for being outside at the exact time that I lose my temper with the kids; when one of them hits the other and starts World War III; or most famously the time our cat caught a big ugly rat and set us all off into hysterics. I don't want to know what she thinks of us.
Finally after the 20th throw I saw a glimpse of a tail bone in the clay and managed to chisel out the rest of them. Of course the dinosaur bones would be wonky and not stay together, and my son would feel compelled to pull them apart every 30 seconds for me to put back together again. Should I feel guilty that I bought one of these eggs from the devil as a present for Saturday?
Never mind. The basil, pine nut, Parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and lemon zest were combined in the end.
Now onto the hummus.....