I didn’t raise my Archie to be cruel. But a few days ago he was watching some old home videos. And the video footage isn’t that old; just 18 years old which went by like three or four.
But he came down from his bunker and said, ‘Mum, I’m really shocked; I’ve just been looking at videos of you from years ago and you actually used to be a really good sort; I had no idea’. Not only was he shocked that I was once ‘a sort’, he also referred to me in the past tense like the me of 18 years ago has nothing in common with the current apparition standing before him. I could have slapped him. I blame the beard; Archie’s been really strange since he became hairy.
But I can’t blame beards for thoughtless comments because he’s dropped some clangers long before he was even capable of sprouting a whisker. Back when he was 12 and I was in hospital having just given birth to all 10 pounds of Alfie, he came with his father to take me home. I’d had the four-night stay in hospital and time was up and they were throwing me out. (They’re very keen to get rid of you when you have a baby. I’d barely delivered the placenta when someone breezed into the room saying, ‘So, have you thought about going home?’)
Anyway, I went into the bathroom to change out of my very comfortable pyjamas and put on a post-pregnancy outfit. It was a button-down blouse to make it easy for breast-feeding and an elasticised skirt to fit around my protruding and flabby stomach. I looked at myself in the mirror and tears welled in my eyes caused by a lack of sleep, crashing hormones and a body that showed no signs of bouncing back into shape.
I didn’t want Archie to see me all upset so I dried my eyes and came out of the bathroom with a forced smile. He looked at me and his eyes followed me around the room and then he said, ‘Mum, have you thought about wearing a girdle?’
I have never, ever, let him forget it.
Despite my son considering me washed-up and spent, I thought I’d share with you a Spring salad that’s full of young fresh vegetables all in the prime of their youth. I made it for the five-sibling catch-up lunch we enjoyed on the weekend and it was greatly appreciated and there was not a single pea leftover. The dressing is made with pomegranate molasses and is beautifully tangy which is so lovely with the saltiness of the haloumi. Do make sure you don’t over-cook the greens or they will lose their vibrant colour and turn old and grey and shrivelled up and be so much less desirable like middle-aged mothers. This salad is perfect for a bar-be-cue.
- 2 bunches asparagus spears, washed and woody ends snapped off
- 2 cups frozen baby peas (or you can use fresh)
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 1 packet haloumi cheese cut into 1cm thick slices
- 2 tbspn extra virgin olive oil plus extra
- 2 tbspn pomegranate molasses
- 1 tbspn lemon juice
- sea salt and black pepper
- Cut the asparagus spears in half.
- Fill a medium-sized saucepan with an inch of water and bring to boil with 1 tspn of salt. Throw in asparagus spears and return to the boil. Boil for 1-minute only then drain and place in a bowl of iced water to arrest the cooking.
- Refill saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Add peas and return to the boil. Cook for 1-minute only then drain and add to ice bath.
- When the asparagus and peas are chilled, drain well and place in a large salad bowl with mint leaves and toss to combine.
- Place a medium-sized saucepan on high heat and add extra olive oil. When hot, add haloumi and cook on both sides until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Cut cheese into squares and add to salad.
- For the dressing:
- Combine oil, molasses and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Season. Pour over salad and serve immediately.
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