Dates Wrapped in Prosciutto and Illegal Acts

Today was Arabella’s HSC Drama Examination and no surprise, we’ve had plenty of drama.

Fresh dates stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in proscuitto

She had to be at school before 7am for a final rehearsal.  At 7.01am she phoned to say she’d forgotten part of her costume – the riding jacket.

‘Mum, could you bring it down to the school like now?’ she asked, all stressed.

‘Can’t you just come back and get it?  I haven’t even had a shower.’

‘No.  I have to rehearse with my group now.  I can’t let them down.  Can dad bring it?’

‘He’s gone for a swim.’

‘What about Archie?’

‘He didn’t come home last night.’

‘Mum, I have to have it.  Can you just come now?  And can you bring my dark lipstick?  I forgot that too.  I really need it.  It’s in my top drawer and it’s in a black and red case’.  I so badly wanted to give her a thrashing and ask her where her head was at but realising that in one hour she would be on stage performing a seven-minute monologue and a seven-minute group performance in front of the Board of Studies, I restrained myself.  But I was seriously tempted given that yesterday I had an SOS call from her saying, ‘Mum, I forgot my Drama Logbooks and they have to be in today.  I’d walk back and get them but I’d be in really big trouble for leaving the school grounds if I was caught so could you just bring them down to me?’

And Arabella knows I don’t have a Driver’s Licence.  Somehow it went under the radar that it expired on July 5 so for the past six weeks I’ve been driving illegally.  Me!  Doing illegal things!  In my 40’s!

So I said to Arabella, ‘Okay, I’ll come down.  I’ll just have a quick shower.  But I’ll have to walk because I don’t have a licence.’  And in my 30-second shower it occurred to me that on my on-foot excursion down to Arabella’s school I would be leaving Alfie home-alone.  That’s another crime.  With that and driving without a licence that’s two illegal acts in less than a week.

Blood Orange Chocolate Salad

I put on my exercise pants and my joggers and found the bloody riding jacket and the ultra-dark lipstick and told Alfie not to let strangers into the house and power walked down the hill to Arabella’s school.  I found her in the Year 12 Common Room rehearsing.  She and the rest of her group were doing so well.  Except Arabella had a raspy voice.  ‘I’m losing my voice, mum’.

‘Yes, but don’t worry, I’m sure it will hold out.  Have some water and rest it.  No more yelling’.  She rehearsed for six hours yesterday and I’m sure she did too much yelling.  And you would remember that the performance is quite vocal because the police have already turned up to one of the rehearsals.

I gave her a hug and told her she’d be brilliant then marched back up the hill in time to take Alfie to school.

A delicious appetiser I found on Eva’s ‘Kitchen Inspirations’

I hadn’t been home five minutes when there was a call from Arabella.  She’d done her group performance and all four girls were happy.  They believe it had gone well.  Arabella rasped, ‘Mum, the girls want to go out for lunch after this as a celebration.  Would you be able to drop down some money so I can go with them?’

And I didn’t want to be mean because it has been a very stressful and anxious day so I agreed.  I said, ‘Okay, but I’m just getting some confit duck legs in the oven for tonight’s dinner party and then I’m going to the RTA to renew my licence so I’ll be there after that’.

‘How long will that take?’

‘About two hours’.

‘The girls will be going before then.’

‘Okay Arabella, that’s fine.  I’ll come to you and then go to the RTA’.  And I didn’t want to get her all stressed as she still had to perform her monologue so I refrained from mentioning that by going to the RTA via the school, I would be committing another illegal act as you are only allowed to drive without a licence if going directly to the RTA.

I committed my third illegal act in less than a week and drove to the RTA and somehow managed a brilliant park, right outside their doors.  I paid the $4.50 parking fee then walked up to the doors only to discover it was closed.  A sign was on the door saying, ‘Temporarily Closed due to Construction Noise’.  Of course.  Why should public servants have to work in a noisy environment!  The next-closes’ RTA office was too far away for me to be able to get there and back in time to rescue my duck legs from the oven so I committed another illegal act and drove myself home.

And Arabella phoned a little disappointed in her performance but relieved it’s all over and there’s nothing more she can do.  She’s off to lunch while I pray for some uninterrupted time to prepare for my dinner party.

I’m serving a canape I saw on Eva’s blog, Kitchen Inspirations.  It’s fresh dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in proscuitto and cooked until the proscuitto is crispy and the cheese slightly melted.  Then I’m serving confit duck legs with potato gratin and braised red cabbage.

As the main course is fairly rich, I thought a fresh and light dessert might be welcoming so I’m making a dessert from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Kitchen. 

A lovely, refreshing dessert

Clementine Chocolate Salad

Serves: 4

Degree of Difficulty:  3/5

Cost:  Make when citrus is in season and it’s very affordable.

  • 8 clementines (I couldn’t buy clementines so used blood oranges instead)
  • 1 large handful of flaked almonds
  • 10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
  • 6 tbspns caster sugar
  • 4 tbspns water
  • seeds from a vanilla pod
  • 100g best-quality chocolate (70% cocoa solids), shaved

Peel the clementines, slice across thinly and remove the pips.  Arrange on 4 plates and sprinkle over the almonds and mint.  Bring the sugar and water to the boil, add the vanilla seeds and allow to simmer until the liquid becomes a light golden syrup.  Try not to touch it too much at this stage.  Drizzle the syrup over the clementines and top with the shaved chocolate before serving.

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  1. Arabella has you coming and going legal or not. One of these days she will need something and no one will be there. Better sooner than later. Just a thought.

  2. The Squishy Monster says:

    I love that you always place a personal touch on your food posts….loving the sweet & savory bits 😉

  3. haha. I drove with an expired license for about a month…i mean you’re safe unless you do something illegal WHILE driving and they pull you over. Anyway, you’re a very nice mom! This salad looks really interesting and delicious.

  4. How lovely of you for the wonderful shout-out! I really appreciate it. Weren’t the dates just divine? It was Kristy’s recipe from a restaurant that she and Mike tried (eat, play, love The salty and sweet and tangy combos are quite wonderful; I hope your dinner party guests really enjoy them.
    Our licensing bureau sends out a form to remind us about a month or so before our license expires; and here you wouldn’t want to let it expire as it is my belief you would have to start from scratch to get it back! I hope it went smoothly for you.
    I once wrote a paper for uni about a month early. Of course the day it was due, it sat innocently in my desk drawer. I had to drive 45 minutes back home after the class (around 10pm) to turn it in. I’m glad I have more wits about me now-a-days, course, they are numbered! 😉
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  5. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    The dessert looks fabulous. What a wonderful combination of flavors.

  6. Wow my friend, the illegal activity you do for your kids 😛
    You are a great mother 😀 – definite devotion and love!

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    You are a Saint doing all that you do.
    Your dinner party menu sounds positively heavenly, except for the blue cheese that is – sadly I am not a fan.
    🙂 Mandy

  8. Oh my gosh, I’m such a goody-two-shoes abut driving but I’ve twice got parking tickets for completely accidentally being in the wrong place for, I kid you not, one minute the first time and three minutes the second time. I wish I’d had blue cheese and dates to calm down with.

  9. Glamorous Glutton says:

    You’re a very good mother to do all that fetching and carrying. How did Arabella do? Thank goodness we don’t have to renew our drivers licence here until we’re in our 70s! I struggle to remember the MOT and insurance, it would be just one more thing to forget. GG

  10. Charlie darling, you need a stiff drink and a lie down. I can’t believe after all this you were hosting a dinner party! xx

  11. The “It never stops” is always on my mind when I read your posts!
    I love blood oranges they look so dramatic! Have a nice and peaceful weekend Charlie!

  12. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    That was beautifully written, Charlie. Wonderful.

    That salad looks like a perfect match for your menu, plus it is interesting as well; but I’m holding out for the confit of duck legs!

  13. I’m amazed you’re not worn to frazzle with all these demands on your time. Or have a serious drinking problem. 🙂

  14. I’m surprised you’re not worn to a frazzle with all these demands on your time. Or have a serious drinking problem.

  15. A crim?? You’re nearly a crim??? I wouldn’t believe it if you hadn’t told us yourself. I did laugh. A couple of months ago I needed to give my licence to join one of the local surf clubs and it wasn’t there. I panicked. Then I drove around illegally for weeks until I decided I’d risked it enough. Paid $68.50 for a new licence!

    The following day… John comes in and says, “Why is your licence in the scanner?” Then he laughed at me.

    Jamie loves clementines and so do I. Your dinner party sounds divine and I want to try those date beauties too.

  16. That all looks wonderful! What a good mum you are! I would have done the “no you can get it yourself!”

  17. Oh Charlie! I have lost count of the illegal acts! I am sure there should be a driving category for busy mothers who have no other choice, even if their license has expired. I hope you get it sorted soon – and I am very glad Arabella’s performance is over, for her sake and everyone else’s 🙂 Well done to her.

  18. yummychunklet says:

    Love the dates!

  19. InTolerant Chef says:

    I’m sure Arabella would come see you in the Big House Charlie. Actually as there are specific visiting days, you might get to see more of Archie too 🙂
    I couldn’t smuggle a file in to you in the Clementine dessert though, it would Judy have to be a great big cake!

  20. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Charlie you criminal you! I’m pretty sure you would have been able to talk your way out of all three counts.
    I hope the dinner party went well. It sure finished well!

  21. Looks like that’s dessert! Thanks, cuz.

  22. Tammy McLeod says:

    Dates look amazing!

  23. That’s sounds like a wonderful dinner that you served, Charlie. I hope you were able to enjoy it, in peace, with your dinner guests.

  24. Juliet Batten says:

    Good luck with getting your licence and becoming legal once more. Tasty looking food.

  25. Norma Chang says:

    I love clementines but for this dish I like your blood orange substitute better. I don’t know how you manage to do all that you do in a day. Bet you sleep like a log.
    Norma Chang

  26. Eek! I only have 1 more point on my license at the moment and I’m driving around on eggshells (although not literally, thankfully haha..)

    Dessert looks lovely! Mmm blood oranges <3

  27. says:

    O no I really didnt think you were such a law breaker Charlie. You are such a good mother ….I will say it again. Lucky Arabella only goes to school down the road. Love your canapes too

  28. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    I always say this (under my breath) when my kids frustrate me: I hope someday they have a child just like them. Then they will understand what they put you through. You are such a good mom, Charlie.

  29. Barb Bamber says:

    Aren’t you just so accommodating.. I did the same (still do, I guess)! You’ll be glad to know the “emergencies” and forgotten precious items becomes less frequent as they grow up. Now if only my son could stop misplacing his car keys, lol! Hey.. I saw these appetizers as well and thought they’d be fantastic! Now I’ve seen them again, I just have to make them! I love your salad, my goodness.. chocolate?! How awesome would this taste!! xx Barb

  30. Ooh, illegal acts apart, you naughty good Mum you, I really like the sound of that dessert and clementines are all over the shops right now, so I think that is one I’m going to have to make. I hope you get yr licence back soon xx

  31. Those illegal acts do make our hearts beat a little faster, don’t they?

  32. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Now before I read this,I had to have my cup of tea. As soon as I saw the title, I was sure it involved the kids! 😉

  33. GourmetGetaway says:

    Wow! Your a good mum! My teenager did something similar to me the other day and my day was completely messed up, I didn’t commit any illegal acts but missed the daughters ballet and half of the sons football, and had to leave my husband to finish work in his own. All because the teenagers wanted to bring his woodwork project back to school for an optional display! I warned him to make other arrangements as I couldn’t even lift it!! Somehow I still ended up doing it!. Needless to say I was rope able, the only difference is… He knew it!!

    I live the idea of stuffing the dates with blue cheese yum!!!

  34. saffronandhoney says:

    I am very intrigued by the blood orange and chocolate salad – sounds right up my alley! Hope to give it a try this week 🙂

  35. cityhippyfarmgirl says:

    What a great mum you are!
    The blood oranges are delicious at the moment aren’t they. I never get tired of looking at the wonderful colour of them.

  36. Blood orange and chocolate salad!!! How gorgeous!
    Lucky Arabella and your family having you taking good care of them!

  37. Naughty, naughty Charlie!

    I have to admit that the name of the dish (chocolate salad) didn’t initially appeal to me at first (not a chocolate fan) but it does look awfully great and yum, blood oranges!

  38. Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake says:

    Sooo naughty Charlie! 😛 But we all have to do a few things like this once in a while…it just can’t be helped! Glad that Arabella did well on the exam! I loveeee the idea of your chocolate salad…I’m not usually a huge fan of salad (I’d very much rather eat meat) but anything with chocolate in it is awesome!

  39. Oh poor you Charlie! I can imagine. I almost flew without a passport once. Well not really, but planned an emergency trip out of the country, and while booking the ticket realized I didn’t have a valid passport. It had expired two months prior. Thank God they ask for passport details when they book tickets.
    Never a dull moment eh?

  40. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    Dates, stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped with prosciutto basically describes everything that my wife could want from an app. Delish for her. 🙂

  41. This chocolate salad looks so delicious and kind of healthy too if you ask me hehe!
    Poor you having to rush back and forth without a license! That’s kind of scary! I did it once where I thought I had my license but it had actually expired and the police caught me but were so nice to let me go!
    So glad nothing bad has happened to you 😀 take care xox

  42. Chocolate salad?!? I want!

    Back and forth without driving license?!? You do what you have to do, right? 😀

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