I’m not in Bali yet but almost.
Thanks for all your positive comments that the kids will be just fine. However, because my ability to think positively is crumbling, I’ve brought in the big guns.
Yes, Archie (Useless) and Arabella (the Cripple), still don’t have to share the house with a live-in watch-dog but in desperation I’ve asked Drew’s PA to be on-deck to make sure the little guy isn’t being neglected. She’s a competent woman with two grown children so can smell trouble before it starts brewing.
She has in hand, a five-page schedule I gave her that she’s marked-up, highlighted and sent through the photocopier to make multiple copies. We’ve had a meeting, I’ve had some sensible texts and a voice mail saying she’s ready for action. I’m feeling better.
Yesterday, I told Arabella-the-cripple I had enlisted the help of a PA to make sure the little guy won’t be neglected, abandoned or forgotten. She broadly grinned and asked, ‘What did you do that for?’
I said, ‘Your father and I are worried you won’t get him to school on time or that you’ll forget to feed him or that you’ll leave him abandoned late at night up at the swim centre’.
‘Are you serious?’
‘I’m worried, Arabella, because you don’t seem to be taking this seriously’.
‘You don’t think I can get him to school on time?’
‘No, I don’t’. And instead of reassuring me she had his whole schedule memorised and that she was taking her role as primary care giver seriously, she rolled around on the floor laughing in hysterics as she tangled herself in her cripple sticks. And then rang her brother and said, ‘Mum doesn’t think you and I are capable of getting Alfie to school on time, so Dad’s PA is coming at 8.30 in the morning to check on us’. And then she resumed her hysterics and I could hear Archie laughing down the phone as well.
Everything is a huge joke and while I can laugh with the best of them, there are times I’d actually prefer some reassurance. And I didn’t get any. That’s when I knew the PA is going to be overworked.
In the meantime I’m continuing with my onslaught in the kitchen. This isn’t a meal you can freeze so I’ll make another one of these the night before I leave. It’s on Alfie’s list of ‘Best Dinners Ever’ and when I make this I know he’ll eat a big meal. And that’s important because with him, we battle every day to make sure we don’t send him to bed having expended more calories than he’s consumed.
This mac ‘n cheese isn’t just carbs and dairy, it also has a vegetable! Two if you count the chives. Not bad. Alfie doesn’t like leeks or chives but somehow they’re of no concern if folded through macaroni and cheese.
This is a budget-friendly family meal that can be made from start to finish in less than an hour – 10 minutes if you’re Jamie Oliver.
- 500g macaroni pasta
- 60g butter
- 2 leeks, finely sliced and rinsed
- 3 tbs plain flour
- 1 ltr (4 cups) milk
- 2 cups grated cheese
- bunch of chives, finely sliced
- handful parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 200C (400F).
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook pasta according to directions on the packet. Strain pasta into a colander and set aside.
- Using the same saucepan, melt butter. Add leeks and cook until softened. Stir in flour and continue to stir for about a minute.
- Gradually pour in milk, stirring all the time until the mixture boils.
- Remove from heat and stir in cheese. When smooth stir through pasta and chives and season.
- Place into a greased ovenproof dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and put into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden on top.
- Serve with crusty bread and a side salad if desired.