Long weekends

My 'long weekend' habits have changed over the years, at one point in my life they would have been spent going out on the town, staying up late and feeling not so peachy-keen the next day.

Those days are long gone, I'm sure glad I experienced them, but I couldn't think of anything worse than waltzing about in the freezing cold, spending my weekly wage on one night and my feet killing me by the end of it.

I would much prefer to hang out at home, wearing my favourite bed socks and cook for my husband - as far as favourite moments in life go,  this one is right up there!

Queen's Birthday long weekend: I rarely follow a recipe on the back of a box, but during the week I picked up some Barilla Collezione Casarecce Siciliane pasta from the local supermarket and read a lovely little recipe on the back called Casarecce Siciliane alla Norma - and I've decided to make it.

I managed to collect all the ingredients for the recipe but for some reason I forgot to grab the ricotta! Never mind, a bit of tzatziki is good enough for us.

The other thing I wanted to do is some juicing.  The apples are perfect for juicing at the moment, grabbing the last of them to make some winter apple juice.

Any trip outside is a fur-family affair, there's no show without the dogs and cat in tow.  Poppy (below) loves a good crisp apple!  I swear if this dog was ever lost she would never starve, she has the best nose for sniffing out food, and nothing is out of the question!

It's pretty easy to make some real apple juice, and when you look at the stuff in the supermarket and then compare the colour and taste to some you've done yourself, you have to wonder how could it be so far from the real thing?!  Of course I know there's 'extra' things in the supermarket juice, but there's nothing like the real thing!

This recipe is pretty simple, cherry tomatoes, aubergine, onion, garlic & basil.  The pasta of course and some olive oil, that's it.....oh some ricotta, if you remember it.

I've grown this Tasmanian purple garlic, it's nearing its best before date, but if you remove the little green shoot inside, it's just as lovely.

Recipe - Casarecce Siciliane alla Norma

350g pasta
500g cherry tomatoes (it asks for them to be diced, I decide to leave them whole)
100g salted Ricotta (mmm, that would have been nice!)
1 diced aubergine 
1/2 onion diced
2 garlic cloves
8 spoons of extra virgin olive oil
10g chopped basil leaves
salt and black pepper.

Brown the onion in a pan with 4 spoonfuls of oil, add the cherry tomatoes and fry until the water evaporates.  Add the whole garlic cloves, 5g of chopped basil leaves and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the diced aubergine with salt and leave to drain for 3 mins. Rinse in water, dry in a dishcloth and fry in boiling hot oil.  Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water until 'al dente', drain and toss in pan with sauce and aubergine.  Sprinkle with ricotta and the remaining basil.

Nothing better than a well seasoned wooden spoon!

Nothing better than a well seasoned wooden spoon!

At this point I did throw in a bit of butter.

At this point I did throw in a bit of butter.

I wish you all a lovely long weekend, hope you're doing exactly what you want to.  'Lucky' the rooster says - May the road rise to meet you and may the wind always be at your back. x Julie