When you have small children weekends are mostly spent trying to keep the little blighters entertained. Between the Tripepi’s, the Quattrocchi’s, the Pizzutti’s, Domiro’s and co, we had a whole ‘platoon’ of children so outings took on the precision of a military manoeuvre. Sunny Sundays were spent all together at Sheffield Beach on the North Coast of KZN. Five cars, overflowing with excited kiddies, puppies, grandparents, aunties, uncles, surf boards, rugby balls, and picnic baskets stuffed with food, chairs, and umbrellas and yet more cooler boxes of food made the Sunday pilgrimage to Sheffield.
This beach is not easily accessible and you are required to negotiate a sandy path through ‘jungle’ at a harrowing 45d angle but your bravery (or is it lunacy?) is rewarded with the most pristine beach with spectacular rock pools, a natural Jacuzzi and very few other people. Is that it? I can hear you ask in your head … Nope it’s not! Apart from a spot big enough for all our kiddies to play without bothering others, the bonus of all bonuses was that said rocks were encrusted with beautiful plump and juicy mussels like a Thai Princess’ Crown.
The second platoon of our Italian Army was made up of Dads, Uncles, Nephews and Nonno’s (Italian for Grandpas) – armed with buckets they would pry our dinner off the rocks. Trickyricky and his nephew would disappear into the surf clad in old soccer jerseys and weight belts to help them reach coral coloured crayfish hiding in crevices.
After a sun drenched day of fishing and fun we would climb back up the hill with our empty cooler boxes, exhausted kiddies but buckets full of mussels and crayfish. At home the men would sit outside and clean the mussels while mum’s bathed children and aunts and Nonna’s prepared the Fresh Marinara Sauce. By the time the pasta was cooked the kiddies were lined up with a bread roll in there clean little paws and they were starting again.
Unfortunately Trickyricky fished so many mussels off the rocks that he developed an allergy to them and after swelling up like a Toby fish one Sunday he has given them a wide birth. I avoid the Marinara mix in the shops because it’s always brimming with mussels but Woolworths has bought out a new Seafood mix of prawns, clams and calamari doesn’t have mussels in it! Fantastic product ..
Marinara Pasta Sauce
For 12 people
Olive Oil – enough to cover the bottom of your pot or frying pan
2 large onions finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1tsp of dried chilli – this is optional and Trickyricky is hooked on
The Smoking Shed’s smoked dried chilli flakes
2 chicken stock cubes
2 cups of dry white wine
2 packets of Seafood mix
800g of fresh tomatoes – I really love the sweet intense flavour of either
Rosa or Cherry tomatoes so tend to use them in pasta sauces but normal ripe tomatoes are fine.
1 x 475ml tin of peeled plum tomatoes – squashed in a bowl by hand
Heat the olive oil in a large pot or frying pan
Add the garlic, dried chilli, chicken stock cubes and onion and brown them
TrickyRicky is addicted to these!
Add the seafood mix to the pan and give it a good stir
Add the wine and reduce until all the alcohol has cooked out
Now add your fresh & peeled tomatoes and bring to the boil for about 15 minutes to
reduce the liquids, then reduce the sauce to a simmer around 4 or 5 on my stove and
simmer for a further 30 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil
Add the spaghetti – 3 packets will feed 12 people.
Stir the pot immediately and frequently thereafter to stop the pasta from
sticking to the pot or two each other.
When the pasta is tender, remove from the stove and drain in a colander.
Put the pasta back into the pot and add some of the sauce to the spaghetti and
give it a good stir. Serve with a nice spoonful of the sauce on top and garnish
with some fresh parsley or basil.
If you want creamy pasta just add ½ a cup of fresh cream to the cooked, drained pasta
before you add the Marinara sauce. The pasta sucks up the cream immediately.
Don’t add fresh cream directly to a past sauce.
To all my Hindu friends my wish for you is
a Deepawali and year ahead that is showered with beautiful light and joy.
To celebrate this most auspicious day here are some links
to my favourite Indian Curry Recipes
Click on the recipe name to be taken to the recipes!