I had intended to update with a recipe on Monday evening, but when I came home from a somewhat long day in various parts of Devon and Cornwall.... Neil gave me the news that he had been made redundant.
I wish I could say I was surprised, but I've been holding my breath for the past six years, waiting for this to happen. He works (worked - whatever) in the construction industry, and the fact that we made it this far into the recession without him being made redundant, was not only a bit of a miracle, but had also almost convinced me that we might make it out the other side.
We haven't.... and neither did the rest of the team that work in the South West of England. Everyone has been made redundant. The firm that they work for ( a HUGE international company), will employ contractors rather than their own team of men in our little tiny corner of the world.
Neil was convinced that they'd be scraping him off of various parts of the county, after he told me. I think he was more fearful of my reaction, than of actually being made redundant... I surprised the living daylights out of the pair of us when my only response was "Oh well, we'll get through it."
I have been dreading... DREADING... this, since he started work for them 18 years ago, near the end of the last recession. I'm not a pessimist, but once you've lived on benefits and finally manged to get off of them, your worst nightmare is that it happens all over again... well - here we are again, and quite frankly - no one has died. In truth, I almost feel relieved that now that it's happened I no longer have to wonder if it will.
We're luckier than a lot of the men laid off - we're not just starting out - struggling to furnish our home or pay a mortgage, we have no little ones to feed and clothe, we don't smoke or drink... and we're twenty years older and wiser. When we moved into this house we had no bed to sleep in... just one sofa that my mum gave us, an old fridge freezer and a washing machine that my dad bought us, an oven that Neil's mum bought us and sent through the post!!!... and a bed for our son that a friend lent us.
Obviously we'll have to economise, and I imagine that one of the things to be hit will be the food budget... *sob*... so it may get interesting around here for a while, until one or both of us have new jobs... or we've won the lottery...
Ah well.... Here's to a new adventure in this zig zagging road through life. Nothing ever stays the same, does it!
There is a recipe here - honest. Just click the link below :)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Mexican Pasta Recipe
Serves 4 - 6
Prep time - 10 minutes
Cooking time - 1 hr
Total time - 1 hr 10 minutes
You will need
A 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion - diced
1/2 orange pepper - deseeded and diced
1/2 green pepper - deseeded and diced
3 garlic cloves - crushed
1 fresh red chilli pepper - deseeded and sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 lb/500g minced beef
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
4 oz/100g tinned sweetcorn
2 tbsp tomato paste/puree
14oz/400g can chopped tomatoes
18 oz/500g Napolina Sieved Tomato Passata
10fl oz/300ml beef stock
7 oz/200g dried elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper
4 oz/100g *insert your favourite strong cheese* - grated
Heat the oil in the skillet and add the onion, soften for 3 minutes before chucking in the peppers, chilli pepper and garlic. Cook for another 3 minutes then add the beef. Brown the beef - this takes about 5 minutes, then add the chilli powder herbs and sweetcorn.
Give it all a good stir before adding the tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, passata and beef stock. Stir it in well, season with a large pinch of salt and a hearty grind of black pepper - then add the macaroni and mix into the meat and sauce until covered.
Pop the lid on and simmer very gently for 35 - 45 minutes - the macaroni that's in the middle will cook quicker than the rest so be sure to give it a good stir every ten minutes or so. This also prevents sticking. Don't rush this by turning the heat up. All you will achieve is burnt sauce and uncooked pasta... and no time for flavours to develop.
Once the macaroni is cooked, scatter the cheese over the top and put the lid back on. Leave it on the stove but turn off the heat. There will be enough heat to melt the cheese without burning the bottom of your pasta. Leave the cheese to melt over the pasta for five minutes before serving.
NOTE: If you notice that your sauce is beginning too dry out before your pasta is cooked, stir in a bit more beef stock... and reduce the heat a smidgen.