FatSu suffered last week. For six days, my husband was out of town. That means many things, including a cold and lonely bed; a disgruntled, yowling cat who despises me but worships Maurizio; the background noise of a TV permanently switched to property programmes from 8 years ago; double duty on dog walks; and nobody to cook for me.

I've got two projects at the moment - one is the awesome new collaboration TOTEM/Copper, and the other is BritSwim. With my shop, I work, but that involves using a laptop, standing up, and talking, with some occasional re-arrangement of merchandise. It's not tiring. Teaching swimming is, though. Four or five straight hours in the pool with full focus on my students, constantly moving, every day. It's amazingly rewarding and loads of fun, but lord, you need some good food, hot food, fast, after that. Don't become a swim instructor if you don't have someone at home who loves you enough to cook and tolerate chlorine-scented hair.

The Maurizio-shaped hole first came into focus the morning he drove away. Why does tea made by someone else taste so much better? I had studied his methods before he left in preparation, but to no avail. Breakfast was a tangerine: a good middle line for a haiku, but totally inadequate as a meal. Lunch and dinner weren't an issue for the first two days; Maurizio loves me, so he had left me four portions of lasagna. So that's what I had for the first two days. Then it was Tuesday and I had to fend for myself. (I used to cook, you know. When I lived in England on my own, a group of friends once called on my unexpectedly one Saturday, and I was able to breezily offer all five of them a bowl of homemade tomato and basil soup I happened to have in my freezer. With a quenelle of creme fraiche and everything. And that was before Masterchef did the quenelle to death.)

Below are the images of what I had for lunch on the two days I was alone. (I didn't take pictures of the omelettes I made for dinner both nights; beige doesn't photograph well.) The first is pesto linguine with pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, and parmesan. Now, I would definitely recommend this for non-cooks, except use gnocchi instead of linguine. Gnocchi is the easiest pasta, because it floats to the top of the pan when ready - no need to dip your fork into the pan and try to spear a pasto of linguine, which is time-consuming and frustrating. Also, I had to break the linguine in half before putting it in the pan - I have since learned that you're supposed to put it in long and push it down as the submersed parts soften. But then haven't the first bits in been cooked longer? Just break it for less attractive but evenly-cooked pasta. Pesto can be bought ready made, and because it comes in a glass jar instead of a packet, you can pretend that you picked it up from the family-run deli down the road which doesn't exist. Pine nuts and cherry tomatoes go in a frying pan for a minute to warm up and toast a bit - real cooking, and it doesn't involve the bottom part of the cooker, which remains mysterious and threatening.

The second dish pictured is a salad of red beans, coriander, carrot, and cucumber. This is a miserable thing to eat. The image you see was sent to Maurizio on WhatsApp with the caption "Please come home."

Believe it or not, these are both #nofilter images. Feel free to pin.

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  1. I think the pasta looks great. As for the salad, it looks like it might have been from an Oman Air meal... :P

    1. Yes. The pasta worked for me and I was pretty proud. The salad broke my spirit. Every chew, I died a little bit more. And those are raw carrots - there were many chews.

  2. Looks yummy.I like pasta very much and pasta with salad one of my favorite dish.I want recipe too!
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