Monday, August 07, 2006

Hey ho - another week begins. All the cliches I can think of about time flying spring to mind, but I am certain sure that time is speeding up. I'll probably need to borrow Cecil Rhodes's dying words for myself "So much to do, so little done".

I've been an avid member of Bookcrossing for almost four years now, and have found it a wonderful way of decluttering our bookshelves, discovering new authors, and meeting other fanatical readers. A good friend, KGJ, came round on Saturday with a big bag of paperbacks which she no longer wanted so that I could register and release them. It was a very mixed bag, but I picked up one of them and became totally hooked. An unlikely book for me to read, I would never have even picked it up in a bookshop or library, but as it was sitting here on my desk I was intrigued. What is the book? "Confessions of a Park Avenue Plastic Surgeon".
The book is written by a very well known cosmetic surgeon who works in both the USA and Britain. Some of the cases he describes are absolutely eye-popping - the things women have done to their bodies is extraordinary. Why on earth do women put themselves through so much pain, expense and physical danger just for vanity? I just find it difficult to put myself in their mind-set. The author Olivia Goldsmith who wrote "The First Wives Club" and ten other novels, often used cosmetic surgery as a theme in her writing. In her 1998 novel "Switcheroo" she wrote about a woman who tries to win back her philandering spouse by transforming herself into the spitting image of his younger mistress. Then Goldsmith herself succumbed to the dream that changing her external appearance would change how she felt about herself. She checked into one of Manhattan's top private clinics for a chin tuck and face lift. Being nervous of the op she chose to have a general anaesthetic and within four minutes went into a coma and died - for what? for a face lift. Plastic surgery is not for me. I am not disfigured in any way, and whilst not enamoured of the visible signs of ageing, they are normal and natural, and I don't want to kid myself and others that I am younger than I am.


Why do manufacturers make plastic blister packaging so bleeping difficult to open ? This morning I tried to open a six pack of razor blades so that I could give one packet to my DH. I tried scissors, my teeth, a sharp pointy thing in the tool box and two different kitchen knives, receiving a nasty plastic cut in the process, before the beastly package finally yeilded.

For years now Monday night has been pasta night in our house. It makes life so much easier when I don't have to think too hard about what is for supper. This is a wonderful pasta sauce recipe which I discovered when the kids were little, it is cheap, delicious, and any kids who refuse to eat vegetables get a good helping of carrots without realising they are doing so! I often make a double or triple quantity and freeze it.

Serves 8
500g good quality meaty sausages (Italian are good)
2 tablspns oil
30g butter
1 medium/large onion finely chopped
4 large carrots, grated
2 large tins peeled tomatoes, blended in the can
250ml stock (made with beef or chicken stock cubes)
1 heaped teaspn dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Salt + Pepper

Remove the skin from the sausages and break up the sausage meat. Heat the oil and butter together in a saucepan and cook the onion until translucent. Add the sausagemeat and lightly brown, using a wooden fork to break it up all the time. Add the grated carrots and stir for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaves and oregano and cook, covered for at least 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
This goes well with almost any pasta but is really best with penne.
When serving, sprinkle generously with grated parmesan.
The sauce freezes well for 3 months.

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