Still, after I picked myself up from that disappointment, we all went off to New Quay for the day and spent the day on the beach. The children had great fun building sandcastles and digging holes, plus it was warm enough for a good splash around in the sea. We had a picnic lunch (with all the attendant sand-in-the-sandwiches that eating on the beach entails) and then ice-creams later on.
We all piled back to ours late in the afternoon and had dinner. I made a large batch of bolognese sauce yesterday evening and, after setting aside and freezing one meal's worth for me, Karl and the boys, I put the rest in the fridge. I quite like doing it this way anyway - having a few cartons of this in the freezer is a good standby for weeks when there's a hole in the menu plan.
1 large onion or 2 small ones, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2tbsp chopped fresh herbs - I used thyme, bay and a little rosemary
1kg minced beef
200g streaky bacon, chopped
a handful of mushrooms, finely chopped
400g can chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato purée
Heat a little olive oil in a big pan. Cook the onion and garlic together until the onion is just soft. Stir in the herbs, then add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the beef and brown it thoroughly, breaking it up as you go. Tip the tinned tomatoes into the pan, then dissolve the tomato purée in the water and stir this in, too. Grind in some black pepper, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the juices have cooked down and the sauce is a nice consistency. Either serve immediately, over pasta, or cool quickly and freeze in meal-sized portions
Getting ahead like this meant that when we got home, tired, hungry and covered in sand, I just had to boil a big pan of water while Christopher and James had a bath, then cook some spaghetti and reheat the sauce. It went down very well, especially with the children, who'd been running around like mad things and were ready for a good meal. James had some bolognese sauce (but no spaghetti) and a little grated cheese. I say 'a little' but he ate his and then shouted at his Grandad, until he gave in and shared some more food with him. And some more, and some more. Methinks JD is having a bit of a growth spurt!