Friday, 10 October 2014

Saltimbocca and Housework

I cannot believe I'm about to type this next sentence. We are about to complete on the house. On Monday. On Monday at some point we will have keys in our hands to what could potentially be the house we live in for the rest of our lives. Or the next 5 years. This is of course of no interest to anyone else but us, but you must suffer along with if you want the recipe.

So I'm packing. And when I say "I", I actually do mean just me. MCD Sr says often and ineffectually "I must pack" and vanishes into the study on the top floor for an hour and a half ostensibly to do so, but upon inspection, I find 7 boxes. Seven. I've packed around 30 so far, which accounts for the rest of the house. His packing seems to cover folders. Mine covers... um... everything else: lounge, books, dining room sideboard, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, clothes, toys, linen, weird shit you accumulate without meaning to, which then includes the sorting and throwing away of useless junk before you can pack.

I'm not about to go off on a rant about my husband again; too too dull for everyone but I would faintly like to raise the spectre of division of housework labour as it has been topic of the week for Woman's Hour on Radio 4. What do you all do? Are you fair about it? Have you fallen into ruts hoed so deep they're now trenches from which you can only come out fighting? I'm vaguely disquieted about it all, I have to admit. What are women SUPPOSED to do? What are men SUPPOSED to do? How do you divvy it up? Our situation is probably pretty common, but I've finally categorised it as Intellectual and Physical: He works (at the moment - see last post) full time Mon-Fri, but he also takes care of absolutely everything financial and intellectual. You name it, insurance, car stuff, dealings with rental properties, bills, licences. I am absolutely incapable of doing any of it. So I, working much less in an earning sense, but also a lot in a "taking care of MCD JR" way, take care of what has become the Physical: cleaning, cooking, washing up, mowing the lawn, gardening, really really minor DIY (I once fixed a loo seat and I can put up pictures without the spirit level he deems necessary), shopping, school stuff, birthdays and so on.

Where I'm wavering over "fairness" is the small stuff, the stuff that you shouldn't apparently sweat. Sometimes, when I'm washing up after having cooked MCD Jr's part of the dinner, bathed him, put him to bed, then come back down and done it all over again for us, I wonder if it's "fair." But then he does bath and bed at weekend (so I get to cook and wash up without having to interrupt myself with bedtime, I guess...!). I also was slightly taken aback at his comment the other weekend that he doesn't mow the lawn "because he works" which rocked me back on my chair slightly. I was under the impression I did it because I like to see my child through the grass, not hunt maniacally for him as darkness approaches. I didn't realise he had made a conscious decision not to do it, due to other labours. And there's the thing, no? The old saw about whose work is MORE. More important, more time, more draining and exhausting. When I'm feeling resentful about the small stuff I find myself counting hours: he comes home and is done around 7pm each night, I'm not done till 8.30/9pm sometimes. But then I also get to have time to myself 2 1/2 days a week, time when I actually can grab half an hour with a book which he doesn't, so really I'm on flexi-time.

And here's the other thing: it's what you're good at. I'm really REALLY bad at dealing with money. He's really REALLY bad at cleaning up and cooking. Seriously, last week I had to ditch a portion of tomato soup because he "didn't see it" on the hob when he was tidying up in order to put it in the fridge. He also didn't see the washing up or the messy work surface - it was at this point I finally put this idea of him partaking of housework to rest. He cannot do it. I have to redo it. Therefore, I just do it and it is done. And he has always been this way. Always. I cannot change him. It's true, leopards do not change their spots. So you come to accept it and this is the way it is and if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have a position of security from which to bitch and moan about the trivial shit.

And so on to saltimbocca, that "jump-in-the-mouth" Italian dish that sounds really complex and isn't. I like to do it with pork, but chicken or rose veal would be fine.

Per person:
1 pork escalope
1 slice Parma ham or prosciutto
1 sage leaf
1 cocktail stick

For the beans:
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1 courgette, diced
1 can cannellini beans, drained
2 sage leaves
4-5 ripe tomatoes

Place the escalopes between 2 sheets of clingfilm and bash them until they're quite thin - about 1/2 cm. Wrap a slice of ham around, place a sage leaf on top and secure with a cocktail stick. Pop them in the fridge until needed.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until softened, then add the courgette (or aubergine or other greens) until tender. Add the beans and chopped sage leaves then roughly chop up the tomatoes and add to the pan. Season and simmer for 15 minutes or until thickened.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry off the escalopes for 2 minutes each side max, pressing down on them with a spatula to get the sage leaf nice and crisp. Spoon a little butter over them while cooking too. Remove to a place, tip out any burnt butter and deglaze the pan with a little white wine or marsala and a little extra butter for shine. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the meat, serve with the beans and knap over the sauce. Buon appetito.

1 comment:

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