Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

1.3.05

Summer's last day.

The last day (summer here ends February 28) was hot. Unlike many of the days of this summer past which has seen record rain, record low temperatures and a dismal tomato crop.

I took Canisha and Shanra to the local pool. Their mum - my son's partner - had a doctor's appointment - routine - she had a bout of cancer as a teenager. All OK.

34 degrees. The girls splashed and shrieked in the toddlers' pool. The elephant (it used to be grey when I was a kid, someone has since painted it pink - why?) squirted water through its trunk and they splashed in and out of the cool gushing water.

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Later, we picked through the garden. Shanra is three and wants to do everything everyone else is doing. As you would at three, with all those brain cells growing and developing. She is hard-wired to learn just now.

The basil had gone wild, but few tomatoes. We picked the basil. She carried it. Two fat dimpled hands full of basil bunches.

What to do with it? Pesto. Shanra sat on the wide bench and I said to her, 'Can you take the paper off these?', showing her how with the first garlic clove. She sat studiously, peeling two garlic cloves, the ends of which I had removed for easy peeling.

I chopped the basil while T. roasted some pinenuts and then we made pesto. Canisha stood with her hand on the button. We placed the shredded basil into the blender with some mortar-and-pestle ground nuts, poured in a good measure of oil and some parmesan cheese and said, 'OK - BLEND!'. Canisha hit the button and it was a blur of bright green.

The aroma is amazing. We poured it into a big glass jar and covered it with a layer of olive oil.

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It was still hot in the evening. The girls played with some books and pencils, coloured pencils. Canisha is fascinated with ghosts and vampires right now and wrote a story about a vampire searching out blood and major body organs. She wrote: 'The vampire went out searching for brians.'

Look out anyone called Brian. Canisha's vampire is after you.

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