Gremlins, Gizmos and Broccoli

Last night I left school with a dark cloud hanging over my head.  At some point during the previous six weeks a large number of my lovely, fluffy pupils had been fed after midnight and had mutated into hissing, fidgeting, sneering gremlins with wild, wild looks in their eyes.  It was a hellish day.  A day which had me driving back down the A9 wondering if I was in the right job.  

Released some tension on arriving home by ripping out the forest of sweetpeas which had taken over my garden and furiously forking the soil over in preparation for my winter planting.  It was a cathartic experience but I still wasn’t relishing the thought of going back to school the next day.  I had to sit down and think very carefully about how to deal with the boy who wouldn’t stop singing, the “am I bovvered” girl, the writing refuser and the multitude of monkeys that are my new first year class. 

A couple of hours later, still muddied and grass-stained from my earlier gardening, I was satisfied with my plan of action and ready for a treat.  A hot shower, a cheesy crime novel and my favourite pasta meal.  🙂

This dish was adapted from  a Nigel Slater article.  Lost the original recipe sometime last year but I make it so often I really don’t need it anymore. 

 Broccoli, Anchovy and Herb Pasta

(for 1)

2 tblspn olive oil

3 anchovy fillets

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp chopped rosemary

1 tsp chopped parsley

6-8 black olives, chopped

Big handful of sprouting brocolli (or normal brocolli if the sprouting isn’t available)

75g wholewheat spaghetti


Parmesan shavings

  • In a heavy based frying pan, melt the anchovy fillets gently.
  • Once the anchovies have melted into the oil add the onion, garlic, rosemary, parsley, and olives and fry gently until onion is softened and the flavours have combined.
  • Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of salted water.  Add the brocolli to the pan 5 minutes before the spaghetti is cooked.  Save a little of the cooking water.
  • Drain the spaghetti and broccoli and add to the onion mixture.  Loosen with a little cooking water.
  • Season very carefully (remember the anchovies and parmesan are salty) and serve with parmesan shavings.

So did any of my carefully planned strategies work?  They might have if I’d had any reason to use them.  Today the gremlins had vanished and instead I was faced with classes of coo-ing gizmos.  Well, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration but I did have a great day.  Love this job.  😀

P.S. This is my entry for the Food in Film event.  Tenuous in the extreme!!!


26 thoughts on “Gremlins, Gizmos and Broccoli

  1. First day. Both of my parents are teachers and dad always says that the first day back after summer is the hardest for everyone.

    Nearly fell off my chair to see a gremlin! Glad they’re gizmos again, rather, of course, than the other way around.

    Perfect recipe for one slightly frazzled person.

  2. Probably your fantastic looking pasta actually worked the magic of tamiing the gremlins – gremlins are afraid of broccili, you see (well actually I am making this up but it sounds plausible)

  3. This is something that will definitely go over well in my house once broccoli comes into season (I’m in southern Italy); I’m intrigued by the addition of rosemary–can’t wait to try it 🙂

    Btw, I followed you here from your comment at Figs Olives Wine, and I’m so happy I did!

  4. I remember, many, many years ago (amazing that I can remember back that far) the first day of school. Everyone had sooo much energy from all the summer activities like swimming, biking, playing ball, that it was hard to settle everyone down the first couple of days. I remember one time one of the teachers, not being able to get total control, just left the room and shut the door. I guess she had to go outside and scream or take the one, two, three deep breath action before she could return and try to get control. Ah, those were the days!
    Now to the food ! I put anchovies in just about all of my pasta dishes. They add such a great flavor and since they are salty, I do not need to add tons of salt to flavor the dish! What did you do with the peas that you pulled up?

  5. Lucy – Almost didn’t post that picture because it was so scary!

    Anh – It really is! And you’re welcome. 🙂

    Johanna – I can see my broccoli in take being increased dramatically!

    Sognatrice – Welcome! The rosemary is definitely the secret to its success. It gives the dish a lovedly freshness.

    Deb – I am that teacher! It was the flower sweetpeas that I pulled up rather than the eating peas. Just finished the last of my real peas off too though. Used them in a side dish with lettuce, butter and basil. Yum.

    Patricia – Thank you!

    Pat – Thank you too! Pasta is definitely my comfort food too.

  6. Cute gremlin! Glad they switched back…I’ll assume that they’ll switch again…and again….and again!
    Cheesy crime novel and that pasta dish (with a glass of wine) would have fixed me right up to!

  7. This is a fabulous dish, and I’ve never had it with the rosemary either. What a great idea – perfect against the saline anchovies. I think it sounds like the end-of-summer blues with your kids! Sounds like you handled them like a real pro!

  8. Good meal + good book = great solution to a crappy day. I’m glad to hear that the kiddies are back to being wonderful for you. It really is a fascinating job–never boring!

  9. That Gremlin gave a slight fright LOL 🙂

    Your pasta sounds so good, no wonder you’ve made it a lot. Hey, maybe you can enter this in Susan’s (The Well-Seasoned Cook) Food in Film blog event?

  10. Glad to hear the second day back was better!

    I have often heard that the combination of brocolli and anchovy is a winning one – reading your post has inspired me to give it a try. Looks delicious – I can almost smell it through the screen!

    Hope you don’t mind, but I have tagged you for the ‘famous four’ meme –

    Don’t in any way feel you have to participate, but hope you enjoy it if you do.

    Happy Cooking!

  11. Back to school time can be so challenging. It’s sounds like tearing through the garden is a great way to release some tension though. You know, this dish is similar to one I posted on a few weeks ago from Jamie Oliver. His is arugula and anchovies with pasta. Nigel, Jamie, they’re both pretty fabulous. Sending you wishes for better days ahead.- Susan

  12. KatieZ – You have an odd idea of cute!

    Cynthia – They do work well together.

    Amanda – I kept my head anyway!

    Christina – It really is. Love the fact that I can never guess what the day will bring. 🙂

    Nora – Think I will! Thanks!

    Antonia – Hope you enjoy it! Thank you for the tag. Love doing them! Will keep this for a busy period or a rainy day. 🙂

    Sophie – Thanks to you too!

    Susan – I trust Nigel and Jamie like no other chefs. Thank you for the kind wishes.

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  14. I haven’t seen a face like that….that…since the last time I saw “Gremlins!” You had me LOL, Wendy! Sorry you had a foul day, but there’s hardly anything pasta can’t cure. Thanks for participating in Food in Film.

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