‘Let’s have a barbecue,’ says Unhusband.
There is no point saying no. There is no point telling him everyone else is still inside with the central heating on. That this is suburbia, not Sydney. That I haven’t even planted the shallots on the allotment, that officially it’s still winter. Or that it is a school night.
‘Ok,’ I say.
He bounds off to the supermarket and returns with a few kilos of pig, a load of chicken, some freakishly straight courgettes and the ingredients for bruschetta. Being Italian, Unhusband doesn’t do crap burgers and burnt sausages. This is ‘grigliata Italiana.’
‘Let’s invite the neighbours,’ he says.
Politely, or perhaps for a laugh, they accept. They turn up in hats and coats, shiver round the pork for a few minutes, then retreat indoors with glasses of wine.
By six thirty it’s dark. The embers battle against the plunging air temperatures. We have no idea if the chicken is cooked, because we can’t actually see it.
Eventually, we eat. Indoors, but we eat. It tastes like summer. Even the courgettes and tomatoes are passable, considering they’re not home grown. Though it gnarls me to buy stuff that grows so prolifically on the allotment (just not in the first week of March.)
The kids go to bed happy and full and reeking of smoke. It’s far too late for a bath.
The next day nobody is sick. Garlic-breathed, we venture outside into the brisk spring air. A few optimistic souls are wandering around in T-shirts. Unhusband spots someone in shorts.
‘Crazy English,’ he says.
He does make good bruschetta though.
Recipe for authentic Italian bruschetta (barbecue optional).
- Dice cherry tomatoes and toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, raw garlic, oregano and a few chopped basil leaves if you have them.
- Cut ciabatta (or other bread) into thick slices and place on the barbecue (or under the grill!)
- Rub one side of the bread with more raw garlic. Don’t hold back.
- Spoon the tomato mixture on to the bread and eat.