A hearty meal for mariners

It’s time for a com­plete clean-up and a mouse round-up be­fore our cruis­ing fun kicks off

Canal Boat - - This Month - Vicky Blick

One of the first jobs in prepa­ra­tion for our ma­jor cruise of the new sea­son is to clean the boat from bow to stern, in­side and out and then give some at­ten­tion to any lit­tle bits and pieces that might be look­ing care­worn after the boat has been shiv­er­ing through the worst that win­ter can throw at it.

It’s al­ways a good plan to touch up those lit­tle rust spots and pol­ish the dull met­al­work: a stitch in time saves nine as the old wives’ say­ing goes and it’s amaz­ing how a bit of pol­ish and el­bow grease brings the paint­work back to an as new look.

In­side I usu­ally start with a tidy out of the pantry and a care­ful check that we haven’t col­lected any mice along the way. They are lit­tle devils for get­ting on board – any gap that you can fit a pen through then that too is a po­ten­tial en­try point for Mr Mouse. And talk­ing of Mr Mouse, one sea­son he was joined on board our boat by Mrs Mouse and the rest is left with your imag­i­na­tion. We knew we had com­pany as we could hear their noc­tur­nal fun and games and then when I dis­cov­ered the var­i­ous nib­bled pack­ets our sus­pi­cions were con­firmed. Time to get the hu­mane trap from stowage.

I’m al­ways on the look out for in­trud­ers, es­pe­cially as the last lot were dif­fi­cult to get rid of and tidy­ing the pantry and check­ing my stor­age con­tain­ers is part of the reg­u­lar rou­tine. Yet, de­spite my tidy-ups, I’m fre­quently amazed at the num­ber of ‘al­most used’ pack­ets clipped shut with one of those plas­tic kitchen clips (I won­dered where they’d all gone!)

Most seem to con­tain scraps of pasta in var­i­ous guises, from spaghetti to sheets of lasagne to fusilli. Be­ing a ‘make do and mend’ sort of a per­son I just can’t bring my­self to throw away food and this month’s Minestrone Meal recipe for a hearty lunch or a light sup­per demon­strates very suc­cinctly that there re­ally is no need to throw away pasta scraps.

‘I’m al­ways on the look out for in­trud­ers as the last lot were dif­fi­cult to get rid of’

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