Ruth, of Once Upon A Feast, founder and host of Presto Pasta Nights, was commenting on her new flat: something to the effect that there were 48 (?) steps from the ground to their door, no elevator and moving was a bit of a chore.
I can relate to that. Our house in Andorra had 50 steps from bottom to top. We didn’t have an elevator either.
It wasn’t a huge house, it was just a typically, Andorran house.
The Pyrenees are an old mountain range, older than the Alps. The valleys are steep and narrow. There is not a lot of room to build in Andorra but the Andorrans have become masters of making the most of what they have.
Building land is expensive so the footprint of a typical house will take up the entire plot. Plots are small, therefore houses are tall…and scary. Our neighbor’s house had 3 levels above the road and 4 levels below it; all with terraces looking out over the village, 1200 meters below. It was 4 months before she could look out her own windows; 2 more before she went on the terraces.
It’s rock, (mountains, duh) so foundations are dug with dynamite. There are no basements.
There are garages, however. There has to be someplace to put the cars, no room on the streets!
Or house was like this: 2 single car garages, side by side opening on to the street. One was 5 steps higher than the other (built on a mountain, remember?), 10 steps up was the living room(over the garage); 5 steps more was the kitchen(over the other garage); 10 steps more the master bedroom and bath; 5 steps more, guest bedroom and bath; 10 steps more the den/T.V. room; 5 steps more my office/computer room. There was a spiral staircase going up the center.
Now, here’s where you can put your imagination to good use: there were ground level terraces off of the living room, kitchen and both bedrooms; staggered, going up the mountain.
I called it the ‘exercise house’.
If the advantage in living in this house was keeping fit, the disadvantage was anything round that was dropped outside was gone forever. We soon learned to not even make the effort. Screwdrivers, apples, golf balls, wine bottles; anything that could roll, would roll off the end of our driveway quicker than the blink of an eye. Our dog had a square ‘ball’ for outside and a, more common, round one for inside. Even she understood gravity. She accidentally took her round, indoor ball outside and dropped it. She didn’t even chase it…just looked very sad as it went over the edge.
Well, Ruth, I don’t think you’ll have that problem, but trust me, in a few weeks you won’t notice the 48 steps at all; it will be like walking down a flat hallway. And you’ll be able to eat more pasta.
I miss that house!
Lentil and Sausage Pasta with Avocado Sauce garnished with zucchini
1/2 cup cooked lentils I used Lentils du Puy
1 cup beef stock
1 1/4 cups bite-size pasta, farfalle, penne
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 carton goat cheese, 1/3 cup (2.6oz, 75gr) half of Chevraux, Chavrie (the little round
cardboard container, 5.3oz (150gr)
1 tbs snipped fresh basil
1 tbs snipped fresh parsley
1 tbs snipped fresh chives
4 – 6 sausages, depending on size, 10 oz total weight (300gr)
Cook lentils in beef stock and or water according to package directions. Cook pasta according to package directions. Snip/chop all herbs. Cut avocado and remove pit. Put both halves of the avocado into a small bowl. Add lemon juice and mash with a fork or potato masher. When well mashed add goat cheese and mash together. Cook sausages on barbecue grill 10 – 15 minutes or until done (can also be sautéed in nonstick skillet – same amount of time). When pasta is done put it into a large bowl with lentils and herbs. Add mashed avocado/chevre and toss well to combine. When sausages are done, remove and slice in 1 inch (2.5cm) lengths. Add to pasta and toss well to combine. Serve.
Since it is zucchini season, and I do have a garden, I happened to have one sitting on the counter. It was a pretty yellow one so I thought, why not? I sliced it about 1/2 inch thick, and fried it in a bit of olive oil in a nonstick skillet, about 15 minutes. It does look pretty, doesn’t it?
Be sure to visit Once Upon A Feast on Friday for the complete Pasta Round-Up.
Final note: The guys who moved us didn’t have much of a sense of humor, either. They didn’t think it was particularly funny that my books went in my office, at the top…all 75 boxes of them. They asked me which room: the one on the right or the one on the left. I laughed and said all of the rooms are on the left; it’s a spiral staircase! They didn’t get it… I almost got a box of books on my head, though.
(Spiral staircase… all the rooms on a different level… going up they’re all on your left; coming down they’re all on your right… Oh, never mind!. Why am I the only one that thinks that’s funny?)