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It's another beautiful, warm autumn day here in the Vendée. I'm sitting in my office with the windows open.
No, not to let the fresh air in; to let the flies out.
I remember my mother getting upset because there was a fly in her house. One fly.
I walked into my office this afternoon and there were at least 200 on the window. I have no idea where they're coming from. It started a couple of weeks ago. They show up mid-afternoon either in my office or in the bedroom, no place else. Their arrival coincides with the sun shining on that part of the house.
I open the windows and, within about 10 minutes, they're gone.
We live in the country, surrounded by farms and farm animals so there are lots of flies around. But that's not the problem. For those flies we leave the windows closed or put in a fly screen to keep them out. If, as always, they manage to get in anyway, (mon mari doesn't like to close the door during warm weather…. and the dogs push it open, further, so….) I've learned that if I open the windows at sunset they'll all leave.
No, these flies are, apparently, already in the house. My neighbor told me they're called 'cluster flies' and are part and parcel of old houses. They're not around in the morning or evening. I don't see them flying. I can be sitting at my computer, happily doing computer stuff, with no flies anywhere and, 10 minutes later, the window is covered. I open the windows, they leave, and we're done with flies for the day.
Well, except for Franz (Kafka).
We first noticed him last week. We were in the kitchen and heard a strange and very annoying buzzing and snapping. Mon mari thought we were having an electrical melt-down (old house, and all that). No, it was Franz playing in the lamp I have on a shelf in the kitchen.
We assumed he couldn't get out, and being the nice folks we are, decided to release him. We did, and before mon mari could help him into his next life, he flew back in. Talk about stupid flies!
The buzzing and banging as he flew into the sides of the lamp was quite irritating. Franz is a big bottle fly so he makes rather a lot of noise. Mon mari decided to have another try at, er, helping him. Just as he reached for the lamp Franz flew out. Then back in. Obviously he knows how to do this.
We turned the lamp off. All was quiet.
The next night, we turned the lamp on as usual. About 20 minutes later we hear the buzzing and banging again. Franz was back.
He flew in and out a few times, just to show us he could.
We turned the lamp off to show him we could.
In the morning mon mari took the lamp apart thinking perhaps Franz had died …and wanting to give him a decent send off. No flies in the lamp.
That night we turned the lamp on. A few minutes later Franz started his nightly routine with one minor difference. This time he brought a friend. He's been back every night for a week. Apparently he has other things to do during the day.
Have my office window and the kitchen lamp become the new 'must do' items in the fly world? Is it a fly 'right of passage' to survive 15 minutes in the lamp? Or, maybe it's like a carnival ride…that could be why Franz brought a date. Have I been in the country to long? Do I need to get out more?
Whatever kind of pasta you're hungry for you're sure to find it at Presto Pasta Nights, founded and hosted by Ruth of Once Upon A Feast.
She's been making her own pasta lately and inspiring me to dig out my pasta machine.
Not this week, though. This week I decided to do something I rarely do and buy ready-made basil cappelletti, stuffed with spinach and goat cheese. I could hardly pass that up, now could I?
I love the idea of creamy sauces, but I'm not really thrilled about cream. I like empty calories as well as the next person but if I can find a healthier substitution, in this case with more flavor, I'm all for it.
Besides, I really love beans 😉
Stuffed Pasta with Creamy Sauce
Cook pasta according to package directions.
For the sauce: Chop shallot and garlic. Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add shallot and garlic and sauté until tender. Drain and rinse beans. Add beans, wine and 1/4 cup chicken stock and heat through. Remove and purée in blender or with immersion blender. Add a bit more chicken stock if needed to get to a thick sauce consistency. Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Add thyme, pour over pasta and serve.
Note: If using this sauce with regular pasta you can add all of the chicken stock and stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheese with the thyme.
Check with Ruth at Once Upon A Feast on Friday for all of the great pasta dishes.
I'm going to take Franz down to visit Boris (my giant garden toad) now. À Bientôt!