It is proving to be a bonkers week…Extended birthday celebrations have had a lasting impact on my functionality, and all manner of things which should have been done, are still well and truly undone…The list of to-do’s is getting smaller, but slowly, slowly, slowly.

Luckily SHPics Mansions has a strict rule, that everything, and I do mean everything, (with the obvious exception of cooking), stops for dinner.

Today the hot-blooded Mrs SHPics came over all Meditteranean, and prepared this very summery Italianate thingy. Cooking seems to bring out her alliterative streak and she called this, ‘Piney Pomodoro Peppery Parma Pasta‘.

Her ‘Petrifyingly Easy ReCeePeee’ follows:

(Before commencing food prep, instruct husband to pour 2 glasses red wine and ensure he understands that said glasses are not to be allowed to fall below the half way mark….Ensure he has a second, (cheaper), bottle breathing…..)

250 grms durum wheat pasta…Spaghetti Lunghi or Linguine

300 grms cherry tomatoes

300 grms sweet red & yellow peppers…preferably Ramiro or similar.

175 grms Very thinly cut Parma Ham

Pine nuts



Good Olive oil

Olive oil spray

Balsamic vinegar.

Rock salt & Black pepper.


Fill the largest saucepan you’ve got with water and pop it on the hob to  boil while you crack on. (Dont salt it, only fools salt water for cooking pasta).

Cut cherry toms in half.. Place on baking tray thats been heated & prepped with a few squirts of Olive Oil spray….Give the open halves a good half dozen squirts of the spray oil and season them with gay abandon.

Do the same with the sweet peppers on a second tray.

Place both in a pre heated oven.. 200 degrees Celsius for a total cooking time of 25 mins….( Why spray oil? Because its only 1 calorie a squirt..)

Toast a good handful of Pinenuts in a dry skillet..dont let’em burn.

Tear your Parma ham into strips and arrange in attractive fashion around the sides of enough deep dishes to enable each participant to have their own..There were 2 of us..Common sense!

12 mins before your peppers and toms are due to come out of the oven put the pasta into the boiling water..Give it the occasional stir.

God it’s easy!!

Once the pastas how you like it, ( taste it, then you’ll know), drain in a colander and pop in a tablespoon or so of good Olive oil…Give it a good shake and then split between the dishes..Give each a half share of roasted toms & peppers..Mix in the pinenuts and tear over a few leaves of fresh basil.

Serve with a bowl of rocket with a balsamic vinegar and Olive oil dressing…Go easy on the Olive oil Fatty!



I’ve now realised, that in providing instructions for this glorious repast, I have missed my daily posting deadline…so I do hope that someone gives it a bash and enjoys it as much as I did…..It’s very simple flavours… but so, so, so lovely.


(On a seperate note, dinner in SHPics mansions can be a much more scary affair, should the seasoning cupboard get ransacked.)

All Images Copyright Stuart Allan Hyde

  1. ~mimo~

    what’s the real deal with salting or not salting water for pasta? My mother in law shakes her head at me with horror when I boil mine without salt!


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Try this…Invite your mother in law for pasta..
      Cook two with salt, one without..get her to do a blind taste test..I GUARANTEE she won’t be able to tell the difference!….
      IF she DOES get it right, and CAN tell the difference, it simply proves she is in league with the Devil and you should immediately hit her over the head with both pans…


    1. Stuart Hyde - shpics

      Oh cripes…other than saying’ Rocket’ again I dont know how to elucidate…it’s a type of peppery salad leaf popular on these here shores, but I’m guessing that doesn’t help much…
      What a cloistered bunch you colonials are…


      1. scillagrace

        “Popular peppery salad leaf” is a pretty good description in my book. Wikipedia offers “arugula”, which is what we colonials call it. It also says that it’s considered an aphrodisiac in the Mediterranean. Your wife is good to you!

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