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Pesto Quesadilla, The Weather, Out-Mothering & The Truth about Teens

Close-Up Quesadilla

With itching fingers I eventually make it to the keyboard to blog.  Recipes and ideas are plentiful but with 6 kids to be occupied in the school holidays along with ‘real’ work, time to write has taken a bit of a dive.  When I say 6 kids I tell a lie, what we currently have in our charges is 4 monsters teens and 2 kids.  As many of you will know, for us Irish the topic of weather is a bit of a preoccupation.  (As I type I really should go to investigate what the screaming and banging doors is all about but oh I don’t have to, I can hear one of the monsters teens wailing their approach……..I’ve investigated, it’s 10 minutes later and no her arm is not broken so where was I?)
Yes, the weather.  On our particular patch of the island we’ve been stewing in a misty, stickily wet yet warm fumid fug.  (Yes fug, not quite a fog and a little ugly. Fumid? Well that’s just humid with the f-word in front of it.)   Cloying weather and unoccupied kids/teens are far from a pretty pairing.  With them in such close proximity and there not being enough tvs and remote controls to go around I am an unwilling observer of human nature at its most selfish.  Tempers are short (mine included) and spats are frequent so I call on you to close your eyes and wish me some sunshine.  Just a little sunshine, please.
Out-Mothering & The Truth about Teens : (ignore this diversion if irrelevant)
Cheered I was to read Eilis O’Hanlon’s piece in The Sunday Independent Life magazine last weekend. Yes cheered.  Here was another parent telling the truth about children and it was the most, in-fact probably the only, honest piece that I have ever read on this topic.  I also chuckled yesterday when I read a twitter comment where a guy was questioning whether a mother and baby group  out to lunch was ‘really enjoyable’ as it looked like ‘so much hassle!’ and observed that ‘it seems like they are trying to out-mother each other.’  I love words and ‘out-mothering’ is an expression that I have never heard before and it says so, so much, doesn’t it?  With that in mind and the tone of Eilis’s piece I do think that more truth-telling and less out-parenting could be rallying to those who are struggling under the misguided aspiration to do it all according to the text books and child-psychologists (no apologies but I always change the channel when they come on with their sugar-coated dispensations) in replication of the imagined super-moms/dads out there.  They don’t exist and as a true friend observed, people who say their kids never fight are liars!
So from where I’m at right now I will give you my truth on my experience to date with teens.
Accept it.  You dear parent are an embarrassment.  I mean just look at the state of you, straining your eyes as you fumble, clumsily fat-fingered on your i-phone.  But you’ll be given the odd nod of approval or grunt of acknowledgement until you’ve turned out the insides of your pockets and there’s no more straggling cents stuck to the bottom of your handbag.  There will be stand-offs and silences peppered with profanities.  There will be cracked plates and unhinged doors.  Socks – they will greet you, odd and discarded at every turn; under cushions, couches, pillows, mattresses, they will be everywhere and always dirty.  Attitude, more attitude, unmade beds, unopened curtains, spiralling electricity bills (obsessed with turning on but not off every light in the house, probably because they have petrified themselves by watching an unsuitably rated horror movie).  There will be no orange juice left in the morning (just the tease of the empty carton) and the blender will never be washed after use.  But then there are the good bits…eh, hello there aren’t any.  No wait, if you have girls there will be sporadic baking, particularly brownies and cupcakes, and if you have boys they will want to mow the grass – once anyway.  Sexist? Maybe, but true.
Tempus Fugit one hopes and for now I’m clinging to that and surviving on the one sound piece of advice I’ve been given on parenting to date and that is (if there are two of you) ‘stick together’ – even if you totally disagree with what your partner happens to be preaching, back him/her up in front of the mob for if you divide they will conquer.
Actually there’s a second piece of advice that I was given too, passed on in wisdom from that particular mother’s granny and it was ‘Step over them – if they’re fighting, step over them.’
Another classic from one of my own grandmothers was ’twill all end in tears’ but that’s not advice, that’s a seasoned observation.  She also used to mutter  ‘another day over Thank God.’
If you’d care to share any sage words yourself please do leave a comment.
In the knowledge that hunger will eventually win over a sulk let’s move on to the recipe.
A quesadilla is a traditionally Mexican invention but lets give it an Italian twist and a taste of sunshine.  With the fragrance of Italian fields of fresh basil now a real memory (see last blog post) I chose to relive it with a generous smearing on one side of a tortilla with basil pesto and the other with sun-dried tomato pesto.  Inside was filled with sliced salami and grated cheese.  As visitors to my house will know these are my emergency crowd feeders and a favourite of mine for lunch too.  Completely versatile, stuff them with what you will.
Selecting a Quesadilla
Pesto Quesadilla
Serves 1 hungry person or stretch it to 2 served with a side salad.
You will need:
a little olive/rapeseed oil for frying
2 flour tortillas
basil pesto
sun-dried tomato pesto
slices of salami
handful grated cheese
Generously smear one side of a tortilla with basil pesto and one side of the second tortilla with sun-dried tomato pesto.
Top with sliced salami and then the grated cheese and sandwich the tortillas together.
Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium/high heat.
Cook the quesadilla in the frying pan for a minute or two on each side until golden brown, gently pressing it down with a spatula to encourage the heat to penetrate and melt the cheese.  Cooks quickly so be careful not to burn/blacken.
Til next time, Sheila
P.S. At time of eventual posting, the sun has emerged, there are blue skies and the house has emptied of teens 🙂


Irish Author - Dubut romantic fiction novel 'Good Enough' published in 2021. 'Gimme Dinner' a collection of 50 great dinner recipes published in 2022. 'Enjoy' published by Mercier Press in 2016 .'Gimme the Recipe' published in 2012. Work in admin of our Food Safety Consultancy business - Industrial Management Systems with my husband Denis.

10 thoughts on “Pesto Quesadilla, The Weather, Out-Mothering & The Truth about Teens

  1. Mothering……my lord what a job. My brood consists of 2 and as they are still both under 4′ in height all I hear for hours each day is “mom this” and “mom that”, it eventually begins to rattle in the centre of my brain until quietness comes at 8pm. Then out of the darkness last night came my Mexican culinary friend with a feast of mouth watering native dishes as my birhtday treat. Dishes from mild and creamy to what I now call ‘rocket fuel’ ………leaving your mouth tingling with the after shock of chilli.
    Where would we be without food? I have just found a web page ‘fabulous food trails’ where you can do a 2.5 hour of Cork or Dublin and get an insight into the hidden treasures of the cities.
    Keep up the good work. You bring a ray of sunshine to my day always.

    1. Oh that Mexican feast sounds sooo good and a bit of adult company is good for the soul too. I’ve done that food trail in Cork (I wrote about it a few posts back) and it was amazing. I did it on my own and it was a great escape for a couple of hours – it would make a great gift for someone too. So happy that you enjoy the blog, thank you Sheila.

  2. Am suffering the same dismal weather as also in Cork, along with (thankfully) only two fighting, bickering horrors, oops sorry, pre-teens. Discovering your blog has certainly brightened up my summer. All those wonderful Italian flavours and now can’t wait to try these quesadillas:-)

    1. Solidarity & a little sunshine will see us through 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment Kay, it’s great to get feedback from the like-minded 🙂

  3. Your commonsense approach is so refreshing Sheila. Yes parenting is a tough ‘gig’ at times, but maintaining a sense of humour and proportion at all times helps. And you know what? we all get through it, yes, with a few metaphorical bruises but lots of laughs along the way too. Such things are the memories laid down for future recounting and we smile now when our kids say ‘Remember when…’ with such affectionate recollection. Our turn then to say, well we didn’t do such a bad job after all. it doesn’t get better than that! Keep up the great work – Sandra

    1. Thanks Sandra. Totally agree with the sense of humour bit, it’s either a case of laugh or cry sometimes and if you don’t chose to laugh you’re in trouble 🙂

  4. I completely understand Sheila. I find parenting the 1 teen much harder than doing night feeds and juggling the smallies far more difficult. There is far more emotion involved in parenting teens.
    I’ve no advice for you. I’ve a huge desire to be a “good enough” parent rather than a competitive or best parent. So I can often be found walking away from arguments and ignoring the crap stuff to be honest. Perhaps the adage (from parenting toddlers) of “ignore the bad stuff, praise the good” still should apply! Or as I tend to say I’ve got 1 baby, 1 regular sized toddler & 1 large one!!!

    1. You certainly have a broad spectrum to deal with there Caitriona and thanks for taking the time to comment. With blue skies in Cork over the past couple of days we’ve all been able to get out and go our own way which sees less opportunity for conflict so I hope it lasts 🙂

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