comments 11

Caesar salad with pasta

I worked late today, which meant that a salad was good news in the cooking stakes, but bad news in the shopping stakes, as I wanted to try something different from yesterday’s dressing, a creamy dressing rather than a vinaigrette.

Caesar dressing was the obvious choice.

“I’m working late,” I said to LD#1.  “When you come home from school, will you go to the shop for some Parmesan?”

They have some lovely cheeses in the village shop opposite my house.  How, you might ask, can I bear to move away from a shop that stocks local goat’s cheese, and olives, and different types of flour, and sweet salty perfectly cooked ham, and home baked cakes?  I wonder that myself sometimes.

A shop, of course, is no good if you can’t get to it, nor if your daughter refuses to go for you, on the grounds that she doesn’t like interacting with other people.

Luckily, I found one of those pots of ready grated Parmesan in the fridge, so when I got home, I was able to make Caesar dressing as follows:

1 egg yolk, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1tsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp fish sauce dash of Worcestershire sauce.  Mix it like mad with a whisk.  Mix in finely grated Parmesan to taste.  Job done.

I’d made some pasta the night before – 1 egg + 100g pasta flour + salt.  Mix it all together and run it through the pasta machine.  Job similarly done. I know Delia says that the dried stuff from the shop is just as good, but it’s really not.

Here is the finished salad, with cheddar shavings on the top in the absence of a good, hard cheese.  Obviously this recipe could be improved by the addition of a sociable, shop-going child:


The school blog says that Year 8 have been caving and climbing and are a little wet now!  I worry about LD#2, as she gets cold very easily.  I hope her wetsuit kept her dry.

At home, things are still quiet.  I ask LD#1 whether she wants to practise her GCSE French speaking controlled assessment on me, but she says she is OK.  I hint that I could help her with her accent, as, although she is adept with the words, she pronounces them like the proverbial vache espagnole.  She says a firm No Thank You, explaining that she doesn’t like sounding too French.

The controlled assessment is a weird thing.  I remember when I learned French at school, we were taught how to write and how to speak because we would be examined in those very things at the end of the course.  I was really surprised when I found out that one of the exam boards no longer runs exams in speaking and writing.  Instead, they do controlled assessments, which are pre-prepared tasks, which the students write for themselves, then remember and regurgitate at some point during the year.  It doesn’t seem quite so rigorous as an exam, somehow.







  1. I love your taste in food. The fish sauce, in the Caesar, is a great idea. I use anchovy for myself, but that’s too strong for many. I’m going to copy you. ! 🙂

  2. Oh that sounds wonderful. That with all you have to do, you make your own pasta! I am envious of your strength and energy! I am sorry LD1 doesn’t want to sound French and doesn’t want to go shopping alone and interact with people.(Her age)

    I loved your post yesterday about the salad with scallops and some component of dressing you made with balsamic vinegar. You are quite a gourmet, Denise! And to think LD2 is missing out. She may not like “sour” food, but having to eat brown and white food sounds like what I ate in art school.

  3. Caesar salads are wonderful (easy on the anchovies please, chef). Doesn’t want to sound too French? Surely that’s the whole point. French and Italian sound fantastic. Bardot would have been nothing with a Glaswegian accent. I think the EU should abandon all languages except French and Italian (and perhaps Welsh). Could LD1 be a diplomat in the future?

  4. Controlled assessments should be scrapped! Not just in French but in all subjects. It’s just an easy way for students to gain a percentage mark towards their GCSE, so scaffolded are they by teachers frightened of their positions. I’ve just been supporting our year 10’s doing a history assessment. They had so much help at the planning stage that short of the teacher actually writing it all out on the board, the work isn’t really their own. And how much are they actually learning? As you say, it’s all simply regurgitation. GCSE’s getting harder – who for, the staff? Sorry, I just don’t buy into that one.

    • I wondered what the mighty Pellett Pen would make of controlled assessments!  I have to say I was very surprised when I found out how French worked.  The English CAs don’t seem so bad – they had to write stories for their last one, so they necessarily had to be very different from each other and their own work.  Also my kids go to a school which has lived in a bubble of denial over the Gove and OFSTED reforms and they have been busy doing their own thing and being quite free and easy over the state of results.  They just didn’t buy into all the ultra-managed atmosphere that most schools have to create these days to get the results the government expects them to be getting. It caught up with them at their recent OFSTED though, where they got a 3, even though I think my children are generally well taught and the atmosphere of the school is really nice.  In some cases, I think their teachers are excellent.  

      As you know, the problem is, the government says that schools “should” get a certain level of results so as you say the schools go hook or crook (within legal means of course) to get them, because the scenario when you *don’t* get those results is so dire.  And then the government says “Oh, look!  Standards are rising.”


  5. How can you ever leave such an amazing cheese shop? So nice of LD#1 to pick up the parm! The meal sounds amazing. I don’t have a pasta machine, so I will have to try the salad dressing. I love anything with fish sauce and ALWAYS have a bottle in my fridge; it adds a subtle note of umami to a dish. As for French, props to anyone who tackles the language. It is beautiful! I never got any further than Spanish. 🙂

  6. I’ve been living on salads this week. Your dressing sounds really good so I will give it a go this afternoon. Daughters can be stroppy as teenagers but after reaching 21 they become elegant butterflies and friendship with mums tend to bloom . I am sure ld#2 is having a great time. No point telling you to stop worrying cos we all do.

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