This is my almost nightly ritual for two children who will eat little else at this time...
12 mins: Half fill a medium saucepan with hot water and set to boil (covered is quicker) on a gas hotplate. Remove block of frozen pasta sauce cubes (labelled 'BOL') and the bag of frozen cooked Honey beef sausages from the freezer. Every week or so I cook 'BOL' and sausages to freeze.
11 mins: Get two pasta plates. Place a 'BOL' cube on a pasta plate; cover with a sheet of kitchen paper. Separate out a single sausage from the bag. 20 secs in the microwave may be required to loosen one from the scrum.
10 mins: The water should be boiling about now. Add some salt. Take a bunch of 'Instant' spaghetti out of its bag ('Instant' claims 8 mins to cook - I do 9 mins for the kids) . Snap the long spaghetti in half and drop in the boiling water. Stir with a teaspoon to prevent clumping.
9 mins: Place dish with 'BOL' cube into the microwave. Cook on HIGH for 1 min. Get two glasses out of the cupboard. Get a wine glass.
8 mins: Use the pasta stirring teaspoon to mash down the semi-cooked 'BOL' cube. Reset microwave and cook on HIGH for a further minute (or less if it was a smallish cube of 'BOL').
7 mins: Get milk out of the fridge. Pull out completed 'BOL' and carry to bench using the covering paper as mittens if hot. Toss the paper. Put frozen sausage into a freezer bag and cook on HIGH for 1 min.
6 mins: Get tomato sauce out of fridge. Pour a glass of milk. Get raspberry cordial and pour a fifth of a glass. Pour a small glass of red wine.
5 mins: Retrieve heated sausage and tip out of bag onto its plate. Toss the bag. Cut the sausage up into bite size pieces with a knife and fork. Leave the fork with the sausage and deposit the used knife on the sink.
4 mins: Squirt some sauce onto the sausage pieces and squirt some more sauce onto the 'BOL'. Stir the sauce into the 'BOL' thoroughly with the pasta stirring spoon (see above).
3 mins: Clear spaces at the table. Add water to the cordial. Place a paper napkin beside Matthew's place. Put the glass of cordial on the napkin. Place the glass of milk beside Gracie's place.
2 mins: Free time! A sip or two of wine works well here.
1 min: Turn off gas, drain the pasta. Pour half into each dish. Stir the 'BOL' through the pasta. Gracie gets the 'BOL' and pasta and Matthew gets the sausage and pasta.
Blastoff! Call the kids and then stand around cajoling while they make excuses why they can't finish all of it...
This all has a ritual accuracy, as I have been doing this for many months now. We live in hope that vistas of variety will open up real_soon_now, but I'm not holding my breath just yet. How old are my fussy children? Matthew is 9 this month and Gracie is 8 in December.