I’ve been wanting to write this update for over a week now, but every time I crack open my laptop the baby decides he needs my attention, or better yet, my eyes slowly start to shut the moment I begin typing, prompting me to put away the computer in favour of nap, which will hopefully keep me from falling asleep facedown in my dinner later in the day.
Life with our three-week-old is pretty perfect these days, but the sleep deprivation I feel is seriously no joke. It’s not that he’s up all night – because he really isn’t – it’s just that at 39 years old I don’t function on short 2-3 hour bursts of sleep quite like I did when I was 24 and getting up in the night with my first baby. It’s okay, though; my blue-eyed boy and I are getting used to hanging out together at 3am, and I kind of cherish the quiet time together in the middle of the night.
The rest of the family has adjusted quite well to Matthew’s arrival. His Dad is pretty fond of him, and they hang out together early in the morning when I sneak back to bed for a quick nap before the big boys get up for school, and last week, as I was quizzing Ben on literary terms with his stack of handmade flash cards, he looked at me and said that life hadn’t changed much since the baby was born, but he was really glad that Matthew was here. I took that as a compliment because all Rob and I wanted was for this change in our family to be a smooth transition for the older kids, and if they feel that life is trekking on like normal – something severely important to teenagers – I have to assume that we’re succeeding in our goal.
Speaking of making smooth transitions, I haven’t done a very good job of transferring that to the kitchen. We’ve hosted one family supper Sunday since Matthew joined us (and are attempting the second one this week), and I’ve done some baking while the older boys are at school, but dinners have been anything but delicious. Somewhere between the delivery room and coming home again I lost my meal-making mojo. There have been a few decent pots of soup, and a successful homemade pizza, but other than that things have turned out overcooked, undercooked, or not cooked at all, in which case Rob brings home something and we eat casually as I walk around the house with an infant strapped to my chest. I keep telling Rob that things will return to normal soon – more of a reassurance for myself than anything – but who am I kidding? There is no normal anymore because we’re still trying to figure out what that looks like for us, these days.
Today I decided to put a plan in place for myself, which included getting dinner sorted out by the time breakfast was served to the kids. It worked and somehow in the process I even managed to make a meal worthy of sharing with all of you. The sausages are dead simple, of course, as are the salad and the peas, but it’s the potatoes that you really want to know about. Patatas bravas is a Spanish bar snack that’s spicy and carby and perfect for late-night snacking alongside a few cold beverages. It also happens to be an ideal dish for serving to a crowd, or even your family on a regular Thursday night. Traditionally made quite spicy, this milder version is a little more kid-friendly, but could easily be kicked up a bit with the addition of some sriracha or chiles.
I like to serve mine with a small bowl of mayonnaise for dipping, but if I were plating this for a party, I’d likely drizzle it over the top of the potatoes and set it out with a bunch of forks for people to help themselves to. One-handed eating seems pretty appealing to me right now, and even if you aren’t wearing a three-week old all night long, you’re sure to appreciate the free hand which will guarantee you can also hold a cold beverage, something I crave almost as much as the sleep I’m missing these days.
P.S. While the potatoes are completely crave-worthy, I think we can all agree that the most delicious thing in this post is the baby, don't you agree? Truth be told, he is ridiculously sweet, and if you follow me on Instagram then you already know that I spend a good part of my day snapping pics of him because I just can't get over how cute he is.
The smoky tomato sauce can be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the fridge until needed.
For the tomato sauce:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 500 mL crushed, chopped or diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- juice of 1/2 lemon (1-2 tablespoons)
- Kosher salt
For the potatoes:
- 2 lbs. baby potatoes, halved
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- fresh chopped parsley
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, smoked paprika, sugar, chili powder, hot sauce, and lemon juice and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Using an immersion or standard blender, puree until smooth. Season with salt and set aside or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the potatoes and oil in an ovenproof skillet or baking pan and toss to combine. Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until the potatoes are crispy and golden brown.
Tip the baked potatoes into a serving dish and spoon the sauce over the top. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve with a bowl of mayonnaise for dipping.