Where do you go for a family holiday? If you have children you need somewhere where they can play safely and mix with other children. You need somewhere where you the adults can have some ‘me’ time.
What sort of holiday do you want? All Inclusive Hotel, B&B, self catering?? There’s plenty of choice especially from the major players. One of these is Thomson, you may be familiar with their ‘normal’ holidays but did you know that they did Caravan Holidays?
They have camps all across Europe and if I were choosing I’d go to Italy. Caravans with plenty of family space, well equipped and with outdoor decking for that Al Fresco living of eating outside, lazing and watching the kids play. You can read more about the Italian Camps at Thomson Al Fresco Italy.
Why Italy? Well think of it, sunshine, beaches, lakes, countryside, pizzas, pasta, wine…what more can you need?
I think its important to try the local food when on holiday, I can’t see the point of going abroad only to eat sausage and chips! Let’s face it most people are familiar with some Italian food – Pizza and Pasta!
But do you really want to spend all your time cooking on holiday? Well the answer is no, of course not.. but when you have children you may have to cook and the important thing is to make it quick and tasty.
I’ll give you a few ideas for quick lunches and a basic tomato sauce that you can zhush up depending on your mood and what ingredients you’ve grabbed from the local markets!
So on to lunches:
Make up a big plate of AntiPasto – Italian Meats, salad, bread, breadsticks, olives, jars of marinated peppers, artichokes etc. Serve with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Caprese – Slice some mozzarella and Beef tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little shredded fresh basil over the top – great with some crusty bread.
Bruschetta – grill slices of crusty bread, rub a clove of garlic over and top with chopped tomato mixed with basil / oregano and olive oil.
Nicoise salad – lettuce, tuna, olives and slices of boiled egg drizzled with any dressing you like.
What’s for tea Mum??
Most kids love pasta and you’ll notice lots of different types on your travels around the town and markets. Different colours and shapes, let the kids decide which one to have.
Having a Basic Pomodoro (Tomato) Sauce in your repertoire is a must. You can use it plain, reduce down to thicken it as a tomato base for pizza, serve with grilled steak and chops or use as a dip for breadsticks.
A basic Pomodoro sauce can be varied by adding any / all of the following – bacon, mushrooms, courgette, peppers, chilli or swap the basil for oregano.
- 1 large Onion – chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves crushed Garlic
- tin of chopped Tomatoes
- 2 tsp Tomato Puree (optional)
- 1 tsp dried Basil
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
Heat the Olive oil in a medium size saucepan and add the onion. Fry gently until transparent, add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and basil. Stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook with a lid on for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If it’s getting too thick add a little water. At the end of the cooking time adjust seasoning to your taste.
Serve with pasta – cook as per instructions on the packet!
- Tomato and Bacon: Fry 100g of sliced bacon or lardons with the onion. (reduce or omit salt)
- Tomato and Mushroom: Add 50g to 100g sliced or chopped mushrooms.
- Vegetarian Tomato: Add 50g sliced mushrooms, 1 chopped green pepper, 1 small diced courgette, handful of chopped black olives.
- Pizziola Sauce : Add 1 chopped green pepper and 1 chopped red pepper, add some shredded fresh basil at the end instead of dried. This one is fantastic with Steak!!
- Amatriciana: Fry 100g of sliced bacon or lardons with the onion. (reduce or omit salt). Add one sliced chopped chilli or add half teaspoon of chilli flakes. This is the one you can see in this picture – served with garlic and basil linguine.
BUT – the best thing about this? – you can also use a ready made jar of tomato pasta sauce! There will be plenty to be had in the local shops. So the simplest ‘What’s for tea Mum?’ put pasta on to cook, slice up some crusty bread, open the jar warm the contents, drain pasta, dump onto plates, pour over the sauce, fork and spoon and get your gob open!! Under 15 minutes – Job Done!!
Disclosure: I was sent some Italian foods to try in order to provide a recipe and introduction to Thomson Al Fresco Italy. I was not told what to write and all words are my own.
All photos are copyrighted to Soosie Wales and cannot be used without permission.
If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES