Pasta, pronto!

The world’s fastest and most delicious pasta recipe.

Pasta la vista, baby

There are three things I’ve never been able to give up…not for Lent, for a diet, or for charity. I’ve tried and I’ve failed. My three non-negotiables are: pizza, potatoes and pasta. I live off these magnificent carbs and they are a firm staple in our weekly shop, although if I had to pick, based on versatility then pasta would have to be my MVP. This is my favourite way to cook pasta because it’s so speedy. I try not to eat once I get home from working at the theatre, but on the off chance that I’ve had an after hours medicinal wine at the bar and have no self control, this is my go to. It’s faster than ordering a take away and tastes far superior too!

Come and spaghett it!

Pronto Pasta

Serving Size:
20 mins
If Chip had thumbs, he could do this


  • dried oregano or mixed Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • bunch of spaghetti or linguine
  • a good chunk of butter, (or a vegan alternative)
  • parmesan/cheddar/hard cheese of choice
  • 2 x bay leaves


  1. Put a pan on to a medium heat and bring a large pot of salted water to boil
  2. Drop your pasta of choice into rumbling water and sprinkle your dried herbs or oregano into your heated pan to release their flavour. I just eyeball this but I assume it’s roughly 2 tbsp
  3. Once you can smell the herbs, add in a ladle full of the hot pasta water and your bay leaves. It should sizzle and then simmer, so turn the heat down
  4. Add your chunk of butter – notice I said chunk and not knob, please don’t skimp on the butter, it’s what makes the dish so damn delicious
  5. Once the butter has melted away, (roughly enough time to top up your wine or lay the table) remove the bay leaves and add a good helping of cheese. Again, I don’t measure for this but I’d say it’s a fair portion, maybe a cup?
  6. Drain your pasta, but reserve a little of the cooking water in case you want a looser consistency
  7. Add the steaming fresh pasta to the cheesy, creamy sauce and mix with love
  8. Garnish heavily with cracked black pepper and extra cheese. I like to adorn with any loose fresh herbs that I have, basil works nicely. Mix in pre-cooked bacon to turn this into a carbonara or mushrooms cooked in liquid smoke for a vegan alternative. Add a garlic flatbread and a green salad and this super speedy meal can satisfy a whole family.
One dish, so many pastabilities…

What’s your favourite recipe for something yummy in a hurry? Let us know in the comments ~L.

Happiness in a bowl

Theatre Is Back!

L gives us her round up of the top shows you should be supporting now!

With the news that 17 May has been given the green light for socially distanced performances, L gives her round-up of the top shows you should be supporting now!

Phantom Curtain Call – Photography by Pamela Raith
  • Les Misérables – The Staged Concert: Do you hear the people sing? Well officially from Thursday, 20 May you can – live! Les Mis has always been one of my favourite scores and this staged production has an all-star cast that will ensure you leave the theatre dreaming the dream.
  • Pretty Woman – The Musical: If you love the film as much as I do then I’m sure you’ll love this show too. I have a couple of friends in the cast and I had heard amazing things from them about the production. When the pandemic hit and Pretty Woman closed, I was gutted to have missed it. Well, with tickets from just £18 and a new home at The Savoy, to miss this would be a big mistake. Big. HUGE.
  • Heathers – The Musical: Again, this is another film favourite but the musical has cultivated its own fan following. There are tickets available for a run at both Theatre Royal Haymarket and a UK Tour, but don’t dally as they will sell out very quickly!
  • This Is Going To Hurt – stand-up show from Adam Kay: I devoured this book during the first lockdown, and doesn’t that feel like a 100 years ago? I’m ready to fall in love with Kay all over again, especially as the TV series is due to be aired soon! How apt to hear tales from the NHS, whilst wearing a mask.
  • Witness for the Prosecution – play of Agatha Christie’s novel: Vince and I had just missed out on booking tickets for this production, pre-pandemic, and I’m thrilled that it will be back this Autumn. We love a whodunnit and this one is performed in the magnificent London County Hall.

Later in the year we’re really looking forward to seeing Laura Marling in Brighton, (I know E is also hunting down some Billy Bragg tickets for the same venue) and the Van Gogh Exhibition in the new year. There’s so much to see and do over the next coming months but it goes without saying, do be gentle with yourself as we ease out of this hibernation. Personally, I have found pencilling events into my diary to be such a tonic the last couple of weeks. I can’t believe we can finally have things to look forward to and there are so many artists who are going to need our support now more than ever. For me, buying tickets for arts events now is my way of paying it forward, after all, I’m hoping some people will want to do the same when I open in The Phantom of the Opera in June!

Phantom at the Leicester Curve, pre pandemic. Photography by Pamela Raith

What are you looking forward to seeing in the next few months? ~ the de-la-Haye Girls.

And we’re back, with the little things that make our hearts sing

Things that have made our heart sing this week…

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Easter this year fell during a couple of family birthdays and between all the chocolate and the sunshine making an appearance and E working all-hours on a massive change at work, we felt we needed a little break from writing. Now we are back.

I’ve found April to be a real tonic so far. Those dark January and February evenings and never-ending March seem a life time ago. I can’t put my finger on any specific reason why but I suspect it’s because there’s been so many little things that have sparked my joy over the past few weeks. And in true de-la-Haye Girls fashion, there’s no better way to share these musings with you that via a list!

So here we go. These are the little things that have made my heart sing:-

  • Iggy Box subscription – this was a celebratory gift that E kindly purchased for me and I’ve been so impressed! For a very modest fee, each month the company posts a hand-poured candle from a small independent business, as well as some other treats too. The aromas and burn-time have been great and I have a nice little stockpile growing that can be used as re-gifts if I’m ever caught short, and if I can bear to be parted with these gorgeous candles. If you’re searching for a thoughtful gift, I can’t recommend Iggy Box enough. Get a subscription for yourself too, it’s a lovely midweek pick-me-up.
  • Chip’s daily adventures – our rescue tom cat tabby, Chip, has been with us for about a month now and it’s been so lovely to watch him becoming braver – and naughtier – each day. Chip had previously been an indoor cat so we had no idea if he would want to explore our garden but he’s fallen in love with the great outdoors. I could spend all day watching him chasing butterflies and wading through the grass like a tiger. He did give me a mild heartache two nights ago when he ventured out and didn’t come back once it was dark, but hey, cats are gonna cat.
Little Chip
  • BBQ weather – Vince’s Mum and Dad very kindly gifted us an unused barbeque right in time for that spot of sun over the Easter bank holiday weekend and we’ve gotten such good use out of it. The smoky flavour you get from the grill is so good, it just tastes like summer to me. It’s also encouraging us to make proper use of our garden which has been pretty unloved up until now. Oh, and our latest obsession is fajitas but with the veggies and proteins flame-grilled on the BBQ – thank me later.
  • Line of Duty – anyone else hooked? I’ve had to go back to the beginning as I’d totally forgotten how everything unfolded and now Vince is re-watching it with me. We love a series to dive into and follow along and we haven’t had anything this gripping since Game of Thrones.
  • Turning our walks into runs – the sun just makes everything that little bit easier, doesn’t it? I’ve really been enjoying transitioning our daily walk into a run. Stick on a banging playlist and let those endorphins run riot.

E’s list:

  • My new phone is bringing me much joy. It is midnight blue and has the snazziest set of cameras. Oh, I shall be a happy snapper all summer long and will post lots of photos to TdlHG Insta grid!
  • Seeing my beautiful Mum, who I’ve not seen in person since December. I cannot wait. Mum turned 80 earlier this month and we have a belated little celebration planned for a weekend very soon.
  • 3 July. After not being able to see my gang of besties from school since Christmas 2019, we have a July date in diaries for shopping, a late lunch/early dinner (depending on your point of view) and drinks. I cannot wait. We’ve managed several, rowdy Zoom catch-ups over the past year, but I’ve missed the Famous Five (our very tongue-in-cheek name for ourselves) so much.
The self-proclaimed Famous Five, friends for over 30 years
  • Raw Love’s white chocolate and cream wafer bars. They are sublime – think Kinder Bueno for vegans. We buy them by the case.
  • This one’s going to sound massively pretentious, but honestly, it’s not meant to. For A-levels many, many years ago, one of my English literature set texts was the poetry of W B Yeats, which I adored. I’ve recently finished reading a biography of his life and am part of the way through re-reading his collected poems. They are even better than I remembered and, be still my beating heart, I found a recording online of Cillian Murphy reading one my favourites, When You Are Old, in his native Dublin accent. Swoon. I am planning a road trip to Ireland to visit all the places that were so important to Yeats: Dublin, Rosses Point and Ben Bulben in Sligo and his beloved Thoor Ballylee in Galway. Oh yes, great plans are emerging.
When You Are Old

What little things have lifted your spirits this Springtime? ~ the de-la-Haye Girls