Lovebird Attack on Basil
This morning, I got up and went into the living room to put some water on to heat for coffee. I looked over at the lovebird cage on the windowsill, and the cover was on, as usual (we put it on during the night so the birds don’t wake up too early and wake us up too). Then, I looked next to the cage, to check on our little basil seedlings. We had been attempting a second crop, since in Xiamen, the weather is warm all year round. To my shock and horror, one of the basil seedlings was flopped over on its side, the stem terribly mangled and holes in its leaves.
Oh my goodness! Something has attacked and disfigured the basil!
That’s when I saw the culprits, perched on the side of a flowerpot. Two little, naughty, rainbow-colored, peachface lovebirds.
Honey! The birds got out! And they’ve mangled the basil!
Chris finally managed to get the birds back in their cage. Mrs. Waffles, the pleasantly plump lovebird, went in easily with a little bit of gastronomic temptation. But Mr. Waffles, the sly, adventurous one, didn’t give in so easily.
We do let them out occasionally, but not right near the plants. Somehow, they had managed to unclip the door and slide it open, and crawled out from under the birdcage cover. They’re smart little suckers. And they were loving it. They were in a heaven of windowsill herbs. And they didn’t attack the old crop of basil, oh no…they knew where the good stuff was. They just had to attack the tender new young basil plants.
Do you think this poor innocent basil will ever recover?
In the meantime, I’ve brought you a super fast pasta dish. Great weeknight food. Penne with a lemony ricotta-basil sauce. Yes. Basil.
Penne with Lemon, Ricotta and Basil
Use the freshest ricotta you can find, or if you want to, you can make your own! It’s surprisingly easy.
3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
zest of one lemon, grated
juice of one lemon
3 tbsp butter
½ pound penne
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Cook the penne in a pot of salted water until al dente, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain and set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, and whisk in the ricotta, lemon juice and lemon zest. Moisten with some of the reserved pasta water to make a sauce-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil. Divide among plates and top with sauce and basil. Serves 2.
How easy was that?