Dealing with bureaucracy of any sort is never easy in your own country, let alone if you're a foreigner in a land world famous for its rules, laws and red tape...don't even get me started on the 50 pieces of documentation you need to get your drivers license or the economics degree required to understand insurance policies here.  

After an unsuccessful morning spent trying to get my kids passports notarised (for submission to the IRS) at first my bank and then City Hall to no avail, I was ready to give up.  Taking a break, I gave the kids lunch - no butter or olivio spread for sandwiches so I briefly considered lard before realising I was not in my grandmother's time and where in fact would one even find lard these days?...Luckliy Kate came over with icy poles   
('iceblocks' for the Kiwis among us) for the backyard so the kids were happy!

Luckily also, that Kate's neighbour turns out to be  a notary so was able to sign our 20 pieces of documentation later that day.  As both our husbands were working late/schmoozing with clients we decided to hold our inaugural communal pantry dinner - I gave Kate a small chicken to start cooking while I looked after her daughter.  When I arrived at her house a few hours later with some beans from the garden, she was looking very remorseful and confessed to having slightly singed the bird on the bbq.  Not only that, but being organic it was rather lean and would be lucky to feed the 2 of us, let along 4 kids and a husband later on...No problemo - we decided to make chicken pasta instead and the result was quite possibly one of the best I have ever eaten...super easy, quick and best of all, all four kids scoffed it!

Burnt Bird Pasta
(serves 4-6)
1 small chicken (preferably organic) barbequed and shredded
1 leek finely sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
juice of 1 lemon
handful of basil leaves
1 cup green beans (cut into pieces)
450g/1lb dry pasta of your choice eg fusilli, penne
grated parmesan

Cook pasta according to packet instructions.
In a frypan, cook leek in olive oil until soft, add chicken stock, lemon juice and cream and cook for a further 5 mins.  Steam beans in pasta water and add to leek mix.  Add chicken and basil and heat gently.  Combine sauce with cooked pasta and serve with fresh parmesan.

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