This is a quick and easy pasta dish for summer days when you don’t want to spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Flavoured with fresh mint and zingy lemon, it’s ideal for using up the last of those broad beans on the veggie patch.
Fusilli with Broad Beans and Mint
Serves 3 to 4
200g dried fusilli
100g shelled broad beans
3tbsp creme fraiche
juice of half a lemon
large handful of fresh mint, chopped
125g grated Cheddar cheese
glug extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
Meanwhile boil or steam the broad beans for a few minutes until just cooked, with a little bite, and drain. Refresh in cold water.
When the pasta is tender, drain – reserving a little of the pasta water, and return the pasta to the hot pan.
Add the broad beans, creme fraiche, lemon juice, mint, cheese and olive oil to the pasta and mix thoroughly until the pasta is well coated. Stir in a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce if required. Season to taste and serve.
There you go – told you it was easy!
As this dish features lots of lovely broad beans, I’m entering it into August’s Simple and in Season – a wonderful blog challenge hosted by Ren Behan at Fabulicious Food, celebrating the best in seasonal produce.
Well, I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed my first experience hosting a blog challenge. What a wonderful opportunity to get to know new food bloggers and share in such a diverse and exciting collection of recipes. Before I go any further I must say a massive thank you to Karen at Lavender & Lovage for entrusting her Herbs on Saturday challenge to me for the month of July!
I have to admit I was a little worried I wouldn’t receive any entries during my ‘term in office’ but can you believe there were actually 30 entries to Herbs on Saturday this month. Thank you each and every one of you for your entries, each dish a glorious celebration of cooking with herbs. So let’s take a look at each of those dishes…
First up is this tasty sausage plait from Mamacook, which I can’t wait to try out on my own family – we love both puff pastry and sausages in our house! And I love the fact there are sneaky hidden vegetables in there too.
Doesn’t this Pan Bagnatfrom Lavender & Lovage look incredible? A gorgeous French picnic sandwich that just cries out for a day spent lazing on a rug in a summer meadow with some good friends, a bottle of cold white wine or perhaps some Pimms, and maybe a game or two of French cricket or Pooh sticks…
I love the fact that Cooking Around the World’s Mediterranean Feta and Tomato Bake comes complete with its own fairy story! It looks such a fresh and simple dish, perfect for mopping up with a great hunk of crusty bread. Definitely my kind of food!
Try it, like it, love it are the instructions accompanying this simply delicious spaghettis aux herbes et ail from Simple Quiet Modern, and I have no doubt that anyone who tastes it will instantly fall in love with it. I adore simple pasta dishes, with a glug of good olive oil and some lovely fresh herbs, and this bowl of spaghetti looks incredible.
Next up is my chicken and noodle salad with coriander and mint, a fresh, zingy summer salad. My family weren’t quite sure what to make of it when I first served it. Cold noodles! Are you mad?! But after a couple of bites, they were persuaded…
Another simple pasta dish now; this time a quick and satisfying Pepper and Mushroom Pappardelle from Tinned Tomatoes, who knows a thing or two about good vegetarian family food. I do love a creamy pasta sauce and was interested to see this recipe features goat’s yoghurt as well as cream. I must give it a try!
If you happen to have a glut of gooseberries or have over-indulged at a pick-your-own farm, then this Devilled Gooseberry Sauce and Tarragon Vinegar from As Strong As Soup should have you pricking up your ears. It sounds absolutely delicious and easy to make, and apparently is good with oily fish like mackerel, as well as chicken, duck and pork.
I think cheese scones with salad are perfect for a light lunch, providing a tasty alternative to bread, and it would seem Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen agrees. Take a look at her scrummy Cheese and Herb Scone, featuring chives, rosemary and thyme.
These Turkish Zucchini Frittersfrom Tinned Tomatoes look incredibly tasty and very, very versatile. I know my two girls are going to love trying these with their favourite hummus and soured cream dips, and I think they’ll work well in their lunch boxes when school starts again.
I have never tried Involtini di melanzane before but after seeing this beautiful entry from Leeks & Limoni I really must put that right and make it soon. Aubergine is a favourite ingredient of mine and I do like the sound of these rolls with cheese, pinenuts, passata, mint and oregano.
Food and childhood are inextricably linked and in her beautiful entry white asparagus tips with tarragon sauce, Helene at French Foodie Baby recalls memories of Sunday lunches eating white asparagus as a child in her mother’s apartment. Here she adapts her mother’s recipe for her own son Pablo.
Pablo is one very lucky boy! Helene at French Foodie Baby created this heavenly Nectarine Shiso Ice Creamfor him as his first ever taste of ice cream. I have never tried the herb shiso before but I really must track some down now!
Next French Foodie Baby brings us her take on a French classic, Salmon with sorrel. This is an incredibly simple and delicious dish, which she’s created as a puree for her young son and is ideal for anyone looking for new ideas for little ones moving onto solids.
Back to me again for penne with chicken, tarragon and broccoli, a very quick and easy pasta dish using lots of one of my favourite herbs, fresh tarragon, as well as purple sprouting broccoli which I just can’t get enough of!
Mich from Piece of Cake brings us this tempting Rosemary Foccacia next. I just wanted to reach into my computer screen and grab a slice when I saw it! I’m rather partial to a good foccacia and this looks very, very good.
These blackberry lavender popsicles from girlichef look so enticingly juicy and refreshing. As Heather herself describes them – berrylicious! The pairing of blackberry with lavender really appeals to me. We have lots of lavender in the garden so I can’t wait for the blackberries to ripen so I can make my own…
Heather from girlichef brings us another refreshing recipe for hot sunny days with her sensational Herbal Lemonade– inspired by the novel Thank You for Flying Air Zoe via a band called The Flip-Flops which made her think of summertime. Love it!
I defy anyone to be able to look at this piece of toast and not instantly crave strawberry jam! Sarah from The Garden Deli brings us this gorgeous strawberry and basil jam, which she describes as not so sweet as your usual strawberry jam, but still with that fresh taste a good strawberry jam should have. I want some now!
For me, this Courgette, Feta & Basil Bruschettafrom Chez Foti is summertime on a plate. I always enjoy reading about Lou’s adventures in her veggie patch, or rather potager, over in France. This summer she has a large glut of courgettes and therefore a steady stream of clever and creative courgette recipes on her blog. This bruschetta looks so tasty and I look forward to recreating, along with her yummy courgette cake…
I’ve developed a bit of a passion for beetroot in the last year, probably as a result of our weekly veg box, and so this Beetroot with Chorizo, Feta and Mintfrom Farmersgirl Kitchen is right up my street. The combination of sweet beetroot with the spicy, smokey chorizo, salty cheese and punchy mint definitely appeals.
Next up is A Gratin of Tomatoes from how to cook good food and as soon as Laura mentioned she made this dish in minutes, she’d got my full attention. It’s the school holidays and with two young daughters I’m constantly on the look-out for quick and easy food to make the family, and this tasty gratin looks just the ticket.
Karen from Lavender & Lovage offers us a second dish with her glorious Stuffed Tomatoes with Herbs and Oats. I really like the idea of using oats to make the meat go further, which means it’s both a frugal and tasty family dish.
French Foodie Baby offers us more stunning photography and another incredible yet simple dish with her Artichoke bottoms with green sauce. You could serve just about anything alongside a soft-boiled egg and I’m there, but this dish really does beg to be made. I’ve said it before, but little Pablo really is a very lucky boy!
Herby Roast Chicken from A Trifle Rushed is our next entry – now doesn’t that look so good? You can almost smell the roast chicken from here – yum! Another dish which shows that good food doesn’t need to be complicated; it’s all down to seasonal, local ingredients cooked simply and well.
This Pesto Linguine is a favourite dish of Jacqueline over at How to be a Gourmand – a quick mid-week meal when she needs an easy, fuss-free dinner. It’s a classic dish elevated to a whole new level through Jacqueline’s beautiful photography.
Raspberry, lemon and mint semifreddo is my final entry into this month’s challenge. I don’t own an ice-cream maker so semifreddo is my homemade ice-cream of choice. This version is even easier as it uses condensed milk instead of eggs. Don’t you think it looks pretty?
Linzi at Lancashire Food says her Grilled halloumi and herb salad will transport you to the Mediterranean in moments and I absolutely believe her. I love using heaps of fresh herbs in salads, as an ingredient in their own right, rather than just a flavouring, and Linzi’s salad looks the perfect accompaniment to her paprika-dusted grilled halloumi. I’m beginning to drool a little thinking about it…
Tomato and basil are a match made in heaven, and they certainly look good together in this Tomato and basil tart by Blue Kitchen Bakes. As I’m not a natural-born pastry chef myself, I particularly enjoyed Jen’s descriptions of her escapades while making the pastry for this tart!
Lou at Chez Foti continues her love affair with courgettes with her 70s Flashback Stuffed Marrow – an overgrown courgette in other words. This looks so much better than the flabby stuffed marrows I remember from my childhood and I love the combination of pork in the stuffing with sage and apple. If the courgettes in my veg patch ever get going, I’ll be leaving one of them to grow and grow just so I can make this dish.
And finally we have a Tomato and Herb Foccaciafrom Working London Mummy, who uses slow roasted tomatoes and fresh oregano to top her sumptuous olive oil rich bread. Regular readers of my blog will know how much I adore slow roasted tomatoes, so this recipe’s going straight to the top of my ‘to do’ list!
So there you have it – all 30 entries for July’s Herbs on Saturday challenge. I’m sure you’ll agree, they make a very fine recipe collection.
Lovely recipe. Really like the use of herbs in a sweet dish, and the flavour pairing intrigues me. I imagine the slight sharpness of the shiso combined with the concentrated sweetness of the roasted nectarines is quite amazing and adds so much to the ice cream.
So huge congratulations go to Helene at French Foodie Baby – the cookbook will be in the post to you very soon.
And congratulations also to girlichef as Helen at Fuss Free Flavours was keen to single out your Blackberry Lavender Popsiclesfor a special mention.
Thank you so much to everyone for sharing their fabulous food and for making Herbs on Saturday such a pleasure to host this month.
Semifreddo is a wonderfully easy ice-cream to make for anyone who, like me, doesn’t own an ice-cream maker. Usually it is made from eggs and whipped cream but this version uses condensed milk instead of eggs, making it even more of a doddle. It looks really rather impressive though, so no-one would ever guess it only took 10 minutes to make!
I got the idea for a semifreddo made from condensed milk from Kavey Eats. The theme for her Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge this month you see just happens to be condensed milk, and I was intrigued.
The recipe I’ve come up with to enter the challenge is a light and summery combination of perfumey raspberries with zingy lemon, lifted further still by the addition of chopped fresh mint. It’s loosely based on a recipe I saw on the Carnation website.
So far July has been an interesting month for me as a food blogger. For the first time, I’ve stepped up into the exciting world of hosting blog challenges. It is so lovely to see such a wide range of dishes being entered and getting to meet a whole host of new food bloggers.
Food writer and blogger supremo Karen Burns-Booth from Lavender & Lovage kindly let me loose on her popular Herbs on Saturday challenge this month. Herbs on Saturday is a lovely way for bloggers to share their dishes that celebrate cooking with herbs and we’ve received lots of wonderfully tempting recipes.
My second blog challenge hopes to raise awareness of a fantastic family cookbook produced by a charity called TACT, which is the UK’s largest fostering and adoption charity. I’ve worked with the Bristol and South West branch of TACT for the last four years or so, and I am constantly amazed and inspired by the incredible support they provide to many of our most vulnerable children and young people.
The Care to Cook recipe challenge is calling on people to submit their recipes for food they’d cook to welcome someone into their family. We’ve only had a handful of entries so far, but I’m hoping the prize of a copy of the Care to Cook recipe book signed by TV chef Lorraine Pascale (who happens to be TACT’s celebrity patron) might encourage a few more. If you have not entered yet, please do! The closing date is 12 August.
In the kitchen, it’s been rather exciting too. Writing this food blog has pushed me to be so much more creative and adventurous as a cook. And luckily most of my experiments seem to be working out well and the family is enjoying the food. Of course, there are plenty of safe, easy, every day meals in the mix, as you’ll see from the meal plans below. As a mum and a freelancer, I just don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen every day. But when I can, I do like to have a go at something a little bit different.
Recent successes include…
As well as some tasty food, I’ve had two other reasons to make me smile recently. The first was when one of the other mums at school came up to me to tell me she’d cooked my chicken and noodle salad after seeing it on the blog, and how much she’d enjoyed it. It’s always lovely to receive positive comments on the blog, but it’s something very special to have someone tell you in person they like your food. That really made my day that did.
And then the other thing that made me chuckle lots was when my daughter Jessie insisted on photographing her dinner plate before she would start eating! She’s just begun work on her very own blog Jessie’s Art and she plans on putting her photo up there sometime soon. Like mother, like daughter it seems.
In case you need any ideas, here are my meal plans for the last few weeks…
Monday 25 June Lunch: pasta salad
Dinner: stir-fried Swiss chard with ginger and noodles
Tuesday 26 June
Lunch: ham salad rolls
Dinner: lamb casserole (F)
Wednesday 27 June Lunch: rice salad with broad beans
Dinner: ham, egg and chips
Thursday 28 June Lunch: tuna mayonnaise rolls
Dinner: salad wraps and homemade hummus
That was my husband’s reaction the other day when I told him we were having this chicken and noodle salad.
“But Mum! Noodles should be hot!” was Jessie’s response.
Mia took a mouthful of noodles and promptly spat them out.
Not the best of starts. But after a little cajoling and a bit of encouragement, things did get better.
“Actually, this isn’t bad,” Jason conceded in between mouthfuls.
Once Mia got used to the texture of the noodles, she was tucking in wholeheartedly. And Jessie polished hers off without any further fuss. “Yum,” she declared on finishing.
It can be so easy to serve up the same kinds of foods day in and day out but I’m one of those annoying mothers who likes to challenge her family’s taste buds. And it does pay off. Now they’ve got their heads around cold noodles in a salad, I think we’ll be coming back to this quite a lot.
It’s a beautifully freshy, zingy dish – perfect for summer, or at least helping to give the impression of a summer. The chicken thighs are poached so they are lovely and moist and the fresh coriander and mint, along with the lemon, ginger and garlic in the dressing, pack it full of flavour.
I also added some scrummy broad beans from the veg box; the ones in the garden aren’t ready yet. Shelling broad beans has to be one of my favourite jobs in the kitchen. It makes me feel like a 1950s mother for some reason.
If you were making an authentic South East Asian noodle salad, you probably should also use chilli and fish sauce in the dressing. I left these out because a) chilli would be a step too far for little Mia and b) my husband can’t eat fish – I know! How inconsiderate is that?! But if these sound good to you, go ahead.
Chicken noodle salad with coriander and mint
4 skinless chicken thighs
½ onion, peeled and chopped
5 kaffir lime leaves
small handful black peppercorns
200g vermicelli noodles
3 spring onions, finely sliced
1 carrot, grated
½ yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
large handful shelled broad beans
large handful fresh coriander, chopped
large handful fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp sesame seeds
6 lettuce leaves, shredded
Place the chicken thighs into a pan with the onion, 5 kaffir lime leaves and peppercorns and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Allow the chicken to cool in the liquid.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain and run under cold water to refresh.
Dry fry the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes until golden. Remove to cool on a plate.
Place all the dressing ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Sieve into a jug and leave to cool.
Into a large salad bowl place the noodles, spring onions, carrot, yellow pepper, broad beans, coriander, mint, sesame seeds and lettuce. Pour over the dressing and mix well to ensure everything is well covered. I like to use my hands for this bit.
Slice the cooled chicken thighs, arrange on top of the salad and serve.
Herbs on Saturday is one of my favourite bloggers’ challenges as it always attracts such diverse and delicious dishes, so I really must not let the side down! It is a simple and easy way to share recipes throughout the month that celebrate cooking with herbs, as well as a chance to pick up new ideas and discover new blogs and bloggers, and I hope you’ll join in the fun.
To enter all you have to do is add any recipe you have made during the week by emailing me with the URL for your post. And they don’t only need to be recipes made on a Saturday! At the end of each month, a ‘special blogger’ will choose their favourite recipe from all the entries, and the winning blogger will receive a fantastic cookbook as their prize. The full entry guidelines are below.
This beautiful book features 85 flavourful recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, fish, meat, poultry, vegetarian dishes, bread, biscuits, cakes, desserts and ice creams – all of course made with generous handfuls of fragrant fresh herbs.
There are classic dishes such as lamb with mint, and roasted tomato and mozzarella salad with basil dressing, as well as unusual combinations such as chicken with thyme and lavender. It includes a useful herb directory that identifies some of the best-known and most useful culinary herbs, as well as delicious flowers, fruits and spices to pep up a plain meal.
So, to get the ball rolling here’s my recipe for a lovely summery salad with oregano – just wish we had the weather to go with it!
Courgette and oregano flower salad
This fresh, light salad features delicate oregano flowers, as well as the leaves. The crunch of the courgette with the soft mozzarella cheese and juicy tomatoes is a sensational combination.
Make sure you slice the courgette as thinly as possible as it is eaten raw in this salad. It’s best to use a mandolin on its thinnest setting. And use the smaller, firmer courgettes if you can.
For the dressing
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and pepper
4 or 5 courgettes, very thinly sliced lengthways
250g baby plum or cherry tomatoes
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
300g mozzarella, thinly sliced
Handful oregano leaves, picked
Handful oregano flowers, picked
To make the dressing, simply put the ingredients into a jam jar, screw the lid on tightly and give it a really good shake.
Place your salad ingredients (except for the flowers) into a large serving bowl, pour over the dressing and toss well. Carefully decorate with the oregano flowers.
This is a lovely salad to serve with grilled fish or chicken, or on its own with crusty bread to soak up the juices.
Herbs on Saturday for July – guidelines on how to enter
Send your recipe URL to me at email@example.com, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date is Monday 30 July.
Display the Herbs on Saturday badge (as shown above and below) to the relevant recipe post, with a link back to this post and also to the challenge page over at Lavender & Lovage.
Email me as many recipe links as you like, there is no limit and the recipes and posts can be from any day, not just Saturday!
If you tweet your post, please mention #herbsonsaturday, @BangerMashChat and @KarenBurnsBooth in your tweet – I will retweet all that I see.
The recipe can be one of your own or one you’ve seen elsewhere. You are welcome to republish old recipes/posts but please add the information about this challenge as listed above with the Herbs on Saturday badge.
As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
Homemade pizza is a regular on the menu in our house. The children like to get involved in making it, especially kneading the dough and putting on the toppings. As you can imagine, it can turn into quite a messy affair!
This recipe for slow roast tomato and oregano pizza is a firm family favourite and the perfect way to put to good use all those gorgeous tomatoes and herbs coming into plentiful supply this time of year.
You do need to plan ahead a little with this one. The tomatoes are slow roasted in a low oven for four to five hours, giving them an incredibly intense, sweetly caramelised flavour and a gorgeously sticky, slightly chewy texture.
Trust me, it’s worth the effort. They taste sublime and are fantastic on pizza, as well as in salads, quiches or served with olives and cold meats as part of an antipasto.
Slow roasted tomato and oregano pizza
Makes four pizzas
For the slow roasted tomatoes:
8 cherry tomatoes
6 medium tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
salt and pepper
For the dough:
400g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
250ml luke warm water
1 tbsp olive oil
For the topping:
Passata, about half a jar
Mozzarella, 2 x 250g balls
Two handfuls fresh oregano, leaves picked
Firstly, prepare the tomatoes – I suggest the night before.
Preheat the oven to 140°C /Gas Mark 1 or use the bottom oven of an Aga.
Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle over the olive oil, and sprinkle on the oregano and sugar, and season to taste. Place in the oven and roast for four to five hours, until the tomatoes are shrivelled but still sweet and juicy.
To make the pizza dough, put the flour, salt, dried yeast and oregano into a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Make a well in the middle and pour in the lukewarm water and oil. Gradually work the flour into the liquid, making a soft dough. If it’s too dry, add a drop more water. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour.
Flour your surface before tipping the dough onto it. Knead the dough by stretching it away from you, then pulling back into a ball. Do this for five minutes or so, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover loosely with cling film and put in a warm place for about an hour, until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 6 or use the middle of the top oven of an Aga.
Uncover the risen dough and punch it back down. Flour the surface again and divide the dough into four balls. Stretch or roll out each ball until you have a thin circle about 22cm across. Place the pizzas onto slightly oiled baking sheets.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of passata onto each pizza, smoothing out with the back of the spoon. Next add the roast tomatoes and oregano leaves and finish with torn pieces of mozzarella.
Bake your pizzas for 15-20 minutes and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before devouring.
I’m entering this tasty pizza into the June Herbs on Saturday blog challenge over at Lavender & Lovage. Karen always receives heaps of delicious looking recipes for her blog challenges, so make sure you go and take a look at the other entries!
I’m also adding it to the One Ingredient blogging challenge, as the ingredient in question is the tomato. The challenge is run by Laura at howtocookgoodfood and Nazima at Londonworking mummy.