Recently we’ve been eating rather a lot of tagliatelle. Tagliatelle with sweetcorn, peas and bacon. Sometimes twice a week, and maybe again at the weekend. Oh, and fruit tarts too. Lots and lots of fruit tarts. That’s what happens when one of your kids makes it through to the finals of a young chef competition. You have to get in an awful lot of practice. Continue reading “Easy tagliatelle and summer berry tarts”
It is Open Farm Sunday this coming Sunday (9 June) and as I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re looking forward to spending the day at Wookey Farm, meeting the goats, enjoying tractor rides and wanging a few wellies!
In the run up to Open Farm Sunday, many of the initiative’s sponsors have created recipes to celebrate British farming by showcasing British produce. I was invited to try out this warm pea and chilli salad, courtesy of Asda magazine.
It’s a lovely summery dish, also featuring new potatoes, spring onions and green beans in a tasty mustard dressing. We ate ours with some simple chicken satay, but it would be equally good on its own with some crusty bread to mop up the dressing, or as an accompaniment for a barbecue.
Warm pea & chilli salad
350g new potatoes
350g peas (frozen or fresh)
200g fine green beans, trimmed
3tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 or 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1tbsp cider vinegar
1tsp clear honey
1tsp Dijon mustard
Boil the new potatoes until just tender, then drain. When cool enough to handle, halve or quarter them, depending on size. Put in a bowl.
Add the peas and beans to the pan with enough boiling water to just cover them. Bring back to the boil and simmer covered, for 4 minutes. Drain and add to the potatoes.
Heat 1tbsp oil and cook the spring onions and chillies over a low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the rest of the oil, the vinegar, honey and mustard. Season.
Add the warm dressing to the potatoes, peas and green beans and toss together before serving.
Open Farm Sunday
The eighth annual Open Farm Sunday on 9 June 2013 provides a great opportunity for the public to truly get to know how their food is produced and how the countryside around them is cared for.
For more information and to find a farm near you that’s taking part visit www.farmsunday.org
There are certain dishes that make you feel good simply by preparing them, even before you get to the eating of them. This risotto is, for me, one of these dishes.
It’s partly because it consists mainly of leftovers. The chicken comes from a roast chicken we enjoyed a couple of days earlier, while the stock was made from the bones of the same bird. Spreading ingredients over two or three meals in this way makes me feel quite virtuous, like a proper old fashioned cook.
And then there’s the way you cook a good risotto. It takes care and patience. You can’t turn your back on it for too long. It takes love, and in return you feel loved for making it.
People can be put off making risotto because they dislike the idea of having to stand over the pan, constantly stirring the rice. I know I used to be. But really, it’s only 20 minutes of your life, and it can be almost therapeutic to stand there and let your mind wander. It’s almost like meditation.
Finally, of course, it tastes so good. Just a few simple ingredients and a bit of stirring and you end up with a creamy hug on a plate. Most definitely my idea of the perfect comfort food.
Chicken and pea risotto
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
320g arborio risotto rice
300g (approx) cooked chicken, torn or cut into bitesized pieces
1 litre hot chicken stock (homemade or from stock cubes)
250g frozen peas
100g Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
Gently cook the onion in the olive oil in a large frying pan for around 10 minutes until golden. Add the garlic and rice and fry for another couple of minutes.
Stir in the hot stock to the rice a ladleful at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. Keep going until you have added almost all the stock.
As the last ladleful goes in, throw in the peas and the chicken and stir together for two to three minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the Parmesan cheese and a grind of salt and pepper to taste.