Archive for ‘Peas’

July 16, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Lettuce, pea and cucumber soup

Sunday 26 June

This is the second entry for the 26th of June, following on from the morning’s veggie sausages.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Cucumber, in a soup?’ Well yes, actually, and it really works by adding some substance to the light summer greens. I’m not sure how, but it does.

The recipe we took it from is by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and includes the herb lovage. We couldn’t find any lovage and replaced it with flat-leaf parsely. It probably misses the point but hey, we’re all friends here. The soup was good. Go on, try it: the recipe’s here.

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July 9, 2011

Recipe: Yotam Ottolenghi’s summer minestrone with basil cream recipe

…and while we’re on the subject of summery soups infused with basil, here’s a light little number from Yotam Ottolenghi in the Guardian today.

June 26, 2011

Recipe: Lettuce, pea and cucumber soup

We saw this recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall here in the Guardian yesterday and made it today. We didn’t use lovage, the ‘main’ ingredient because, quite frankly, even in the middle of London, I wouldn’t have a clue where to find some on a Sunday afternoon. Or any other day for that matter. Anyway, after a hot afternoon in the sun this was a perfect summer’s evening soup. And no, it wasn’t chilled, although I reckon it could be.

June 18, 2011

Recipe: Vegetable casserole with artichokes, fennel, peas, broad beans and leeks

It’s sunny outside but the weather over this last week has been gloriously British: sunny and warm one minute, rainy and cold the next. Indeed just as I typed that, the sun that was filtering in through the ETP window disappeared. It’s now so dark I might need to turn a light on.

Changeable weather alters what you want to it. Late spring ingredients are currently in abundance, but what to do when the weather becomes inclement and a salad of those delicate greens just won’t do? Well, you could do worse than make a casserole of them, as this fab idea in the Independent newspaper demonstrates. Artichokes, fennel, peas, leeks and broad beans are all here, but in a slightly less summer setting. Read it http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/recipes/vegetable-casserole-with-artichokes-fennel-peas-broad-beans-and-leeks-2297784.html.

Pouring down again, dammit. And thundering.

June 7, 2011

Sweet pea season

Fresh peas, picked from the garden, breaking open the pod, scraping out the peas, stuffing them in your mouth, chewing he sweet juice from the pod… nothing better.

Too often bagged supermarket fresh peas are old and bitter and, while they’re okay for Muttar Paneer, frozen peas just aren’t the same taste of early summer.

I don’t think many people would associate London-based chef and restaurateur Mark Hix with lovely spring veg – I mean, he might cook it, but only alongside the meaty surf and turf that he normally dishes up. And yet, there he is in the Independent with some rather lovely recipes for chilled pea and fennel soup, an amazing sounding deep-fried pea pods with minted pea mayonnaise, and a must-try pea and spinach curry. Go see here. And if you try it out, let us know how it goes.

April 12, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Spring risotto

Monday 4 April

I was inspired by a feature at rufusguide.wordpress.com to make a risotto and, what with it being Spring, some light, fresh greens seemed the thing to add. I love a risotto with in-season British asparagus and peas – all just al dente so you get a little crunch among the nutty grains of rice and oozing, savoury sauciness. I added some baby spinach leaves to this risotto, too. Rufus gives a pretty good assessment of how to make a good risotto here. I’ll just add that no one wants a risotto the texture of rice pudding, so don’t overcook it. Neither should it be claggy – please don’t bake your risotto as Delia Smith does. The grains should be loose but still have, I think, the tiniest bit of bite to them and, while creamy, it shouldn’t be sweet – think savoury and season accordingly but carefully. A rich flavour needs develop in the liquor that thickly surrounds the grains – this will usually be a combination of olive oil, butter and parmesan, added as the rice settles after cooking. And lastly, in most cases, don’t add all your vegetables (whether asparagus or mushrooms or tomatoes, among many) as the rice starts to cook. Greens can be added near the end; mushrooms – for a mushroom risotto – can be pan fried first and scattered on top to serve, as long as you cook the rice in a stock made with dried mushrooms; tomatoes too can be run through the rice at a late stage – so roast them perhaps, with thyme or rosemary, or make a small tomato sauce to stir in. The options are endless. And lastly, for the love of food, please use proper risotto rice. Long grain rices and paella rices are all very wonderful, but no use whatsoever for risotto.

April 4, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Muttar paneer

Tuesday 29 March

Well, I say. The last time we made muttar paneer (yep, that really does kind of mean ‘cheesy peas’, doesn’t it?) I was utterly disappointed. I think they had changed the recipe for the shop-bought paneer and I felt that one of my favourite Indian dishes was ruined.

I shouldn’t have worried. This dish really is so simple it’s ridiculous and it can be so substantial too. After my previous failure, I lightly fried the cubes of chopped paneer before adding to the sauce this time. Not too sure whether that’s normal, but one recipe website said it was okay. In any case, if you can do it for tofu…

For the sauce I just sautee a sliced onion until softened, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for a little more, then add some chopped chillis, or maybe a few whole chillis, or maybe a little chilli powder. Whatever… then add a tin of tomatoes plus an inch of grated fresh ginger, 2 good tsp of ground cumin, 1 heaped tsp of ground coriander, 1 tsp of turmeric, and… hmm, that’s about it. I think. I then tend to add 500ml of water and let it simmer down. As it thickens you can add the paneer (although if you’ve fried the paneer like me, add it last, a couple of minutes before serving, so the crisp edges don’t go too soggy). When the sauce looks done, add a small bag of frozen garden peas or petit pois, stir through and heat for four minutes. Job done.