Summer, and the garden is at its best. Peas and courgettes producing, the end of the lettuces and mesclun mix we planted back in October, at Labour weekend. We’re not exactly living The Good Life here in Brooklyn, but it is a delight all the same to go out and ‘harvest’ from our small garden. To think of dishes that use home-grown produce, to try and eat with a vague nod to the seasons. I’ve always thought it’d be fun to try and write about food, and eating, and cooking, so my New Year’s resolution is to have a tentative attempt at doing so in the anonymity of cyber-space. So here we go.
Peas and pasta
We have lots of peas in the garden, we both like pasta, so this straightforward dish guaranteed to please. Although it didn’t have the greatest of starts. Began by slopping the over-heated olive oil from the pan onto the stove top (which reminds me – note to self – get new stove) when I added the chopped onion. And then I had to work quickly to prevent the onion from cooking too fast and crisping. But disaster avoided, and the rest uneventful. Cubes of sweet roasted red pepper and fresh, peeled tomatoes added, along with the peas, which cook gently in the liquid. A sprinkling of dried chilli flakes adds a subtle bite. Verdict: an excellent fresh dish for a summer’s evening.
And then there has to be dessert.
Black fruit salad
A simple seasonal dessert, one I’ve made occasionally since discovering it years ago in The Silver Palate Cookbook (a copy of which I just received for Christmas, by request – thanks, Mum). It hardly needs a recipe, being a mix of black fruits – red grapes, cherries, blueberries – macerated in brown sugar & lemon juice, left for a couple of hours & the juice then mixed with sour cream and poured over the fruit. So simple, and delicious. Trouble is that the supermarket had no red grapes, so I substituted strawberries. Plus, I made it last night, thinking I’d take it to a New Year’s Day get-together this afternoon. But didn’t. And when I came to put it altogether this evening, well, I think strawberries macerate rather more juicily than grapes … the fruit was sitting in a great puddle of juice, and perhaps it was just too much … the sour cream & the juice didn’t combine properly. Curdled? But, while it may not have looked as accomplished a dish as it did when I made it on Christmas Day just past, it still tasted yummy. Blueberries especially, little explosions of flavour.