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        When I was growing up in the kitchen drawer there was a knife known as "The knife"! It had been a carbon steel dinner kni...


Summer Eating

Globe Artichoke

         There is nothing nicer than a globe artichoke as a start to a summer meal. Boiled till tender and served with melted butter and freshly ground black pepper. So simple, but what to follow it with? Well pasta is quick and easy and we have spinach and basil growing in the poly tunnel and garden.
         The courgettes are also getting into their stride and are so fresh from the garden that they need very lithe done to them. As we have out own plants we also get the flowers, which add colour to the salad too.
         So, what better than a pesto with pasta and a salad. To follow a tiramisu made with super strength coffee, the remains of which make an excellent breakfast.  

Pasta with Walnut Pesto

30 g walnuts
2 cloves of garlic
½ tsp salt
50 g fresh spinach washed & dried
large sprig of basil
5tbs olive oil
80g Parmesan cheese
1tbs lemon juice

150-200 g pasta

Put a large pot of water on to boil and add 2 teaspoons of salt to the water.
Heat a frying pan on a medium heat.
Break the walnuts into pieces and toast them on the frying pan for 3-4 minutes until they start to colour. Watch them carefully so that they don’t burn.
When the nuts are browned take them out of the pan and let them cool.
Peel and chop the garlic.
Finely grate the cheese.
Put the cooled nuts, garlic, ½ teaspoon of salt, spinach, basil leaves and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in to a mini chopper or small bowl of a food processor and blend.
Stop and push anything down that isn’t getting blended. Blend again until you have a smooth paste.
Stir in the grated cheese, lemon juice and 2 more spoonfuls of olive oil. Taste and add some pepper and more salt if necessary.

When the pot of water comes to the boil add the pasta and cook until ‘al dente’. Use the cooking time on the packet as a guide.
Scoop out a cup of the pasta’s cooking water.
Drain the pasta and return it to the warm cooking pot. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the pesto and stir well to mix it through. Add some of the reserved cooking water a tablespoon at a time and mixing again until you have the pasta coated with pesto. Serve with extra grated Parmesan.

Courgette Salad

1 clove of garlic
2tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 small courgettes
6 black olives
2tsp capers
1 small red onion
100g ripe cherry tomatoes
Courgette flowers (if you have any)
Lemon juice
Salt & pepper

Crush the garlic and mix it with the olive oil. Slice the courgettes into 0.5cm thick slices length ways and brush them with the garlic oil.
Finely chop the capers and olives. Peel and thinly slice the onion and quarter the tomatoes. Strip the leaves from the parsley.
Put a ridged grill pan on to heat.
In a large salad bowl mix together the capers, olives, onion slices, the tomatoes, any courgette flowers torn into strips and the leaves from the parsley and mix well.
Grill the courgette strips on the hot grill pan in batches till nicely marked and just starting to soften. As they are done add them to the salad bowl.
When all the courgettes are cooked add any remaining oil and garlic from the courgettes to the salad and toss everything together. Taste and add a squeeze or two of lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve at room temperature.


Serves 4-6
3 eggs
250g mascarpone
3tbs sugar  
1 cup very strong black coffee
250g sponge fingers

Separate the eggs.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy.
Add the mascarpone and whisk again.
Put the egg whites into a clean bowl and with a clean whisk beat them until stiff.
Fold the egg whites into the cream.
Make a cup of very strong coffee and put it into a shallow dish. This is for the sponge fingers. Dip half of the sponge fingers into the coffee quickly and then put them into a shallow serving dish, in a single layer.
Spread half of the cream mix on top of the sponge fingers.
Cover this with another layer of coffee soaked sponge fingers and the rest of the cream mix.
Then sprinkle the top with cocoa powder or grated black chocolate.
Put into the fridge overnight. Remove from the fridge 15 minutes before it is needed, to warm up.
Coffee for Breakfast

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