Wednesday 9 September 2015

Fettucine with raw broad beans

Ages ago, I was given copies of all of the River Cafe pocketbooks (Pasta, Vegetables, Fish, and Desserts)...and, having given them only a cursory glance, they were consigned to the bookshelves. I don't know why, but certain books of recipes seem to need to wait for 'their time', and until then they have no resonance for me. And that was how it was with these particular slim volumes, until earlier this summer, when I decided to have a proper look at the pasta volume. And I found within it a treasure trove of wonderful things. Of which, this is one...

For four servings.

Ingredients: fettucine for four (or, indeed any other pasta shape you might prefer to use - there are a few pasta sauces which definitely work better with particular shapes of pasta, but there aren't really very many which are like that, and I don't include this sauce within the very few which are); 1.5 kg broad beans - frozen is fine, and indeed arguably preferable, since these days vegetables are frozen almost as they come off the plant, and so are remarkably fresh in flavour (if using frozen beans, defrost them thoroughly several hours before you make this dish); 150g parmesan (you can use pecorino if you wish, but my preference is always for parmesan, which has a rounder flavour); 2 garlic cloves; 3 tbs basil leaves, chopped; juice of one lemon; 120 ml olive oil; salt.


1. In the food processor, blitz two-thirds of the parmesan, and then to this add two-thirds of the broad beans, along with the garlic, basil and 1 tsp salt. Process, until reduced to a rough puree.

2. Remove the mixture to a bowl, and slowly stir into it the olive oil and then the lemon juice.

3. Cook the pasta, and leave a few spoonfuls of cooking water in the pan when you drain the pasta. Add to this the bean mixture, along with the remaining whole beans, and mix quickly. Return the pasta to the pan, along with the sauce, and toss. Serve, and sprinkle with the remaining grated parmesan.

Sunday 6 September 2015

This week, in pictures...

Four-footed, hard at it, under the office table..

Boned quail, stuffed with celery and fennel and cream, with a dash of pernod, ready to go into the oven

Achingly-good....'Lila' by Marilynne Robinson; to have gone straight from this to 'This Little Life', by Hanya Yanagihara, which unfortunately  I did, was like going from 'King Lear' to 'Friends'.....the bookies who rate the latter as favourite for this year's Booker need their heads examined! 
Sunday morning, as viewed from the agrumi terrace

Four-footed, still hard at it...

Part of this year's crop...hazelnuts, almonds, and the apples from the Old Orchard...the newer apple trees haven't yet been picked, and the figs, peaches and raspberries go straight from the garden to the bowl. The kitchen currently looks like a dress rehearsal for harvest festival.

Four-footed. This bit came with sound effects of sonorous snoring....what my Grandfather would have called 'driving the pigs to market'.

Sunday morning, looking past the workshop and the Cycax. The searing heat has now definitely gone from the sun, as we enter the lovely mellow, golden period of autumn. Long may it last!
White peaches...small and succulent, and ready for picking. A peach, a handful of fresh raspberries, and a bowl of fatto-in-casa yoghurt, drizzled with honey....breakfast!
In fact, it is more comfortable this way round....and that bit of the table where a dog can rest his chin at just the right height is a very practical addition...

Tonight's dinner:

Tart of rocket and prawns.

Spit-roast guinea fowl, with lentils and guanciale.

Caramel apples, with caramel ice cream