Summer pasta

My fridge hasn’t been to inspirational recently.

But after a traumatic 5km charity run I thought I’d treat myself with a nice supper lastnight. So when I got back from work today the standard of fridge leftovers was a lot better than usual.

Some asparagus, sugar snaps and soft goat’s cheese. Delicious.

I ferreted out some frozen broad beans, mint leaves, virgin olive oil and some crushed pink pepper.

And then the best bulking out ingredient ever: orecchiette. I’m not one for splashing the cash in the supermarket unless it’s for a good reason. But if you’re using nice ingredients, it really is worth the extra £1 for this ‘little ear’ Southern Italian pasta made from durum wheat semolina and water. They have a slightly rough outer surface, and a tasty soft, chewy centre.

It’s a light meal with great summery flavours. And it’s a classic one pan dish – the pasta takes ten minutes, so chuck in the broad beans six minutes into cooking, and then chuck in the asparagus and sugar snaps a couple of minutes later. Drain and dress with mint leaves and goat’s cheese.

Mac ‘n cheese: the ultimate comfort food

When it comes to nasty things lurking in the fridge, a gnarldy piece of cheese ranks highly. Everyone’s got one. An old lump of Cathederal City, a pongy bit of Castello Blue, or a slippery piece of brie that keeps trying to escape whenever you open the door…. 

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Viajante

Recently I told a long lost friend that I was living in East London. He looked at me, eyes brimming with pity, and asked whether I’d had to eat many jellied eels. If he wasn’t being deadly serious, I wouldn’t have been so shocked. But he was.

The East End has been shackled with a reputation of jellified, fish-based produce. People think that the 24-hour bagel shop is as good as it gets. Otherwise it’s Bethnal Green’s Chicken ‘n Ribs joints or a dodgy Brick Lane curry…. 

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I ♥ beetroot. PART 1 – Beetroot Salad

Food prices have been soaring lately. I’m beginning to feel old, reminiscing about when you could buy a pack of butter for less than £1.

Last week, Good Housekeeping asked their readers what they did to make the weekly shop go further. As people began to send in complex details of their weekly menu plans or egg-based budget diets, I realised that my budget shopping really is as simple as legging it straight for the discount section in the local Tesco’s.

I discovered that this week, you can buy three packs of organic beetroot for the price of two – that’s 750g of feel-good, low-fat beetroots for a mere £2 (less than two packs of butter…and considerably healthier!)

Three for the price of two - BARGAIN!

I gave myself the challenge of having a beetroot-only day…if not for their cheapness, for the fact that each beetroot contains roughly 30 calories.

Only, I soon realised that a beetroot day wasn’t a challenge at all…beetroots work in so many different guises and I can report that the vegetable that was a childhood nemesis is now a real friend.

For lunch I went for a beetroot-based salad:

Ingredients

2 beetroots
Handful of broad beans
A few heads of broccoli
Crumbly feta cheese – as much or as little as you fancy

Start off by bringing a pan of water to the boil.
Put in the broccoli first. If you’re using frozen broad beans then add them after about 30 seconds and then boil the two vegetables together for 3 minutes. If you’re using fresh broad beans, then pop them in right at the end.

While the greens are boiling, cut up the beetroot into chunks.
Drain the broccoli and beans, then add the beetroot and crumble the feta on top. Enjoy!

Done!