Monday, June 27, 2016

Moving house, a dog-eared recipe folder, and how do you store recipes?

I'm preparing to move house. There are boxes everywhere. As part of this process, I'm sorting through a folder of recipes, mostly clipped from magazines. There are hundreds of recipes here, going back 15 years or more. Some of them are on newsprint that is beginning to turn yellow.

There are some I've now made so many times I no longer need a recipe, and others that I've yet to make. The best food writing stands out, because in those cases I remember the recipe and its introduction clearly, even though it's been years since I read it.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The last asparagus dish - griddled asparagus with roasted vegetables and pasta

So here we are. Late June already. When I bought two bunches of asparagus at the farmers' market this morning, he told me this was the last crop of the year. I wasn't surprised by this news, but it's still a little sad.

So I decided to make something new. Asparagus griddled to bring out its smoky notes, set against sweet roasted peppers and tomatoes, and some olives for a salty hit. I served it with spaghetti, but it could have been tagliatelle or fettuccine. Or some couscous, perhaps.

As for the other bunch of asparagus, it will be going into a risotto, perhaps with some peas. Whenever I cut the tough ends from asparagus stalks, I put them in the freezer, so by the end of the season I have a small bag full, with which to make a stock for my risotto. And that really will be the end.

Pasta with asparagus, roasted peppers, tomatoes and olives

Serves 2


1 sweet pepper (yellow, orange or red)
1 clove garlic
4-5 ripe tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried thyme
About 10 asparagus stalks, preferably medium thickness
150g dried pasta of your choice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12-16 black olives (preferably not the type in brine)


Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/ 190C /375F.

Remove the seeds and core from the pepper and chop it into chunks each roughly 2.5cm (1in) square. Put on a baking tray (I don't find oil to be necessary, but you could add a teaspoon of olive oil if you wanted) and in to the preheated oven.

Thinly slice of a clove of garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half, arrange on a baking tray, and sprinkle with black pepper and dried thyme. Put a slice or two on garlic on each half. Put these in the oven too. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

When the vegetables are ready, heat a griddle pan and cook the asparagus on a fairly high heat, turning a couple of times, until it is blackened in places and can be pierced fairly easily with a fork.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions and stir in the olive oil, the olives, and the roasted veg, then top with the asparagus. Serve immediately.