Hola! I’m back from a holiday in Spain. Completely forgot to post a blog before I went saying I wouldn’t be writing for a couple of weeks, sorry about that. On returning home I found summer had well and truly arrived – I think I brought the sun back with me.
And with the good weather has come some good crops of fruit and vegetables. In my first veg box after the holiday I had fresh broad beans, beautiful lurid pink radishes, sweet English cherry tomatoes and strawberries! Hurray, I had been excitedly waiting for them, and not only that I had some delectable English cherries, what a delight.
I read an article by Jill Duplex (a fabulous Australian food writer) quite a while ago about how you can turn anything into a salad dish by eating it as a cooler temperature or changing a heavy sauce for a light dressing, and salad is all I want in summer. Words you associate with summer eating are fresh, light, crisp and juicy and a salad encompasses all of this.
In the article she gave a recipe, which I give you below, for a pasta dish which is distinctly salad-like. Banish the rich tomatoes sauces and thick creamy dishes and instead go for something lighter like this lemon, courgette and Parma ham pasta dish.
You can eat it luke warm to make even more summery and it is also quick to prepare which is just what you need on a hot day.
Summery lemon, courgette and Parma ham pasta
I don’t know if this is an accurate account of the recipe, but it is pretty close.
Serves 2 (of course!)
4-5 slices of Parma ham torn up roughly
Zest of ½ lemon and 2tbsp of the juice
1tsp of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
Your usual amount of spaghetti for two
Good glug of quality olive oil
1 courgette in thin half-moons
Handful of rocket leaves
Freshly grated parmesan
Put the ham, lemon zest and juice, thyme leaves, a good glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Cook your spaghetti until ready, but for the last 2-3 minutes add the courgette so they cook. Drain the pasta and courgettes and throw into the bowl with the other ingredients and mix it round thoroughly. Then throw in rocket leaves toss through and spoon onto serving plate. Top with grated parmesan.
This is quite a posh looking salad dish. But something that I like equally is a simple plate of salad maybe with some cold cooked meat, hard boiled eggs, or nice cheese. I also have a strange affection for canned pilchards and salad from my childhood. Then just add a few steamed new potatoes tossed in butter and fresh mint or some nice fresh buttered bread and you have yourself a delicious meal. So simple and so tasty.
In the photo I made a massive salad with mixed leaves, peas, sweetcorn, tomatoes and toasted pine nuts. I served this with preserved artichokes, avocado, some strong cheese and some thick slices of homemade wholemeal bread.
I’ll probably eat something along these lines every week from June-September just mixing and changing the sides and accompaniments. Let me know what dishes make you think of summer.