Archives for posts with tag: pesto

Last week I found I was sharing my kitchen with a lone mouse who seemed to enjoy my suppers as much as I did! It stopped me in my tracks and put me right off cooking.

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Thanks only to the wonderful Nick, I have managed to curtail the Mr Mouse visits and now I am feeling more like getting back into the kitchen so it was wonderful this weekend to get back to my therapeutic session that I treat myself with when I am not working. I get that some people would think it such a chore to spend time in the kitchen cooking but for me it is relaxation and therapy. I have perfected such a lovely pesto paste that is a must have during the week to serve on toast with tomato, in pasta, with chicken, in thick Italian-esque soups. The options are endless. Its the combo of basil and rocket as well as pine nuts and walnuts that make all the difference.

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And I always top up my granola when a batch runs down making the most of whatever flakes and nuts I have in the cupboard. I guess it is more of a toasted muesli than granola as I use very little fat and sugar, just a bit of coconut oil and again whatever I have in the cupboard in terms of syrup or honey. But mostly it is just slowly baked toasty grains and nuts. Maybe it should be called Meusola. I added a pan of beautiful stewed Yorkshire forced rhubarb to serve as this is smack bang in season and taste fab with just a clementine poached with it and squeezed out, some vanilla and a touch of ginger syrup.

With breakfast and supper taken care of, it was time to address the cauliflower sitting in my fridge. I have written a few times about the mighty cauliflower and how much I love its flavour and versatility. I am always on the look out for recipes to try and this one caught my eye. I was not familiar with the term ‘tot’ but now I know it, I think there are many applications. I roasted my cauli rather than boiled just to get more flavour and also so that I could use the extras as veggies in my lunchtime salads. Ricing it with the rest of the ingredients takes seconds and then the fun shaping which could be anything you want. I love the fact these are baked beauties as I am not one for frying. But in hindsight a little bit of mozzarella in the middle of one of these shaped as a ball would be a take on arancini that I think would escalate them even further..

The recipe suggests tomato ketchup, or other sauces/dips but I opted to make supper with the addition of eggs and the ultimate dipping sauce: a runny yolk!

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I love it when you have a great retail experience and that’s just what I had this week.

Increasingly I find it is those shops that deliver a classic old fashioned service that really connects with me rather than supermarkets or indeed the more fabricated, trendy ones. There is a push, which is often attributed to Mary Portas, to rediscover the traditional high street and whilst I would contest that the lovely Mary has merely jumped onto the band wagon, it is true that the butcher, baker and candlestick maker really is the way to connect us back to shopping, especially with food.

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When I moved out to Surrey from London I wanted to find all the local shops that would bring the county and its food to my fridge. But the sad truth is that they are not embracing the opportunities all that well. I guess this is why I was so overjoyed to find a local fruit and veg stall, popping up every Wednesday and Saturday in the car park of the local Hillier garden centre.

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Run by a local family, the greengrocer stall is created from produce which Dad buys from the London markets at 4am so that he can bring the freshest produce and get it back in time to sell. The whole family get involved from that point on creating a really classic fruit & veg stall with colourful merchandising, traditional tickets and a feature to the best of seasonal British produce. This week that included asparagus, strawberries, jersey royals and the first English broad beans. Yum.

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The icing on the cake and funnily enough the thing that touched me most was the service given at the tillpoint. There was a real energy at the till with Mum, son and daughter all engaging well and moving the rush of people through efficiently. And to top the whole thing off was the offer of bag or box. Opting for the latter, my produce was handled with the utmost care placed beautifully, standing upright to attention and presented to me as a boxed gift of fresh loveliness. It was carried to my car and when I got it home, I couldn’t help but smile.

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One of the most wonderful things I bought back was locally grown rocket which had the most incredible hit of pepper and was just fabulous. I wanted to make something that would celebrate the ingredient, so created a typically me-dish by making a pesto incorporating the rocket with salty pecorino, toasted pine nuts, garlic and really great olive oil. I mixed that through spaghetti and topped with even more rocket, cheese and some sweet chunks of quality tomatoes. A vibrant tasty meal which showcased wonderful produce from great greengrocers.

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