July 4, 2006
Gastropunk and Maths chick have been strangely absent from the kitchen of late. We’ve both been busy: stag-do’s, family re-unions, and watching England’s latest crop of turnips losing to the pork-and-cheese again have all distracted us from more important matters. Like celebrating the glories of the British organic veg-box.
This week’s box brought a mixed bunch. More furry broad beans, snappy sugar-snap peas, lettuce, calabrese. Loads of green stuff. Almost too much green. Now I find myself craving a knobbly old root vegetable – the veg-box is always greener on the other side, I guess. The first disappointment of the vegbox year – an old, wrinkly cucumber on the verge of being compost-fodder. We hid it’s defects in a boisterous greek salad.
This week’s broad beans we left in the shells and boiled with mint, then added steamed brocolli and big salty lumps of feta cheese and chunks of stale french stick. It looked a real dog’s dinner in the pan but ended up tasting fine and dandy. The bread soaked up the escaping garlicky juices. An eccentric British version of the famous stale-bread and tomato salads (panzanella) of Tuscany. A sharp detox dinner for our two alcohol-battered bodies. We both agreed that broad beans in their shells are equally as delicious as their more sophisticated de-jacketed brethren. But then we are a lazy pair of moos and could be making a virtue of a necessity.
For lunch, I’ve just transformed a fat, firm courgette into my all-time favourite pasta sauce (today I’m ‘working from home’ – the 21st century’s happiest euphemism). Grate a whole courgette. Heat olive oil over a low flame and add a couple of mashed garlic cloves and several salty anchovy fillets. Allow everything to melt together slowly. Add the courgettes and cook until they collapse into an oily thick mush. Stir into spaghetti, add grated parmesan and a peppery olive oil at the table.
For me, anchovies are the Wayne Rooney of the kitchen – ugly, violent little critters that bring life and sparkle to otherwise hum-drum ingredients. All together now.. Roooon-iee, Roooon-ieee….