You had me at halloumi

Boy, have I eaten well over the last few days. Steak, chicken, cheese, ham, chocolate doughnuts – I could go on. Before you ask, I haven’t fallen off the wagon; it’s all as fake as Donald Trump’s newsfeed. Yup, plant-based eating has moved on a lot in the two years that I’ve been vegan.

When I first ditched the meat, eggs and dairy two years ago I would never have dreamed of eating substitutes. I kind of fell into the trap of ‘clean eating’ (bleeurgh) and although it was just a phase, I still turned my nose up at processed foods, even if they were vegan. Eventually though, curiosity (and Instagram) got the better of me and in the last six months, I’ve relaxed a bit and eaten a lot of vegan ‘junk’ food. When I’m not scoffing fishless fingers and ‘chicken’ nuggets (thank you, Quorn), you’ll find me in the biscuit aisle – damn you, Oreos. Sure, my jeans are tighter, but it’s nice that I no longer feel like I’m missing out.

And so I move on to the subject of vegan halloumi – yes, you read that correctly. Demand for plant-based cheeses is higher than ever and Violife has a new range, which includes a Wensleydale-type cheese with cranberries or blueberries – and a much-hyped halloumi.

I dabble in a bit of dairy-free cheese now and then but it’s halloumi, in all its salty squeakiness, that I really crave. I’m not going to lie to you: this doesn’t taste like the real thing. It’s tasty and keeps its shape when fried or grilled but it’s more sticky than squeaky and needs a good bit of seasoning to really sing. I’d eat it again though.

Whether you’re trying the Violife version or just eating the regular stuff, halloumi goes really, really well with fruit. In this salad, I’ve paired it with watermelon but nectarine or blueberries would work just as well. I used D’aucy lentils (one of the best canned version around in my opinion) but own-brand green or brown ones will do. Obviously, you can cook them from scratch but using canned saves a bit of time.

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Halloumi, lentil and watermelon salad

Serves 2

Takes 15-20 minutes to make

 

Ingredients

1 packet halloumi (vegan or dairy), cut into long slices

1 can (400g) lentils, drained

2 small courgettes, cut into wedges

1 bag watercress

As much watermelon as you like

1 large handful pine nuts

1 large lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper

 

Method

Place two large pans on a medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil to each one. In one pan, add the courgettes and a good squeeze of lemon juice and cook for five minutes until brown, then remove from the pan and set aside. In the other pan, fry the halloumi slices with a squeeze of lemon for around ten minutes, turning frequently – they’ll be ready when they’re brown on both sides. Meanwhile, add the drained lentils and watercress to the other pan with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and warm for five minutes. Return the cooked courgettes to the pan and heat for another minute. Remove the halloumi from the pan and lightly toast the pine nuts for a minute or so. Serve the lentils with the halloumi and watermelon and scatter over the pine nuts and parsley with a squeeze of lemon and some salt and pepper.

Let’s get ready to crumble

Hello autumn, my old friend. Summer’s on its way out and my favourite time of the year is fast approaching. This season of mists and mellow fruitfulness* is a delicious dalliance of chilly skies and warm and toasty glows – carpets of copper-coloured leaves, bonfires burning bright and sunny squashes.

I’m getting a bit carried away, I know. It’s not here just yet, and in some ways, I’m quite glad as this autumn I need to get fit. In October, for the first time in four years, I’m running a half marathon and I’m not looking forward to it. I’m such a fair-weather runner (actually, I hate running come rain or shine) that I only put on my trainers when I have a race coming up. This means that I’m pretty out of shape and have just over six weeks to train. Help. It could be worse, I guess. On the radio this morning, John Humphreys told listeners that he runs with his eyes closed. At four o’clock in the morning.

When I’m not putting my legs and lungs to the test, I’ll be in the kitchen cooking or eating. Cold and dark nights call for comfort food and nothing quite beats a crumble. This one’s dead easy to make and is a nice way to enjoy summer fruits while they’re still in season. I used rhubarb, strawberries and blackcurrants, but raspberries, blueberries and peaches or nectarines would work a treat, too – or even a bag of the summer berries you can find in the freezer aisle of most supermarkets.

*Keats describes this season better than anyone in the sublime To Autumn.

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Summer fruits crumble

Ingredients

For the fruit filling

400g summer fruits

1 tsp ground ginger

50g light brown sugar

 

For the crumble topping

150g flour

50g porridge oats

100g vegan margarine, cold from the fridge

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4). Stew the rhubarb with a little water and sugar for about ten minutes, then add the strawberries and blackcurrants and heat for a further five minutes.

To make the crumble topping, sieve the flour into a bowl, then stir through the oats and rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until your mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Place the fruit mixture in a large ovenproof dish the scatter the crumble topping over and bake for 40 minutes. Serve with vegan ice cream, custard, cream or on its own.

 

 

Summer spice

Long time, no blog post. I’ve been busy working, moving house and going on holiday – not necessarily in that order.

Last week I went to Manchester for a few days and fell back in love with this ravishing red-bricked city. I don’t know what it is, but it’s a place that pulls me back time and time again. Maybe I’m a northerner at heart.

One of the best things about Manchester, for me, is the food, and vegans are spoiled for choice. I enjoyed my fair share of rainbow salads and also an amazing jackfruit curry, a breakfast roll with veggie sausage, beans, hash browns and peanut butter and the closest thing I’ve got to heaven (in burger form, anyway) at V-Rev Vegan Diner. This place is world famous and it’s not hard to see why.

The rumours are true: @vrevmcr is AMAZING Very full bellies after this filthy feast.

A post shared by veggingit (@veggingit) on

After gorging myself silly, I’m now taking it easy on the treats and trying to train for a half marathon – I hate running and having a goal is the only way to make me exercise. The weather’s been a bit grey this week so I’m making the most of summer vegetables while they’re still in season. Cue this colourful curry which is tasty, healthy and filling and takes under half an hour to make. Use whatever veg you can get your hands – the list below is just what I had in the fridge. Oh, and go easy on the curry paste if you’re not a spice girl like me.

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Summer vegetable curry

Serves 3–4

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower broken into florets, plus its outer leaves

150g green beans, topped and tailed

100g runner beans, topped and tailed and sliced thinly

1 small courgette, diced

1 punnet cherry tomatoes or 4–5 tomatoes, quartered (or a tin of plum tomatoes)

8­–10 radishes

A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed, grated or finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

2–3 tbsp curry paste

300g spinach

100ml coconut or other plant milk

70g flaked almonds (optional)

1 tbsp olive or coconut oil

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onions and let them cook for 2–3 minutes until soft. Add the cauliflower florets and green beans with the ginger, garlic and curry paste, and half the plant milk and stir. After a couple of minutes, add the runner beans, courgette and radishes and the cherry tomatoes to the pan, plus the rest of the plant milk. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, then add the spinach. Cook for another five minutes then serve with rice and some flaked almonds.

Just do it

I’ve started running again. What this actually means, for me, anyway, is a sweaty shuffle which causes me to become a. incredibly out of breath and b. alarmingly red in the face. On Tuesday, I managed a whole five kilometres, although in the interest of full disclosure, I stopped a fair few times. That’s OK, though. For someone who hasn’t run properly since the 2013 Cardiff Half Marathon, I’m pretty pleased with that. When it comes to running, or anything else that I’m mildly anxious about, I try to think like Nike and ‘just to do it’.

Immediately after running, I have no appetite, but I usually need food and lots of it in no time at all. Regular readers will know that I’ve never been one to shun carbs (take away my bread and you’ll be sorry) and after my victorious lap around the Liberty Stadium, I needed starch and I needed it bad. When I need a quick, easy dinner, it has to be spaghetti.

This recipe uses only a few ingredients so you can really taste the flavours. Broad beans are a great way to up your protein quota and if you use wholewheat or spelt spaghetti, you’ll have an even healthier meal in your belly.

The real secret to simple cooking is using good quality ingredients. That doesn’t mean you have to spend lots of money but it’s worth investing in a decent bottle of extra virgin olive oil. A word to the wise about oil: save that deliciously fruity XV stuff for sauces, salads and dressings and use the ordinary kind for frying.

I found some smoked garlic at my local supermarket and it worked so well with the lemon juice and salt but if you don’t have it, add a pinch of smoked paprika instead. Once you’ve dealt with the broad beans (use frozen, if you’re pressed for time), this one pot wonder will take about ten minutes to cook.

Broad beans
You can blame the lighting for this photo, but trust me, it tastes really, really good.

Spaghetti with broad beans, lemon and garlic

Serves 2

Ingredients

200g broad beans, podded

200g spaghetti

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

1 lemon, juiced

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

70g flaked almonds (optional)

 

Method

Double pod your broad beans – basically remove them from the pods and then remove their outer skins. Now bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti. After 4 minutes, add the broad beans and boil for another 6 minutes. Drain and set to one side. Using the same pan, heat the oil, then fry the garlic for a minute. Add the almonds, half the lemon juice and a generous sprinkling of salt and cook for another minute, stirring all the time. Return the spaghetti and broad beans to the pan and mix together with the other ingredients. Pour over the rest of the lemon juice, a generous glug of the extra virgin olive oil and season with more salt and pepper, then serve.

Too hot to handle

Blimey, it’s warm. It’s not quite heatwave hot but I’m not built for this weather. Pale-skinned English rose that I am, I’ve long learned to shun the sun. It’s not that I dislike it but I prefer it in small doses, as does my colouring. Extreme temperatures do me no good (I’m useless in the winter, too) so it’s no wonder that I prefer the milder months of the spring and autumn. I’ve just finished reading Maggie O’Farrell’s unputdownable Instructions for a Heatwave (timely, eh?), which is set in the summer of 1976, the hottest on record for more than 350 years. It’s hard to imagine that, for two weeks, temperatures reached 32 degrees Celsius and the government had to appoint a Minister for Drought. Take note, climate change deniers.

In the novel, people do odd things, things that they normally wouldn’t. Heat gets to us in ways that we can’t explain and can make us act completely out of character. That’s what some people must be thinking about Nigella Lawson, who was criticised last week for posting a recipe of sliced tomatoes topped with homemade salad cream. Leave the poor woman alone. Sometimes the simplest things are the most delicious. And it’s far too hot to think properly at the moment. No one wants to be cooking, do they?

In that vein, I’m sharing my ‘recipe’ for a very simple salad which is light enough for a warm summer evening but also full of flavour. I made it one lunchtime last month when I was gripped by what I call freelancer fear – yeah, that’s a thing. It didn’t completely quell my anxiety but I think it did me some good. This salad’s colourful, crunchy and quick to make, and the dressing’s pretty dreamy, too. You can always add rice, quinoa or boiled new potatoes if you want a heartier meal.

Too hot to handle

Cheerful chickpea salad with nectarine and avocado

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the salad

1 can of chickpeas (400g), rinsed and drained

2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin strips

2 small nectarines, sliced

1 large avocado, sliced

Half a cucumber, halved and cut into thin slices

For the dressing

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon (juice)

1 tsp maple syrup

½ tsp cumin powder

A few leaves of fresh mint, finely slice

A pinch of salt

 

Method

This is so simple you could almost make it with your eyes shut – please don’t. Once you’ve sliced all the fruit and vegetables, assemble them on a plate. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl, mug or glass. Put the chickpeas in a bowl and mix through half of the dressing, then add to the rest of the salad. Pour over the remainder of the dressing and serve.

Mango tango

Hello there, British summer; it’s nice to have you back. After we moaned and groaned about the hottest heatwave since 1976, the skies are once again a shade of grey, making this Monday even more meh than usual. Thankfully I’m no longer working nine to five, but it’s still hard to get my act together after the weekend.

Now that I’m freelance, regular mealtimes have gone out of the window. It’s not that I’d ever forget to eat (as if) but sometimes after a late breakfast, I’ll get so engrossed in a piece of work that it gets to three o’clock and I’ll wonder why I’m so grouchy. A handful of nuts and dark chocolate and several strong coffees do not maketh a sustainable lunch.

This is where a tin of pulses and some veggies some in handy as you can use them to make a meal in mere minutes. You can knock up this stir fry faster than Theresa May running through a field of wheat.

I like to mix things up in the kitchen (I’m mad, me) so added a mango that was languishing in the fruit bowl. Use whatever needs using up but a bit of fruit adds a nice bit of sweetness to it. You can add rice (use the microwave type if you’re really starved of time) or noodles if you’re extra hungry.

speedy stir fry
Speedy stir fry with mango and avocado and a lime, chili and mint dressing

Speedy stir fry with mango and avocado and a lime, chili and mint dressing

Serves 2

Ingredients

For the stir fry

1 head of cauliflower or broccoli, broken into florets

1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced

1 ripe mango, peeled and sliced

2 spring onions, finely sliced

1 tin of green or brown lentils, rinsed and drained

Large handful spinach

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

For the dressing

1 lime, juiced

1 red chili, finely chopped

A few fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

 

Method

Heat a large wok then add the sesame oil. After a minute, add the cauliflower or broccoli, spring onion and soy sauce and cook for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and the spinach and cook for another 2 minutes. To make the dressing, quickly mix together the lime juice, chilli and mint. Serve the stir fry in bowls and drizzle over the dressing.

Instructions for a heatwave

You know what they say about the sun – mad dogs and Englishmen and all that. Well, it’s true. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose brain is a bit addled by the current heatwave. I’m so glad that I no longer work in an office or worse still, have to face a hot and sweaty commute to work. Still, it’s had going. Without wanting to sound like one of those people, it’s a bit too hot, isn’t it?

Anyway, ‘tis the season to eat salad (or sorbet, if you’re a vegan with a sweet tooth) and it’s pretty much all I want at the moment. I fell in love with a little lunch pot I bought from Marks and Spencer at the weekend and decided to try to recreate it.

The flavours in this salad verge on the sublime, thanks mainly to a creamy lemon and parsley dressing, and it’s a good way to use courgettes which are just in season. The peas (also in season if you use fresh) and chickpeas are full of protein so it’s a sustaining salad, too. Instead of fregola, I’ve used orzo, which looks like rice but is actually a type of pasta but much lighter – ideal if your appetite isn’t up to much in this weather. You can buy it in most large supermarkets but if you can’t find it, quinoa, couscous or brown rice will work just as well – just adjust your cooking times.

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Orzo with courgettes and peas and a lemon and parsley dressing

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

For the salad

100g orzo pasta

200g peas (fresh or frozen)

1 large courgette, diced

1 can of chickpeas (400g), rinsed and drained

2-3 handfuls spinach

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

For the dressing

Juice and zest of 1 unwaxed lemon (if you can’t get unwaxed, use the juice only)

½ tsp mustard seeds (black or yellow) or 1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 handful of parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp maple syrup

Salt and pepper

 

Method

Add the orzo to a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 6-7 minutes, then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan, then add the peas (shell them first if you’re using fresh) and courgette and squeeze over the lemon juice. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the chickpeas and the spinach and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir through the orzo then quickly make the dressing. If using mustard seeds, grind them using a pestle mortar or the base of a large mug, then mix together with the other ingredients – you can do this in a bowl by with a whisk or a fork or you can pop everything into a jar and give it a good shake.

Stir the dressing into the salad and serve. This goes particularly well with a cool glass of crisp white wine. Enjoy.

 

Broad strokes

Is it really a week since the general election? A lot has happened in the last seven days. We still don’t have a government so to speak, Tim Farron’s stepped down as leader of the Liberal Democrats (although really, that’s no bad thing) and fair-weather friend Owen Smith now has a starring role in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

It’s certainly not the hung parliament we were expecting last Thursday night. Mind you, most of us were hungover (get it?) the next morning and boy, am I feeling that today. Yesterday the weather was GLORIOUS and like so many  of us sun-starved Celts, I found myself in a beer garden. To give myself credit, I delayed drinking until a very respectable 6.30 pm but in the space of three and a half hours, I got through a hell of a lot of white wine. There was no dinner, unless Kettle Chips count. Oops.

I’ll survive – and I think Labour might too. Over 70 per cent of people aged 18–25 turned out to vote last week (that’s astonishingly good) and it’s a fair bet that many of them were voting for the many, not the few. If the reds had won just 15 more seats they could have formed a coalition with Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Greens. Sigh.

The good news is that Labour won back its seats from the Tories in Cardiff North, Vale of Clwyd and Gower. I’m moving to Swansea in a few weeks and while Gower isn’t my constituency (I’m Swansea East, baby) I’m pleased as punch. I was in Mumbles on Friday afternoon and when I saw these Gower broad beans, I saw it as a sign and had to buy them. If you’re ever in the area,  by the way, The Choice is Yours is a great greengrocers.

I love broad beans, even if they do require a bit of TLC. Shelling peas is pretty simple but with broad beans you need to double-pod them, which means removing an extra layer – a bit like a vest, I guess. It takes a bit of time but it’s worth it for the flavour. I had a merry little time shelling peas and broad beans the other night while I caught up with Orange is the New Black (no spoilers please; I’m still on season four); then I used them in a dreamy Thai green curry.

Once you’ve prepared the peas and broad beans dish (of course, you can use the frozen variety if you’re in a hurry), this is a really quick and easy dish. It’s also pretty healthy and if you want to make a lighter version you can use coconut milk from a carton (the kind you’d pour over cereal or have in tea or coffee) instead of the canned variety. It can be tricky to find a vegan Thai green curry paste (most of them contain fish sauce or shrimps) but the Blue Dragon version is a good option and if you can find it, there’s also Geo Organics, which I used.

Thai green curry 2

Thai green curry with peas and broad beans

Serves 4

Ingredients

200g peas, shelled

200g broad beans, shelled

300g spinach (or half a big bag)

1 small onion or 2 shallots, diced

3 carrots, diced

1 tablespoon sesame or coconut oil (olive or vegetable are fine too)

1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste

1 can (400ml) coconut milk

1 to 2 teaspoons maple syrup

The juice of 1 lime

1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Handful of parsley or coriander, chopped

425g brown rice

 

Method

Start by cooking the rice. Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the rinsed rice and continue boiling for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, warm a large saucepan or wok over a medium heat and when it’s hot, add the oil.

Cook the onion, ginger and garlic with a sprinkle of salt for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the curry paste and cook (keep stirring!) for 2 minutes.

Pour the coconut milk into the pan, along with half a mug of water and the maple syrup. Bring the mixture to a simmer then reduce the heat and after 5 minutes, add the peas and broad beans. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Now stir through the spinach and cook for another minute or so – or until it’s wilted.

Remove the curry from the heat and season with the lime juice and soy sauce. Divide the rice and curry into bowls and garnish with herbs and sliced red chilies, if you like.

 

Half-baked

Another day, another omnishambles. The fallout from last week’s general election is unfolding like an episode of Borgen and I’m struggling to keep up with the subtitles. After the Tories failed to win its predicted landslide majority, Theresa May is hoping to get into bed with the DUP (eew) to form a minority government. Now, The Queen’s Speech (which is basically when the government sets out its legislative programme) has been delayed until the deal is done and dusted. Oh, and the speech is still written on vellum – yes, that’s goat’s skin – which takes a few days to dry. Because of Tory negotiations with the DUP, it won’t be ready in time, hence the hold up.

I’m confused, bemused, and actually a little amused. The news this weekend has had me chuckling away, because it’s not funny – it’s bloody farcical. I’m no political expert but surely it was a bit half-baked to trigger Article 50 and then call an election?

It’s so bad it’s almost good – and it is if you consider that Labour has had a surge in popularity and for the first time in ages, the party is putting on a united front. It doesn’t excuse the previous backstabbing (I’m looking at you, Eagle and Smith) but Corbyn is now the poster boy for common decency because a. he’s a genuine guy who seems to give a damn about other people and b. next to the May and her ilk, anyone’s a Messiah. And then, proving that like us, he’s an average Joe (or Jeremy) there’s this.

I could watch it for hours.

Apart from Labour, no one seems at all happy, apart from Arlene Foster and former Chancellor George Osborne who was swiftly sacked by May as soon as she became Prime Minister. Now the tables have turned, he can barely contain his glee at her inevitable demise, and like the cat who got the cream, he’s described her as a ‘dead woman walking’. Meow. That schadenfreude sure does look delicious.

It certainly appears that there’s trouble in paradise, and in a leaked WhatsApp conversation, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has urged his Tory chums to ‘calm down and get behind the prime minister’. Good luck with that one, Bo Jo; the claws are out.

Carry on we must and on that note, I turn to tofu. You might think it’s as rubbery as Michael Gove’s face (and politics) but it’s actually a wonderful addition to any recipe because, like a sponge, it absorbs everything – and yes, that means all the flavour. Recently, I’ve had a go at baking it and have discovered that it’s dead easy and it keeps its shape better. This recipe is tried and tested (unlike whatever the hell is going on at number 10 right now) and I promise you that you’ll like it.

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Here’s what you need to do…

Take a 400g block of firm tofu and use kitchen roll to blot and absorb all its water. Take a heavy wooden chopping board or a hardback book (wrapped in a clean tea towel) and place it on top of the tofu. This will press down on it and absorb excess moisture. Leave for 10-15 minutes then slice into medium-sized strips.

Preheat the oven to 200C (gas mark 6) and in an oven-proof dish, mix a tablespoon each of soy sauce and sesame oil, plus a little grated ginger and the juice of one small lime. Coat both sides of the tofu strips with the mixture and leave to marinate for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle over some sesame seeds so that both sides of the strips are covered and bake for about 30 minutes, turning every so often.

Serve with stir fried vegetables and noodles or rice.

Peas please

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I love this time of year. With each season, I look forward to a new chapter (mainly in the weather and the food but also, just like at the start of a new school term, starting afresh) and when I think of June, I imagine weddings, gin and tonics enjoyed in the garden and slow summer days and evenings. Obviously, real life often gets in the way and even if it’s not pouring with rain, we often find ourselves stuck at the office when the sun’s shining outside.

One of the nicest things about summer is all that fresh fruit and vegetables and because it’s so easy to prepare, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying the summer – when the weather’s playing ball, that is. This is when peas and broad beans are just coming into season and once you get them out of their pods, they cook in a matter of minutes and by adding fresh mint, olive oil and lemon juice, they’re delicious served on their own.

Shelling peas is the closest I’ll ever get to mindfulness. I have the patience of a sinner but even I’m willing to sit down for half an hour and focus my full attention on popping them out of their pods. If you don’t want to completely switch off, shelling peas gives you a good excuse to catch up with a podcast or your latest Netflix binge.

Believe it or not, peas aren’t actually vegetables as each pod and its contents is collectively fruit and the peas are the seeds. That explains why they’re so sweet and how it’s almost impossible to shell them without snacking on a few.

Peas are something of a nutritional powerhouse as they’re low in sugar and a 100g portion provides you with 66% of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. Peas are also a good source of fibre and protein. If you can’t get fresh peas just use the frozen kind.

Peas please2

Spaghetti with pea and avocado pesto

Serves 2

 

Ingredients

200g spaghetti

200g peas, shelled and rinsed

1 lemon (juice only)

1 ripe avocado, peeled and halved

3 large handfuls kale, cavolo nero or spinach, torn

5-6 basil leaves, torn

1 clove garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Flaked almonds (optional)

 

Method

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook your spaghetti for 8-10 minutes, then drain. Steam the peas for one minute before adding the kale, then cook for a further 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the avocado, basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper into a blender. When the kale is cooked, allow it to cool for a minute, then add to the other ingredients and blend – you don’t need to be too thorough with this as you want a fairly coarse consistency. In a pan, mix the spaghetti and the peas and stir through the pasta, heating for a minute if you want to eat it warm, and serve. Scatter with flaked almonds for added crunch and a few basil leaves, if you like.