Tag: broccoli

Market Day

For the last few Sundays, I have been waiting for Spring to be at the market to meet me. I am waiting for there to be baskets of fresh peas in their pods and fava beans to be shelled, asparagus and green beans, sweet and delicate new season fennel and spiky artichokes. Instead, there are still piles of citrus fruits and bundles of winter greens.

So here is a last of the winter’s market put together for a lunch. Finger’s crossed for Spring to be there next weekend.

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Green Winter’s Lunch
Serves two and a half

A big bunch of sprouting broccoli
A ball of fresh mozzerella
A handful of fresh basil, torn
The juice of a lemon
A handful of pine nuts
One ripe avocado
Good olive oil
Salt and pepper
Fresh bread and butter to serve

Simply steam the sprouting broccoli- the young and tender kind, not the old woody kind- until it has lost its crunch but has maintained its dignity. Lay on a plate and cover with half an avocado, half a ball of mozzarella, the torn basil leaves, the juice of half a lemon, a generous glug of olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Repeat on the other plate and add some fresh bread to mop it up. Then remember the baby and distribute some of the food onto her plate.

Enjoy at the table while you watch people out the window and debate whether all three of you should have an afternoon nap on this overcast and stormy Sunday.

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The Best of the Season

Yesterday I went to buy food for dinner and my neatly written shopping list stayed in my bag. I just couldn’t walk past the bright and sweet smelling citrus. Grapefruit, pomelos, mandarins, satsumas, clementines, limes, lemons, and oranges lay bathing in the late afternoon sun. While Lilias enjoyed the free apple pie samples they were giving out, I quickly came up with a new idea for dinner. We would have a citrus salad and it would be fresh and zingy, both sweet and bitter. Maybe a piece of fish on top, in which case fennel would work well. And we would need something green with that, baby spinach? No, some sprouting broccolini would be perfect. And surely there is some coriander in a jar on the window sill…

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Citrus Salad with Pan Fried Fish
Serves two

1 ruby red grapefruit
2 mandarins
Half a big bulb of fennel, or one small one, plus the fronds
A handful of coriander leaves
1 spring onion
A bunch of sprouting broccolini
A good glug of olive oil
Salt
2 pieces of firm white fish (I used ling cod)
Butter for frying

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Blanch the sprouting broccolini and put aside to cool. Carefully peel the grapefruit and mandarins and finely slice them, the grapefruit cut in half and the mandarins as perfect circles. Finely slice the spring onion and the fennel bulb, leaving the feathery fronds to garnish the fish at the end. Put it all in a bowl with the olive oil (it will make a difference if you use good stuff for this recipe), a good pinch of salt and the coriander leaves. Toss to combine.

Fry your fish in some butter, and while it is cooking, arrange the salad on two plates. When the fish is just cooked through, add it to the top of the salad and garnish with the fennel fronds.

It is the perfect meal for a hot evening (thanks San Francisco for this mid winter heat wave) or to cheer up a dark and cold day. Especially with a cold beer or a crisp glass of wine.

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Pasta for a misty evening


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I have been somewhat absent of late. A few weeks cooking for one while Ollie was in China for work, a trip home to New Zealand for a friend’s wedding, work and trying to get ourselves sorted for the baby’s arrival in just 7 ½ weeks (all going to plan), has meant I have not been snapping and blogging what we have been doing or eating. But here I am with a recipe for you.

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We had a weekend of unseasonably warm weather, 24 degrees, sunny, no wind and the smell of spring in the air. This meant wandering around the city with visiting friends, iced coffees, picnics in the park and a few new freckles. A lovely way to be welcomed back to the city after twelve days of sunshine, friends and family back home.

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We have also been welcomed back by the citrus stand at our local Farmer’s Market. They are currently laden with tangerines, clementines, mandarins, blood oranges, pomelos and grapefruit. Every Sunday we come home with bags of fruit, peeling and eating with sticky fingers and then watching my tummy go crazy when the sugar hits the baby. The big bowl of citrus and the sunny weather called for fresh and tasty things to eat when our friends came for dinner on Monday night. We enjoyed a quinoa, baked salmon, blood orange, fennel and pomegranate salad with fresh bread and cold white wine, followed by an orange and coconut cake that is so easy to make, I must blog it soon.

And then the mist rolled in. The temperature dropped and we were plunged back into winter. At work yesterday, all I could think of were hearty winter meals to sustain and warm us. I decided on a broccolo romanesco pasta with lots of parmesan, and perhaps some sausage meat too. May not sound glamorous, but it was perfect.

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Pasta broccoli e salsiccia
Serves four

I head of broccoli romanesco
4 small breakfast sausages
4 cloves of garlic
Chilli flakes
4 anchovies
Splash of white wine
Olive oil
1 packet of short pasta such as rigatoni or fusilli
Parmesan cheese

Take your beautiful, spiralling head of broccoli romanesco, break it into florets and then wash. Cook these in a pot of boiling water until tender. While these are cooking, heat a generous amount of olive oil in a pan with the chilli flakes, anchovies and the whole, peeled garlic cloves. Remove the sausage meat from the casing so you have little bits cooking in the tasty oil, flavoured with spice and salt. When the florets are tender, fish them out and add them to the sausage. I added a splash of wine at this stage, simply because we had a bit left over that wasn’t enough for a proper glass and was looking lonely. Smush most of the broccoli with the back of your wooden spoon so you have almost a pale green sauce with a few whole florets and the little bits of sausage meat within. Cover and leave on a very low heat while you cook your pasta in the broccoli water according to the packet instructions. Combine the pasta with the sauce and plenty of parmesan and dish up.

Quick to make and absurdly tasty.

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