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Aug 15 2012
2 notes

(mar)MITE BE BACK WITH A BOLOGNESE

To make up for months of no posts on my veg blog, I decided to go right ahead and whip up the BEST GODDAMN BOLOGNESE I’VE EVER MADE IN MY LIFE.

Perhaps this is because I’m British, and we’re going through a spell of getting things right. Or maybe it’s because I used a particular kind of veg for this dish:

Yeah that’s right. I wrote “HOME GROWN” using home grown produce (but then had to write this in case you couldn’t tell what it said).

Seriously, cooking with home grown veg is on a whole other level. These beautiful potatoes sat and grew in little sacks in our yard for months, and now here they are, all smooth and glossy and perfect, like babies. Like the children I never had, yet, or whatever.

Here they are just after harvesting:

And here they are lined up like one of those infographics that shows you the comparative size of planets in the universe:

Okay, so, the recipe for life affirming veggie bolognese:

Yard-grown potatoes
Dad-grown swiss chard & shallots
Rosemary picked from behind the bus stop (while everyone looks at you thinking you’re insane)
Celery
Sweet potato
Green chili
Soya mince
Tomato puree
Tin of chopped tomato
Red wine
Marmite (or shop’s own brand yeast extract - its all the same stuff)

I’m not going to go through every bit of this as it’s pretty easy (and if I don’t start shortening my blog posts I won’t get round to posting for another 6 months…) so just chop up your veg and get frying.

Start with the onion, shallots, garlic, and green chili in a pan with a bit of butter and olive oil.

Let them get a little bit of colour, and then add your soya mince, a satisfying squeeze of tomato puree, and a tin of chopped tomatoes.

Once the flavours are all blending beautifully, add a good bit of red wine. Heck, add as much as you like (not a whole bottle, but more than a dash. Somewhere in between those two measurements).

Let all this simmer away and infuse, and then stir in nature’s most psychedelic leafy vegetable: Swiss chard!

Watch as the pan explodes with pink, yellow, and green shades of delicious allotment-grown magic. I remember the first time someone showed me swiss chard and I thought it was some kind of cosmic joke. Mother Earth does like to trip us out from time to time, doesn’t she?

Anyway, enough about chard. Back to the cooking.

It’s time to give this dish a layer of deep, rich, yeasty flavour that feels like a really comfy armchair whilst watching a challenging yet very watchable film on DVD. You feel like you’re being pushed just enough to keep your mind engaged, but you’re essentially comfortable and oh so happy to be there.

Meanwhile: new pan. More oil. Bit of butter. Crushed garlic. Rosemary from the bus stop.

Get your yard grown spud slices in there for 8-10 minutes, or until they start going brown and crispy, and then we should be ready to check the seasoning of our bolognese and…

Serve it up, grate some cheddar on top and get stuck in. You’ll feel a wave of excitement mixed with comfort mixed with relief and also hope. It’s like when you wake up and realise its Saturday morning and that you’ve got no plans and then you realise its sunny and someone already put some coffee on. It’s that good. Embrace it without fear.


Nov 17 2011

Video

Look at this man. He is a picture of vitality. Hear his splendid sense of rhythm as he claps along to that flamenco beat. Heed his wisdom, and most of all, make that raw garlic and tomato sandwich. He even tells you what to do if you don’t have any olive oil.

I might get in touch with him about doing a post-Spanish Civil War guest post.

p.s. No amount of garlic is as good as my mother, but I’d like to see this whole film nonetheless. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080776/


Oct 31 2011
8 notes

BLACK DEATH LENTIL STEW WITH LINDA’S FINGERS

It is a dark, damp Monday. You hear howling and cackling in the streets and outside your window strange creatures lurk amid the shadows. “Just a standard Monday evening in Leeds” you may think to yourself.

BUT WAIT! WHAT IS THAT MONSTROSITY IN THE KITCHEN?

Be not afraid, dear veggers, for while the fingers of Paul McCartney’s first wife might appear frightening, they are delicious and comforting. And the pool of entrails they are poking out of will also nourish your blackened heart this Halloween.

To turn your kitchen into a treacherous chamber of pain and nightmares, you will need: 300g shallots of fear, 1 x doom broccoli, 3tbsp thyme of death, one packet of Linda’s Fingers, 25g dried porcini poison mushrooms, 400ml white whine, black death beluga lentils (I only had puy and normal ones, so I only suffered brown death), stock and oil.

In a small cauldron, heat your whine to just less than boiling hot.

Pour it on your poison mushrooms and leave them to whine for 10 horrific minutes.

Chop your shallots of fear in half with a bloody axe.

Sweat them in the cold sweat that is pouring from your fearful brow. Watch them turn slightly brown with fear.

Make your stock if you dare. You’re going to need about 900ml if you dare. IF YOU DARE, I MEAN ITS HALLOWEEN ISN’T IT SO YOU MIGHT NOT DARE.

Your poison mushrooms have whined enough. Shut them up with a seive and retain their despicable juices.

Shove them in the cauldron.

Time for your black death beluga lentils or, if like me you’re too scared, just use puy/normal lentils.

THYME OF DEATH!

Add the blood of a local child. If you live in a child-free vicinity, use the wine you retained from the mushrooms.

STOCK!   OF DEATH!

Stir the cauldron and laugh in a frightening way. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 40 minutes. Add more stock if it all gets soaked up. Sorry - stock of death.

Add the doom broccoli and give it a further 10 mins, or til the doom broccoli and lentils are all cooked through.

Ah sweet Linda. How we enjoy your fingers. They are so succulent and convenient and so regularly reduced to £1 at Morrisons because there are no vegetarians in Leeds.

ARRRRGGGGHHH! I CAN’T LOOK AT IT! IT’S SO GRUESOME! I suppose I’ll have to eat it, and offer the leftovers to trick-or-treaters. Kids these days love lentils and broccoli, yeah?


Oct 20 2011
7 notes

RETREAT! LOBOS PASTA DE PORTUGAL CENTRO

In England, it takes at least 8 years for even the smallest vegetables to grow. But in Portugal, vegetables are so plentiful and fast-growing that they have to ship English people over especially to help eat them, in order to stop the vegetables taking over the nation. In the spirit of solidarity with our Portuguese brothers and sisters, we went over there to do battle with some of the freshest veg that you’ve ever seen.

We set up camp at the beautiful Lobos Retreat in Serta, where peppers, chilis, basil, tomatoes, and an army of very combative butternut squashes were taking over the land and decimating people’s homes. Armed with a camp cooker and a wooden spatula, we wasted no time in getting to grips with some veg and letting them feel the heat.

The terrain was rough, but we were no strangers to the old adage that says: ‘If you want to make a pasta dish, you’re going to have to get your feet dusty’.

We quickly tracked down the troublemakers and showed them the strong arm of the law.

This basil got nicked.

There was no time to stop and acknowledge the extreme beauty of the vegetable garden, when there was such urgent work to be done. And also no time at all for drinking homemade wine and eating figs straight from the tree…

Get out of there chilies.

These guys were coming with us.

Having rounded up a right little posse of veg, including peppers, squash, tomatoes, onions, chilies, garlic, and some bloke called Basil, we called in some hired muscle - pasta, mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, courgette and a lovely local lass called Olive Oil.

We took the big feller down first, cut him right down to size with a few harsh words.

Stuck him in isolation for a bit and let him simmer down.

A fast bit of British handiwork soon sorted out these little red chaps.

Yeah, how do you like being CHOPPED?

There were no tears shed for this little loser. Shut it, pinky.

There was a bit of kettling going on, and the hot pan method was also used to interrogate the suspects.

Things heated up a little when we started on this guy.

We called in some seasoned professionals to help keep levels of taste and decency in order.

These vegetables were left to think about their actions.

By this point, the veggies had accepted defeat and began to appreciate the fact that their demise was going to be well tasty.

Our good friend balsamico de vinegar got everyone in a party mood.

Tellus, Mr Douro Doc, how come we can pick you up for a wallet-blasting 4 Euros, when the same amount of money affords us only putrid sour grape sap back at home? No matter! You are dee-licious, and welcome to visit us any time.

Ah, yes. They’re all tough guys to start with. But let em feel the heat for a while and they’ll soon soften up.

Pasta on. Veg frying in new pan. Cooking outside in warm Portuguese air on an October evening. Powerful feeling of joy.

The tomato sauce found its way to a saucepan, where it begged to be with its friend ‘Basil’. We duly obliged.

Portuguese vegetables are colourful because of their ancient ancestors, The Knights Templar, who arrived in Portugal hundreds of years ago and partied hard. Their colourful personalities ran off into the soil and led to many years of dazzling harvests.

The Portuguese evening sun cooks the vegetables at the exact same heat and speed as the pan beneath them, giving the dish a well-rounded finish.

But the sun often gets too hot and sets the sky on fire, as happened here.

Time to get that pasta with the basil and chili in it smothered all over that freshly-cooked pasta.

And then rush over to the dining table to soak up the last bit of sunshine, along with a glass of Tellus, and a plate of beautiful Portuguese homegrown veggies and saucy pasta. O brigado!

Thank you to Mark and Ellen for letting us go and spend an amazing week at their beautiful yurt in Serta, central Portugal. We heartily recommend it to anyone who fancies a secluded holiday in a lovely region of Portugal, with lots of great food! Visit the Lobos Retreat website here.


Sep 13 2011
10 notes

BRO-ROCCO, STEW ART THOU?

As you probably already know, brothers are only good for two things: good taste in wine, and obtaining sensational recipes from their part-Egyptian housemates (who have brilliant food blogs like http://abissadacooks.blogspot.com/).

These two skills are particularly useful when there’s a hurricane outside and you want to pretend you and your brother are running through the bazaars of north Africa, filling your bellies with magic orange and brown spices, rather than being huddled in a red-brick terrace whose roof tiles are playing a rumba rhythm in a howling September gale.

Here’s what you’re going to need to make your Autumn-warming Bro-Roccan Stew with mouth spangling chermoula dippy thing:

(Serves three perfectly, with leftovers for growing lads) One brother, two onions, two lemons, one tsp harissa paste, 2 spuds, 8 carrots, 1 tin chick peas, 1 tin plum tomatoes, 1 tsp ras-el-hanout (or another blend of moroccan spices), a big bunch of coriander, 1tsp (or a bit less) cinammon or smaller, plain cous cous, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper.

Start chopping things faster than you have been able to all year. As the saying goes, “Two hands are quite fast, but four hands are even faster than two.”

Your onions, spuds and carrots are the first priority. Put them at the top of your action items list.

Get a nice deep pan and put a glug of oil in it. Fry your ras-el-hanout/moroccan spices for a minute then add your chopped onion.

Whoosh! Look at your spoon blur as the onion flies in there. Fry it til it goes transparent.

DID SOMEONE SAY BATONS? Laugh at how much your brother’s fingers look like carrot batons, then be careful to put the right ones into the pan. His fingers are not vegetarian.

Okay, everything’s in the pan that needs to be for now. Get your brother to stir it for a while and let him tell you how to make the chermoula. Don’t let your childish brotherly rivalry instincts surface at this point - you’re both adults now and its okay to heed advice from him, even if he does have less skills than you.

Show him how tough you are by slicing the lemon. He’s not supervising you, he’s watching in awe of how much you’ve matured over the years.

Use your beefiest arm to squeeze the juice out of that lemon. It doesn’t stand a chance against you, and neither would your brother if it came down to fisticuffs. Don’t tell him that til after the meal though.

You don’t need to chop the coriander, as its going in a blender. But if you want to further demonstrate your excellent knife skills to your gawping brother, go ahead.

Whack the coriander in the blending pot with a whole garlic clove.

Add the juice of your lemons.

And some oil.

And the teaspoon of harissa paste.

Look at those colours. This is definitely going to taste on a par with the meals that you are able to make without your brother’s help (but probably not better).

WHIZZZZZZZZZZZZOOOOM!

Brother: “It needs more garlic.”

You: “Okay. Whatever you say goes brother. It’s great that we can cook together without any hint of competitive brotherly rage between us.”

Back at Pan H.Q. and it’s chickpea time. Drain them off first mind, then pour one tin in.

Tomatoes - whizzzooom. Then into the pan please.

Oh yeah, cloves. Forgot to mention them. Put three or four in.

Uh oh, your brother has spilled cinnamon on your cooker when he was opening the packet, and he has put too much in the pan. HA HA HA. Don’t miss this opportunity to laugh at him just a little. Not in a snidey enough way to start an argument, but snidey enough to leave him slightly worried that you’re a better cook than he is.

To try and redeem himself, he’s getting a knife and squishing more garlic with the flat side of it.

Now he’s doing a hand impression of Gollum from Lord of the Rings as he puts the garlic in the pan. Fair enough. The pan might need a bit of water in there to top it up, too.

Beautiful garlic. Your splendour and elegance makes me forget brotherly rivalry for a moment.

Your chermoula is ready to go in a cute little dish.

And your cous cous is ready to get hydrated. Give it some butter and a clove of garlic to help it along.

In fact, throw some moroccan spices in there too. Just a teaspoon, mind.

Stare longingly at your pan while your carrots and potatoes cook through. Add more water if it looks low on water. That’s just the application of logic for you there.

When the spuds and carrots are cooked through and your kitchen smells so spicey warm and fresh that the neighbours are drooling on your windows, present the hydrated cous cous, chermoula, leftover coriander and pot of glory on the worktop. Well done.

Call your mother on speaker phone during dinner. She’ll be mightily pleased to hear you both getting along so well and eating a good hearty meal. You can even say things like “It’s great to have him here, Mum. He’s brought a great recipe.”

But don’t let him forget about that cinnamon spillage. What a clutz.


Aug 02 2011
8 notes

Late Night Po-snip-to Rozzledinger Poachsters

It’s the last night of another painfully quick year of your twenties. You’ve had a splendid evening at the table tennis table and you are looking to cap the year off with a vegetable flourish. You spot a bag of your old man’s homegrown spuds winking at you from the pantry, alongside some leggy parsnips. Oh, what’s that? There are eggs in the fridge? The solution is clear - it’s time for Rozzledinger Poachsters.

So you need to get those spuds out (400g) and those parsnips (400g) and arrange them on a wooden chopping board. Get an onion. Get some butter (100g). Arrange a little thyme (4 or 5 sprigs) on there and take a photo.

This meal is looking great already. But, as with most things in life, it will look better with a poached egg on top. Let’s get some eggs.

Now reach for those sturdy bastions of the utensil cupboard; captain peeler and his trusty steed, the grater.

Look at captain peeler as he wastes no time getting to work on those parsnips. He can’t stand to see vegetables with their peels on. It offends him and he doesn’t stand for it.

Now this staunch servant of my family has been passed down over the decades but remains as keen today as she did when my mother was grating the carrots for my early childhood birthday cakes. You might not have a legendary chunky orange plastic stand-up grater to hand, which is unfortunate for you. You’ll just have to battle on, I suppose.

Take that potato! You just got GRATED.

Once the hero has completed the destruction of the potatoes, dollop the carnage onto a clean teatowel.

Take it over to the sink and squeeze it until all that delicious potato juice dribbles out. Mmmmmm, lovely. Why not try a glass?

The next foolish young crop to try and battle THE DISINTEGRATER is the parsnip. Thinks he’s tougher than the potato. Thinks he’s less moist and a bit more chewy. THE GRATER LAUGHS IN HIS LEGGY FACE.



Seeing the miserable defeats being suffered by his friends, the onion rolls over and willingly submits to the grater’s superiority. This does not spare him a severe grating (the merciless barbarity causes some onlookers to shed tears of sympathy for the onion).

The onion is a massive wetty and needs a squeeze. Again, feel free to drink the delicious juice as it seeps through your clean tea towel.

Now put all the hard work of Captain Peeler and The Disintegrater into a bowl. It will look like cheese and you might be forgiven for getting a little excited by that. But it is not cheese. There is no cheese in this recipe. You can have cheese another day.


Add thyme leaves, while singing Louis Armstrong’s ‘We have all the time in the world’ or Chairmen of the Board’s ‘Give me just a little more time’. Laugh at your own humour. Then pause to think about Louis Armstrong’s amazing voice.

Season well.

Melt 50g of butter in a little dish in the microwave. Pour this into the bowl.

Give it a good mix around, making sure everything gets all good and sticky. You’re probably going to want to get two hands in there and squidge it all up, but if you’re holding a camera just use a spoon until you can put it down and not get it messy.

"What’s this mekkin me slip? Why, it’s greAse! Tha dutty twister!" *

Butter in hot pan. Bubblin hot, much like Rankin Roger.

Press all of your rozzledinger mixture into the hot pan and leave it to cook for about five minutes on a medium heat.

While that is happening, get some water on to boil for your poachies (sorry about the dirty hob. I don’t think it’s my turn to clean it though, so don’t blame me).

After five minutes of roasty toasting, flip your rozzledingers. It would be nice if the whole thing was so beautifully crispy and brown on one side that it would just flip all at once. But, unless you have invented a giant utensil for this very purpose, it probably won’t. Don’t worry, just flip it in a few bits and then press it back down for another five minutes.

While that’s happening, drop your eggs in to poach, whip up a little side salad and mustard dressing, then get it served up! Happy birthday ME!

* If you didn’t get the Kes reference earlier, go and watch Kes.


Jul 25 2011
2 notes

Photo

LEEKS ARE BEAUTIFUL. Just look at this one I cooked yesterday, in butter, with a bit of garlic and some mushrooms. I ate it with new potatoes with a bit of salty salt and it was delicious.
So yeah, I’ve not posted in a while. But I hope this majestic photograph of a leek will more than make up for my downtime. I’ll cook something this week and do a proper post.
In the meantime, stay close. (YES! That’s the secret closetotheveg motto! We have a motto now, haha!)

LEEKS ARE BEAUTIFUL. Just look at this one I cooked yesterday, in butter, with a bit of garlic and some mushrooms. I ate it with new potatoes with a bit of salty salt and it was delicious.

So yeah, I’ve not posted in a while. But I hope this majestic photograph of a leek will more than make up for my downtime. I’ll cook something this week and do a proper post.

In the meantime, stay close. (YES! That’s the secret closetotheveg motto! We have a motto now, haha!)


Jun 23 2011
5 notes

A (WEE SMELLY) ASPARAGUSLY EGGY SOUP

So Jamie Oliver’s been on the phone. Yeah, said he wants me to use one of his recipes on my blog. Told him I wasn’t sure, ‘specially after that miserable risotto I had in his restaurant in Leeds. The guy’s not even my favourite Jamie Oliver out there (check out The Strumbellas, and their esteemed banjo player, Mr James Oliver), but eventually he twisted my ear and I agreed to post his Poached Eggy Asparagus Soup.

In fairness to the tonguey cockney, his asparagus soup is one of the greatest creations to have occurred since the ancient American Indians left their hunting spears in the earth, where they took root and grew into tiny, succulent, green spikes of delicious. In our house, the very idea of soup that doesn’t contain a poached egg, a piece of toast and a drizzle of olive oil can cause serious, widespread discontent. So thank you Jamie. And thank you also for countless evenings of the most pungently-scented wees that we have ever done.

Here’s what you need to make this delectable green goop: A bunch of asparagus, two white onions, celery, two eggs, bread for toasting, good veg stock, olive oil, a leek, salt and pepper, butter.

First things first, get your woody ends off. Asparagus gets well chewy down that end and you don’t want any chewiness spoiling the maiden voyage of the good ship Eggy Soup down the open mouth canal.

 

Chop the beautiful tips off and save them for later – they’re too elegant and dainty to be blended in with all the other stuff.

Chop up the onions, celery and leek any old how. They don’t mind a bit of rough.

Slide a gafuzzle of oil into a big deep pan (and yes, you’ll need to take the lid off your olive oil for it to actually pour)

Then sweat those veggies. Oh yeah. Soften em up all lovely, but don’t brown them off else they’ll be well browned off about it.

Put just the right amount of water (about a litre and a half) in your kettle for the stock because, unlike the Tories, you’re interested in energy saving policies.

Get six tea spoons of your brilliant, high quality veg stock in there. Y’know, the stuff that is so good you sometimes just drink it in a pint glass of hot water while your mates have a beer. It’s also time to throw the powerful-smell-bearing asparagus chunks in.

 

Shazbutt! Your pan’s not big enough. Not to worry, just transfer it over to a bigger one and hope that no one saw you, so no one is laughing at your inability to judge volumes.

 

Stick a lid on and simmer for 20 minutes.

While that’s happening, perhaps call your friend just in time to hear about the packet of fruit pastilles his Dad gave him that only had orange ones in it. But don’t linger for too long – the toast and the eggs need your attention.

If you’re Jamie Oliver, you can probably throw an egg at a pan without looking and it will somehow end up miraculously poached. But if you’re like me, you’ll need some help. Don’t be too proud to use poach pods. We all need a little support at times. Let some water spill in the pod so that the top of your egg doesn’t go firm.

When your soup has had 20 minutes, stick a blender in it and zap away. This soup works really well when its quite thin, so don’t be afraid to zwoib it right up.

If you’ve used awesome stock, you’ll only need a bit of salt and pepper. If you used stock stock, you might need a bit more.

Time for the dainty tips to feel the heat. Drop them into your blended soup and put it back on the flame for a bit. The asparagus tips will soften up in EXACTLY the amount of time it takes to toast, butter and slice some brown bread.

Ladel out some soup into a bowl and form a rudimentary raft out of brown bread for your poachie to sit on. Don’t worry if your poached egg goes all wibbly at the sight of this amazing soup - you really want all that good runny yolk just mingling in to the deliciousness.

Then it’s just a droozle of olive oil, a dash of black pepper, and there you go. It’s not raining outside, so go eat it on the doorstep. You can always dive in the shed if it starts raining!



Jun 15 2011
5 notes

Hot and cold bulgar wheat feta muncher

I remember laughing at bulgar wheat with my brother when we were little, because it sounded like “vulgar wheat” and the only place we knew the word ‘vulgar’ from was the dictionary listing for ‘fart’.

Now we are grown up, we give bulgar wheat the respect it oh-so-fully deserves, and occasionally we find new ways to eat it. In massive quantities.

Oh yes Veggletons. It’s time to make one of those meals that tastes like you want to eat it all day, so you make loads and keep it in a big bowl in the fridge for like three days. And its not even bad for you. LET’S MAKE THE BULGAR WHEAT FETA MUNCHER.

Here’s the merchandise you require: Bulgar wheat, feta cheese, cannellini beans, broad beans, veg stock, cherry toms, coriander from heaven, and a cucumber the length of your arm.

Put some boiling water on your bulgar wheat. Just enough to cover it with about a couple of centimetres on top. Then watch as the wheat drinks the water like a thirsty desert camel. (it will do this for about half an hour. If you want to get your munch on sooner, whack it on the hob for 10 mins with a bit more water)

Give your mighty bulgar wheat mad flavour with Swiss Vegetable Bouillon. If you’ve been buying any other kind of stock up to now, have a word with yourself, get some bouillon, and then never look back.

Meanwhile, get your broad beans a boilin’ there.

Then dice up some of that enormous cuke, slice up your baby toms and place them on an attractive wooden chopping board, side by side. Admire their vibrantly contrasting colours and marvel at the way the universe plays with form. Isn’t nature just full of wonder?

What’s that? Oh, the broad beans are done! My goodness, this meal is going to be ready so quickly, we might actually spend more time eating than cooking for once.

Look at your feta. It’s so laid back, it doesn’t mind if you throw it in right at the last minute. Just don’t forget about it and it’ll be fine.

Now drain off that gargantuan heap of bulgar wheat and behold the cloud-like fluffiness of this truly remarkable grain.

Drain off your cannellini beans and put them in a nice big salad bowl with your cucumber, toms, and broad beans. Then get ready to do the big mix.

Choppedy-chop some of that Coriander-of-Life-Giving-Flavour over the top of your mix.

And dive in there! People might try to make you eat it from a plate or serving bowl. That’s fine, don’t worry - there’ll still be some left later so that you can sneak downstairs in the night, open up the fridge and go “Ahhhhh yesssss!” and take the whole bowl and sit it right there on your knee while you get to work with your fork and watch an episode of Deadwood. YES SIREEE!


Jun 07 2011
8 notes

Pesto pasta pine nut pick-me-up

Even vegetarians feel sad from time-to-time. But when they do, they find refuge in food that maxes out so strongly on their tastebuds that they can’t feel anything but deep, joyous flavours.

Good vegetarian food should be like table tennis: simple, easy to pick up, but also fully immersing so that you forget all your woes, totally engaging and very, very tasty. Like when you get that aggressive topspin just right and smash your opponent’s face in. Or when you make this:

And the great thing about Pesto Pasta Pine Nut Pick-Me-Up is that it takes LESS THAN NO TIME to make. It prepares itself a few seconds before the thought to make it enters your head. It’s one of the many ‘anticipasta’ dishes, that have the capability to predict a person’s needs before the person even knows it.

So here are your ingredients:
Pasta (we went for Orecchiette this time but any pasta will do)
A jar of pesto (yeah, yeah, homemade is better but we made this dish in minus five seconds, so y’know…)
Pine nuts (or, if you object to paying £3.99 for a teeny weeny bag of pine nuts, do what we did and get a mix with sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds too. £3.99! You can buy shoes for that!)
Good olive oil
Wild rocket
A little bit of cream

So why Orecchiette, I hear you ask. Well, here’s why:

Orecchiette is the only pasta to be created by taking moulds from the brains of super-intelligent mini turtles. It’s still technically a vegetarian food - the turtles volunteer their brains for moulding and then sell half the orecchiette to Italian chefs and the other half to turtle swim team competitors and Jewish turtles.

Get your turtle brains in a big pan of salty water. Allow a big handful per person. And if your best buddy moved to Canada yesterday, give yourself some extra.

Meanwhile, set the gathering of expensive seeds off toasting in a wee pan.

After 10 minutes, give your turtle brains a taste. You want them to be al dente, which is Italian for “At the dentist” and means slightly chewy.

When they’re done, drain em off.

Return to the pan and drizzle a little oil on there. Not too much - they’re gonna be quite slippery by the end of this anyway.

Now for your pesto. Get two big dollopy teaspoons of the stuff in there. It might look like ground up tramp’s trousers but it is more tasty than that.

Just put a little cream in to add the extra happiness you’ve been looking for.

Then its time to get your rocket skates on and stir in the greens.

But wait - HOW ARE THE SEEDS DOING?

Oh no! They’re upset! It might be because you forgot about them. Or maybe their friend also moved away. Or maybe they just wish they were cheaper to buy at the supermarket. Either way, its time to get them in.

Then stir it up (li-ttle-daaarr-linn) and you’re ready to feel good again cos it’s done! Seriously, this is good comfort food and if you go easy on the cream its not the most unhealthy thing in the world.

I’d like to dedicate this dish to my best buddy Kyle, who moved away at the weekend after years of amazing veggie cooking and amazing good times together. I miss you so much Spoonman!

With a bit of luck though, i’ll get him to guest blog on here all the way from Canada and you can all try his ridiculously good One-Pot Veg Curry Explosion!


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