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Comfort FOOD.


September plays to our British hedgerows, allotments and vegetable gardens. Courgettes grow in abundance, so cut them early to keep them sweet, saut with the flowers and enjoy their sweet pale creamy flesh.

Cut them in long thin strips and make into vegetable spaghetti or add them to a quiche with fresh basil and crumbled feta, and when the abundance hits, turn them into fresh soup.

Courgette, mint and chilli soup Method: Sweat one sliced onion and two cloves of garlic in a saucepan with a splash of olive oil.

Once soft, turn up the heat and add three courgettes, just roughly sliced.

Saut for a few minutes, add salt, pepper and a small diced green pepper. Keep just an inch back for garnish.

When the courgettes just begin to brown add three quarters of a pint of good chicken stock, simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add 10 fresh mint leaves.

Whiz with a stick blender. Add 1tbs of creme fresh and season to taste.

To serve the soup, spoon into bowls and top with a swirl of creme fresh, tiny diced chilli and a sprig of mint.

Blackberries are now ready for picking. Look out for them if you're out on a nice country walk. They are sweet, sour, succulent and refreshing. Beautiful, large 'pick your own' blackberries should be eaten fresh, sprinkled on ice-cream, put in meringues or sat proud on beautiful Victoria sponges.

Hedgerow blackberries, which often not so beautiful, are great for stewing down into jam. Bung a handful into an apple or pear crumble or lightly simmer with sugar and a splash of brandy. It's amazing on Greek yoghurt or as a side to dress up a bread and butter pudding.

Lastly, but by no mean least, runner beans are this month's nutritious heroes.

Simply blanched, drained and thrown steaming hot onto a Sunday dinner with a splash of olive oil, knob of butter, rock salt and a twist of black pepper is heaven on the table for me.

I can eat a plateful for supper with nothing else but if that's a little bit too 'green' for you here's a recipe where they're used with a twist.

Potato and runner bean salad with crispy pancetta Method Put a pan on the stove filled with salted water and bring to the boil. Add about 15-20 small new potatoes which you should simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain them when al dente and set to one side. Put the water back on. Slice the runner beans and blanch for a couple of minutes. Drain the beans and splash with cold water to keep them really green and add to the potatoes.

Cut the spuds in half. Cut the pancetta into thin strips and saut in a hot pan with a splash of oil. When crispy add a splash of vinegar, 1tsp of Dijon mustard and 1tbs of sunflower seeds.

Throw this all over the potatoes and runner beans and eat as is or with a sauted breast of free range chicken on the side.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Sep 15, 2012
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