Because loving what you eat doesn’t have to cost the Earth…
By Ashka Thacker
Editor’s note: Caution – Do not read the following on an empty stomach – Ashka’s recipes are so delicious they’ll make you very, very hungry.
Summer’s finally here and what better way to enjoy the sun than eating well with friends and family alfresco style. This season, look for broad beans, French beans, peas, strawberries and raspberries. Tomatoes are also at their best this month. Other fruit and veg to pack into your baskets are gooseberries, asparagus and mange tout, radish and watercress.
Use our tips on the latest ingredients for this season and try our recipes that will add colour to any picnic basket! Broad beans are at their best when young and fresh. The little pods can be eaten whole when young. If slightly older, you can pop the bean out of its shell after cooking.
When picking green beans, look for a good colour and firmness. There should be no discolouration or wilting. For a simple dish, top and tail and steam until tender. Add to a warm salad dressed with ginger, garlic, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar.
Tomatoes are packed full of antioxidants. Large egg shaped tomatoes work well for rich sauces whereas sun dried tomatoes are great for adding taste to dips , sauces, soups and stews. Strawberries are full of vitamin C and also an excellent source of vitamin B. Avoid those with white or green tips.
Grease and line an 8x4in loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, fan 160 degrees, gas mark 4.
Chop off the green tops and quarter up approximately 300g of fresh strawberries. Place in a microwaveable bowl and warm for 2 minutes. This should make it easier to mash up with a fork. Set this aside while you prepare the bread dough.
In a separate bowl mix together 75g of unsalted butter, two large eggs and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Whisk together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add 300g of self-raising flour to this and approximately 80ml of cold water. Stir continuously then add a pinch of salt. Finally, add the mashed strawberries to this.
Put the mix into your tin and bake for 50 minutes until a fork or skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for some time before transferring onto a wire rack.
Works perfectly with some clotted cream and topped with fresh strawberries.
Broad bean, peas, mint and feta spirali – A gorgeous green pasta dish
Boil some broad beans and drain in a colander. Slip off the skins when they are cool enough to touch. Halve the beans by sliding them apart. In the meantime, cook the spirali pasta as per the packet instructions, or for 10 minutes until al dente.
Add in the peas in the last two minutes. Drain and transfer into a warm serving dish. Stir in some extra virgin olive oil and season. Toss together the broad beans and some chopped mint. Finish off with a sprinkling of feta.
Quarter, de-seed and dice up four vine ripened tomatoes. Mix with one small chopped red onion, one clove of garlic and one finely chopped green chilli, two tablespoons of chopped coriander and the juice of half a lime and one tablespoon of olive oil.
Here comes the science bit…
GC articles show you one of four ways (the one in bold) to live greener…
Pics: Ashka Thacker