Having left Australia mid summer, travelled and returned to the UK at the beginning of spring, we have sneakily missed out on a winter. Even though in my opinion there can never be ‘too much summer’ I am really appreciating the UK spring and how the season effects earth and nature.
We ventured to our first English country market this weekend, big empty rucksacks and sagging bags ready to be fed to the brim with seasonal foodie delights. Ripley was our destination, once inhabited by the likes of Kate bush and Eric Clapton – hence the superb guitar shop and high pitched ‘Bush-esque’ birds (that bit was a lie) and not a good one.
I had made a loaf of bread for breakfast about twice the size of a basket ball (not sure how that happened) which we ate with roasted thyme tomatoes, garlic spinach, smoked kippers and poached egg so a fresh, healthy cross between lunch and dinner would suit us fine.
We bought some rapeseed oil from Sussex (sometimes a healthy alternative to olive oil) which we use in bucket loads, oak smoked dry cured collar bacon and some veggies as pictured below. I really love the idea of grabbing whatever takes your fancy and lightly sautéing in some kind of ‘lubricant’ before mixing through hot pasta with parmesan – perfect and pretty much anything goes, seasonality is key and it’s always a surprise.
This isn’t really a recipe as such, I’ll write it up anyway as it was delicious but nip and tuck it as you desire – I’d make this with leftover roast chicken or poached shredded chicken as its delicate flavour wouldn’t overpower the tender vegetables. Think seasonality, normally all the flavours will marry well and create enough of a sauce to just about coat the pasta, you don’t want a pool of liquid at the bottom of the pan.
Ingredients Serves 2-4
- Pasta (about 100-150g per person)
- 1 small knob of butter
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed or olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced or sliced finely
- 1 bunch of radish, halved or sliced
- 1 bunch of asparagus, woody ends removed and sliced into 2cm pieces
- 1 iceberg lettuce, sliced up
- splash of white wine (if you have it)
- 100ml vegetable stock (or enough to coat your pasta)
- 1 lemon, rind and half its juice
- 2-4 generous handfuls of grated parmesan (about a 1 handful per person)
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta to al dente whilst you prep the sauce
Heat butter in a large pan, add oil and garlic. Heat for a minute but careful not to burn it.
Add the radish and asparagus and sauté for a minute or two.
Add lettuce, splash of wine (if you have it) and a little stock. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the saucepan, adding more stock as necessary to coat the pasta.
Squeeze in a little lemon juice and add the rind and parmesan. Stir everything together before serving hot with an extra sprinkle of parmesan.