It feels like the real freedom of summer has arrived. The socks are off, schools are all closed, exams over and done with and the good weather has cranked up the feel good factor.
We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy our heatwave, the mid-20s in Celsius is very comfortable. Anyone who took a foreign holiday to any of the European hotspots must have been envious of everyone at home. Our son returned from Italy and gave a sigh of relief at the ‘cool’ temperature here.
Our garden continues to thrive, we have eaten, poached and baked a treeful of peaches and right this minute the apricots are queuing to be picked so that we can make jam.
There are so many vegetables ready for consumption, it’s difficult to know where to start. Peas, beans, fennel, beetroots, salad, spinach, chard, kale, broccoli, courgettes and now the tomatoes are coming too.
Last year I worked through the heatwave and I swore I wouldn’t this year but I did not expect to be gifted with a bad dose of sciatica and not to be able to move. Just proves you have to be careful with what you wish for – or at least super specific! So much to do and so much to pick and all I can do is pod peas from a chair.
Podding peas in the sunshine is an enjoyable distraction, almost a meditation, but it always makes me think of how many peas have to be podded to fill one of the bags found in the supermarket. I’m definitely never going to be a pea farmer!
With all of this in mind – the good weather, which means that we don’t want to spend much time cooking, the wonderful local ingredients that are ready and the fact that I am ‘crocked’, this month’s recipe is super simple.
We used pappardelle pasta (wide ribbons) but tagliatelle (thinner ribbons) or something like orrechiette (little ears) or conchiglie (shells) would work too, as they would all lend themselves to enveloping the sauce.
If you can’t find a large meaty tomato – meaning it doesn’t have many seeds, use a couple of ripe medium ones.
Use the best ingredients that you can find and you can’t fail.
I gave instructions of how to make this from a chair and it came out perfectly!
• 2 small courgettes
• 50mls olive oil
• 250g peas – fresh or frozen
• 1 large ripe tomato – the meatier the better
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 egg yolks
• 100mls cream
• 100g grated parmesan
• handful fresh basil
• 250- 300g pasta of your choice
Check the cooking instructions on your pasta and try to coordinate the pasta cooking time with the sauce. Prepare all the ingredients but only begin to cook the courgettes four minutes before the pasta is ready.
Put a large pot of water to boil.
Score the top of the tomato with a sharp knife, drop it into the boiling water then count to 20. Take the tomato out then plunge into cold water for a minute or two. The skin will now slip off. Cut the tomato in half, remove any seeds then chop into a 1cm dice.
Using the same pot of water blanch the peas for a few minutes then lift out and drain under a cold tap. Put aside.
Chop the courgettes into a large dice by cutting it in quarters lengthwise then along into chunks. Peel the garlic and chop finely.
Put the egg yolks and cream into a small bowl, whisk together then stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Put aside.
Return the water in the large pot to the boil, add a big spoon of salt and the pasta. Give it a good stir then set the timer.
Four minutes before the pasta is ready heat a frying pan, add the olive oil and the courgettes then toss them together. Cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes then add the garlic and toss well. Stir in the peas then season with salt and cracked black pepper. At the last moment add the diced tomatoes give everything a toss then turn off the heat.
Drain the pasta – over the bowl that you’re going to serve the pasta in is a very good trick as it heats the bowl, save a few spoonfuls of the pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce.
Put the drained pasta into the bowl, tip the vegatables, chopped basil and cream/egg mix on top then toss everything together. Add a little pasta water if you think it’s needed then serve.
As many of you will have heard we are going to move on from the shop to do something different soon. We are hoping that someone might take it over – it’s a great little business. If you know anyone that might be interested please spread the word. Whichever way it goes, we will remain open until the end of September making our tasty food and using our beautiful vegetables from the garden, so do call by and pick up your picnic.
Here’s to more sunny days!
Lettercollum Kitchen Project,
22, Connolly Street, Clonakilty