Hello. I hope you’re hungry. Welcome to the first of my weekly posts for Heart Home. You’ll find me here at this time every week with something to share. One week it might be a recipe the next it could be some beautiful cookware that I’ve come across or an inspiring cookbook find. I’ve jotted down a list of kitchen-related musings that I want to share with you each week, but I know that they will at times be pushed aside should there be something new that’s making me tick that week in the kitchen. I’m not a chef, but someone who has an infinite passion for cooking. I hope my posts will make for a varied and inspirational read each week and that the sometimes random and often spontaneous content will keep you coming back for seconds.
As the saying goes, some people eat to live and others live to eat. I, without doubt fall into the latter. I've loved food and cooking it from an early age. I grew up on my mum's home cooking and it rubbed off on me. Now, with children of my own, I can see my enthusiasm rubbing off on them, despite them still being of tender years. Home cooking is the tastiest, most satisfying way to cook and eat. I love nothing better than cooking for loved-ones, friends and family. I will spend an age trawling through recipe books old and new creating a menu to suit the season and mood of the day. For me food is absolutely central to life’s occasions and milestones.
Therefore it seems only right that I should mark my Heart Home debut with a recipe. I made this Green Leaf and Pea Soup for lunch the other weekend, so it’s as good a starting point as any. The soup takes just 10 minutes to make and will triumph any of those nicely-packaged posh soups you can pick up in the supermarket, saving you a few pennies along the way to spend on something nice like fresh flowers for the table or a bar of chocolate for afters.
On the side I served some spaghetti fritters, for no other reason than I had cooked too much spaghetti the evening before. The leftover pasta sat in the fridge while I awaited for divine inspiration as to what to do with it. These fritters were the answer: they were quick and easy to make, tasted delicious and looked as pretty as a picture.
Green Leaf and Pea Soup Serves 6-8
1 litre (1 ¾ pints) vegetable stock 6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed Salt and freshly ground black pepper 450g (1lb) peas, fresh or frozen 250g (9oz) watercress, rocket or spinach, or a mixture of all three, roughly chopped and large stalks removed 200ml (7 fl oz) single cream
Place the stock, spring onions and garlic in a saucepan, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Boil for about 4 minutes, until the onions are soft, then add the peas and continue to boil over a high heat, removing the lid once the mixture comes to the boil.
After 1 minute, add the roughly chopped leaves and boil for a further 30 seconds - 1 minute, until the peas and leaves are just tender. Add the cream and liquidise immediately. Then season to taste and serve, adding a tiny blob natural yoghurt or a drizzle of olive oil in the centre if you like for that finishing touch.
Spaghetti Fritters Serves: 4-8
7 oz dried pasta (cooked as per package instruction) 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped 2 eggs 1 egg yolk 2 handlfuls of freshly grated parmesan cheese optional: 2 anchovies, roughly chopped, 1-2 dried chilies (to your taste), crumbled sea salt and freshly ground Black pepper Olive oil
Put all your ingredients, apart from the spaghetti and olive oil, into a bowl and mix together. Add your spaghetti to a pan of salted, boiling water and cook as per package instruction. Drain the pasta in a colander and rinse under cold water to cool it down. Once the pasta is cool, snip it with kitchen scissors into pieces roughly 3 inches long and add them to the bowl. Mix everything well.
Pour a little oil into a pan and place on the heat. Then, using a fork, add piles (as big or as small as you like) of the spaghetti mixture to the pan and fry until golden and crisp on both sides. It’s delicious to fry the fritters in a slightly hotter pan so they become really golden on the edges but are a bit softer and warm inside.