Saturday, October 18, 2008

braised peas with spring onions and lettuce

braised peas with scallions, onions and lemon

My goodness, where do I even start? Since I have posted last, so much transpired in that time. The markets have fallen a precipitous amount with yesterday’s capitulation being quite brutal for the S&P 500. The world is a different place now and it will be interesting to see where the chips will fall or where the bottom might be. But enough of that. This is, after all, a food blog. And you come here, not for my financial take on things, but hopefully, to find recipes for good food.

And yet, partly because I spend my days working in the financial industry and partly because what is happening right now is so big, it’s hard to extricate yourself completely from it, even if your industry is as far away from the markets as it gets. It has affected and continues to affect us all. The restaurants are emptier and it’s now easier to get a reservation at historically difficult to book places. My friends and I are cutting on going out, instead choosing to cook our meals. And as our jobs and our savings are in flux and on a southward spiral, we turn to foods of comfort and greater simplicity to fix some of the anxiety. I know I’ve been eating more mashed potatoes lately – my food equivalent of a security blanket.

porcini flavored salt mmmmmm

Well, this recipes here I have for you here is a doozie. It’s so perfect, I’m annoyed with myself for having taken nearly two weeks to write about it. It’s a triple threat of amazing, with everything you could possibly want in a meal at stressful juncture: easy to make, delicious and comforting, and extremely wallet-friendly. Oh and it feels luxurious too. The recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook “Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook” – Jamie Oliver, is known to many as the Naked Chef – and I’ve been a longtime fan of his easy, delicious recipes. His premise is elementary – good food need not be complicated or elaborate – sometimes things taste best at their simplest.

Even better, the dish requires minimal counter space – something that came in truly handy because I was making it at the time when my kitchen cart, stood (for nearly 4 weeks!) half-assembled in my kitchen, with spare parts strewn around the rest of my apartment. It was impossible to truly cook or to truly live – I felt like I was dealing with an obstacle course – not a home. The kitchen cart, with its generous counter, also comes with a fold-out breakfast bar – which means more counter space – a lucky find for me!

kitchen cart with a fold out breakfast bar

This is the first recipe I have made from this book, but already, I’ve dog-eared many a page and can’t wait to give other recipes a go. And with my kitchen cart constructed and ready for use – I have no excuse not to cook anymore. All I need it a few more volunteers to drop in for dinner and I will be all set.


Braised peas with spring onions and lettuce
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 knob butter*
olive oil
1 heaped tsp flour
1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
6 spring onions, trimmed, outer leaves discarded, and finely sliced
14 ounces fresh or frozen peas
2 little butter lettuces, sliced**
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper (I used the new wonder in my apartment – sea salt flavored with porcini mushrooms)
juice of 1 lemon
good quality extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Slowly heat the butter and a good glug of olive oil in a pan.
2. Add the flour and stir around, then slowly add the stock
3. Turn up the heat and add the spring onions, peas and lettuce with a pinch of salt and pepper.
4. Put the lid on and simmer for five minutes or until tender.
5. Taste, correct the seasoning Salt and pepper to taste and squeeze in a bit of lemon juice.

Serve drizzled with a splash of good oil.

* I read that as 1 tbsp
** Could not find in the store – will make with lettuce next time – yes, this will be repeated

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