Pizza Fiorentina

Of all the meals I make my family, home-made pizza night is their favourite. I have got it down to quite fine art. The most important thing is to give your pizza dough a good hour to prove and make sure your oven is hot enough. Turn it up full heat and place a baking tray or pizza stone inside to get hot to transfer the pizza straight onto. I barbeque with a pizza stone is great as it can get much hotter than a conventional oven. You will also need a baking sheet or a pizza peel to transfer your pizza directly onto the hot tray or stone in the oven. Other than that, it is simple. All you have left to do is come up with your favourite toppings. Here’s a start. A classic Pizza Fiorentina. A fabulous way of using up the spinach in your veg box.

Pizza Fiorentina 1

Pizza Fiorentina

You can make up the pizza dough and once it have proved, knock it back and freeze it in individual portions. Take them out the freezer a couple of hours before you need them. Personally I make the whole dough, and need it in the magimix, but here is the proper method.

Pizza dough

500g strong white bread flour

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 x 7 g dried yeast sachet

1 tablespoon golden caster sugar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

325 ml lukewarm water

Sieve the flour and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or an oiled piece of clingfilmand place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about three or four medium pizzas.

Pizza Fiorentina 2

Toppings

300g bag of baby spinach

Mozarella (the cheap blocks actually make better pizza, If you want to use better quality bufala mozzarella then make sure you let it drain well before using, otherwise your pizza will be too wet) Cut into small cubes. Never use ready grated mozzarella.

Passata (I use Pizza Express but any good quality passata will do)

Garlic oil (made by whizzing up some peeled garlic cloves and some extra virgin olive oil with a hand blender)

Organic Free-range eggs

Freshly grated parmesan

Black Olives

Pre-heat your oven as hot as it will go and add a baking sheet or a pizza stone. Heat a little olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the spinach and a good pinch of salt. Cover and cook until just wilted. Stir well and remove to a colander. Gently squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.

Roll out your dough, as thin as it will go. Dust another completely flat baking sheet or peel with flour and put your pizza base straight on it. You need to work quite quickly now so that your base does not have time to stick. Spread passata on the base. Next scatter with spinach, then drizzle with garlic oil. Scatter on mozzarella, sprinkle over the parmesan and season lightly with sea salt and black pepper.

Transfer your pizza quickly to the tray in the oven. There is a knack to this. Your first one may not be beautiful but you will get better each time. Try not to leave the oven door open too long or you will lose all your precious heat. Crack on your eggs and add your olives and cook until done to your liking. Slide onto a board and serve.

Spinach

Chilled Salad Soup with Crème Fraiche & Herbs

Finally some real sunshine at the weekend, almost summeresque and as always in the heat, I get to thinking about chilled soup.

Here is a recipe for one of the best and a great use-up of any salad leaves you happen to have. You can use anything from rocket to batavia, watercress to baby gem. I like a big handful of fresh spinach too, for a beautiful deep green hue. There is baby spinach in the boxes now so you can just chuck it straight in. Don’t forget the herbs. I particularly like basil or chives. For the base you can use spring onions, leeks or bunched onions, whatever you have. The potatoes can be any variety too and you don’t even have to serve it chilled – it is delicious hot too!

Chilled Salad Soup with Creme Fraiche & Herbs

Chilled Salad Soup with Crème Fraiche & Herbs

Good glug of extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, peeled and chopped (could be a few spring onions)

250g potatoes, peeled and chopped into even sized pieces

450g to 500g assorted green lettuce & salad leaves (such as batavia or baby gem lettuce, sorrel, watercress, rocket, spinach and nettles)

Herbs of your choice – mint, chives, basil etc,

250ml Crème Fraiche

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Sweat the onion down in a good glug of extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes or so until just beginning to colour. Add the potatoes and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about another 10 minutes or so. Cover with water and cook just until the potatoes are soft. Add more water if necessary.  Remove from the heat and stir in all the greens/herbs and whiz up with a hand blender. Adjust the consistency. It should not be gloopy but also not too thin. Add the Crème Fraiche and check seasoning. Serve hot or cold. You can add a swirl more of Crème Fraiche or add a few freshly chopped herbs.

Spinach

Smoked Haddock, Mustard Mash, Spinach and Poached Egg

And for my final spinach recipe of the week, a real suppertime favourite in our family. Smoked Haddock, Mustard Mash, Spinach and Poached Egg. This is founded on real nursery (minus the mustard) comfort food and bound to cheer you up after a hard day.

Try and find undyed smoked haddock. The smoking process should give the fish a delicate tinge, not an alarming deep shade of orange.

“en papillote”

I like to cook my fish simply steamed in the oven. This is called “en papillote” in French which translates as in parchment. There is no great description in English, but it is a super quick and easy way to cook your fish to perfection. You can use traditional greaseproof paper, or even easier tin foil. If you seal it well the package will puff up when cooked so you know when it is done. (Make sure the package is quite flat before it goes in the oven, as in the  picture below, so you know when it has puffed up.)

“en papillote” 1

I have given you a brief description of how to make a parcel but if you want more help, have a look at youtube.

Preheat the oven. Bring your oven up to 350F/180C. Add a tray to the oven. Take a large sheet of tinfoil or grease-proof. The tinfoil should be a rectangle, the grease-proof cut into a circle. Lightly grease the paper or foil with a little olive oil. Place the fish in the middle and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dot with a knob of butter and fold the paper or foil in half. For tin foil, neatly double fold each edge. For the grease-proof, start at one edge and start folding the edges in small inch sized folds until you have reached the other side of the semicircle.

Place on the hot tray in the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until well puffed up.

Smoked Haddock, Mustard Mash, Spinach and Poached Egg

Serve with some mashed potato with a teaspoon or two of Dijon mustard stirred in at the end, some wilted spinach (see spinach)  and a freshly poached egg.

Smoked Haddock, Mustard Mash, Spinach and Poached Egg 2

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Next up, and still on the spinach theme, another really easy supper. I have got this recipe down to a fine art now and can have the whole dish made and on the table in less than an hour.

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni 2

Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Serve 2

Béchamel Sauce

25g butter plus an extra knob

25g plain flour

250mls milk

50g cheddar cheese, grated

8 dried cannelloni

250g picked spinach (stalks removed) washed

150g ricotta

50g grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When boiling, add the spinach and immerse in the water. Bring back to the boil and allow to cook for a minute or two. Remove the spinach with a slotted spoon and spread out onto a dry tea towel to cool down quickly. When cool, use the tea towel to squeeze out any excess moisture. Finely chop. Melt the knob of butter in a large pan. Add the spinach. Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper, then set aside.

Meanwhile make your béchamel. Begin by melting the butter gently – don’t over-heat it or let it brown, as this will affect the colour and flavour of the sauce. As soon as the butter melts, remove from the heat and add the flour. Stir well and return to medium heat and cook until your mixture resembles sand. Now add the milk and whisk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and add your grated cheese. Season to taste with salt.

Stir the ricotta and parmesan into the spinach and check seasoning. Tip the mixture into a disposable piping bag or a clean plastic bag and cut an edge off the corner about the same size as the holes in the cannelloni. Squeeze the mixture into the cannelloni tubes. Lay them in a gratin dish and pour over the béchamel. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.

Spinach and Ricotta

Creamed Spinach with Baked with Eggs

I think whatever veg box you opt for this week, you are pretty much guaranteed to get some spinach in it. This is True Spinach and one of my favourite varieties. I like to blanch it briefly in boiling water before allowing it to cool and removing any excess water. Then it is a simple case of a quick fry in a little olive oil or butter with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Delicious!

Spinach is a versatile leafy green that features in just about every cuisine on the planet. It was first cultivated in Persia several thousands of years ago. It was brought to Europe by the Moors when they invaded Spain, and presented to China as a gift from the King of Nepal in the seventh century.

Spinach is a highly nutritious vegetable. Green pigments indicate the presence of antioxidant nutrients and phytochemicals such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin – important for healthy eyes. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C if eaten raw, as well as vitamins A and B, folic acid, calcium, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin and iron.

So this week, I have not one, but three spinach recipes for you.  The first is a variation of a recipe which I wrote last year, but featured kale instead of spinach. However, I love creamed spinach and I thought I would try this spring adaptation. It makes a lovely, quick and easy lunch.

Creamed Spinach with Baked with Eggs 2 Creamed Spinach with Baked with Eggs 3 Creamed Spinach with Baked with Eggs

Creamed Spinach with Baked with Eggs

Serves 4

500g picked spinach (stalks removed) washed

50g butter

½ tsp grated nutmeg

250ml double cream

4 large free-range eggs

50g finely grated parmesan

Toasted sourdough bread to serve

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When boiling, add the spinach and immerse in the water. Bring back to the boil and allow to cook for a minute or two. Remove the spinach with a slotted spoon and spread out onto a dry tea towel to cool down quickly. When cool, use the tea towel to squeeze out any excess moisture. Roughly chop. Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the spinach. Season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper, then set aside. Put the cream into a small pan over a medium-high heat and boil for about 1 minute, stirring now and then, until it has thickened slightly. Stir the cream into the spinach, then divide the mixture equally between 2 x 500ml shallow, ovenproof baking dishes (or 4 x 250ml individual ones). Make 2 hollows in the spinach mixture in each dish (or 1 in each individual dish) and crack in the eggs. Lightly season, then sprinkle over the parmesan. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the eggs are cooked to your liking – I like the yolks still runny and the whites set. Serve with sourdough toast.

Creamed Spinach with Baked with Eggs 3

Saag Aloo

I seem to quite unintentionally have two themes this week. First of all, all three recipes contain potatoes and secondly, they are all Indian. I am going to start with the really, quick and easy recipe of Saag Aloo which translates, somewhat unexcitingly as “Spinach Potato”. Things often sound more exotic in another language!

You will need to use waxy potatoes for this dish so that they do not turn to mush. It is hard to tell from the outside of the potato how it is going to cook but as a general rule, if it is yellow when peeled it is usual waxy and the whiter it is inside the more floury it will be.

As for the spinach. True spinach can be wilted straight in the saucepan as in the recipe, but if using perpetual spinach (larger slightly tougher leaves) you will have to briefly blanch the leaves first in a pan of boiling salted water. Cook for 2-3 minutes and layout to cool. Squeeze out any excess water before adding.

Saag Aloo makes a lovely side dish, but I recon this could make a meal on its own, maybe with a naan bread on the side. Noting beats, a freshly made naan baked in a tandoor. I call up my local Indian restaurant, place an order and pick them up on my way home!

Sagg Allo

Saag Aloo
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 small onions, or 1 very large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic clove, grated
Large knob of ginger, scrape off the outside with a teaspoon and grate
500g potato, peeled and cut into 1 cms chunks
1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
½ tsp each black mustard
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground cardamom seeds (grind in a coffee grinder)
2 big handfuls spinach
Large handful of coriander, freshly chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the coconut oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan and add the onion and a ½ tsp salt and a large pinch of pepper. Sweat for about 5-10 minutes until translucent but without colour. Add the garlic and ginger, chilli and spices and fry for 1-2 mins. Stir in the potatoes, and continue cooking and stirring for 5 mins more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 mins. Keep checking. The potatoes are ready when you can easily spear them with the point of a knife. If necessary, add more water and stir time to time replacing lid each time. When you are sure the potatoes are cooked. Check seasoning and add the spinach. Replace lid and allow 1-2 minutes to wilt. Stir in spinach and a large handful of freshly chopped coriander. Serve straight away.

Saag Aloo 2

Aubergine, Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Curry with Cauliflower and Coconut Rice

I actually managed to get away for half-term but returning to the hell of the school run, now that the clocks have changed and it is darker and gloomier, soon knocked any feelings of recuperation out of me. With winter setting in, I am turning to more warming, comforting suppers and nothing cheers me up more than I good curry. The autumn vegetables at this time of year really lend themselves to Indian food and I like to roast them to cut down on oil and keep more texture. However, because the ingredients are cooked separately it is important to let the finished curry sit for a while to allow the flavours to infuse. It is even better the next day.

Following my theme of the last few weeks, I have carried on experimenting with cauliflower, this time serving my curry with “cauliflower rice.” You can add all sorts to your cauliflower rice. For this Indian version, I particularly like the addition of the coconut oil but as I was serving it with curry, I let it at that. But you can turn it into a dish in its own right by adding amongst other things, onions, cumin seeds, chilli, ginger, garlic or herbs such as coriander.

It might even be nice to try versions from other countries. How about a Spanish version with Chorizo and peppers. Watch this space!

Roast aubergine

Aubergine, Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Curry
Coconut oil
3 small onions, peeled and thinly sliced
2 aubergines, cut into 1” chunks
1 head of cauliflower, large outer leaves removed
3 garlic cloves
Large knob of garlic
1-2 fresh red or green chilli
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp cardamom seeds, (not pods) freshly ground in a pepper-mill (try a good Indian or health food shop)
2 large handfuls of perpetual spinach (or 1 large handful of true spinach)
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin plum tomatoes
Large bunch of fresh coriander, washed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰C. In a heavy bottomed saucepan gently fry the onions in some coconut oil for about 15-20 minutes until really soft and just light golden brown. Meanwhile toss your aubergine in some oil, season with salt and pepper and lay out on a baking sheet, lined with grease-proof paper, with plenty of room to allow it to cook evenly. Roast in the oven until golden brown, about 35 minute. Redistribute from time to time.

Remove the core of the cauliflower and break or cut into even sized florets. You can use the small inner leaves. Do exactly the same with the cauliflower as the aubergine.

Roast Cauliflower

Meanwhile scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the skin. Apparently the most nutritious layer of the ginger is just under the skin, so do this carefully. Grate finely. Peel the garlic and grate finely as well. Cut the chillies in half and remove the seeds. Finely chop. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli (only add one chilli to start with. You can always add more but you cannot take away once it is in.) Cook for one minute more and add the spices. Fry for one minute before adding the tin of tomatoes. Refill the tin with water and add too. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Add the drained tin of chickpeas. Allow to gently bubble away for at least half an hour. Check the seasoning.

Meanwhile if using perpetual spinach, remove the leaves from the stems and blanch the leaves in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to dry, spread out on a tea towel. When the cauliflower and aubergine is cooked add to the tomato base. Use the tea towel to squeeze out any excess water in the spinach and roughly chop. Add to the curry with the coriander, stir well and allow to sit for at least half an hour, whilst you cook your rice, before serving.

Cauliflower cous cous

Cauliflower Rice
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Sea salt

Using a food processor, whiz up the cauliflower until evenly all very finely chopped. You can use a grater to do this instead. Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the cauliflower. Season with sea salt. Cook, stirring regularly until the cauliflower is tender. The releasing moisture from the cauliflower will gently steam it. Do not allow to colour.

Aubergines

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

Finally the aftermath of moving house is calming down, it is too wet for me to start the epic job of putting the allotment to bed for winter and I don’t have any Riverford lunches this week, and as a result I actually had some time to do some cooking this week.  It is often difficult to find the time to experiment with new recipes for my Riverford Lunches and Dinners and I always feel that I need to keep on finding new and exciting ways of using veg, if I am going to keep on inspiring you. I opted for a large veg box (original) and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Large veg box Wk 17

I was very keen to test out a salad recipe that my sister in law served up last weekend for lunch and everyone was bowled over by. It comes for Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem which is one of my favourite cookbooks but I had somehow managed to overlook this recipe. It is a perfect blend of sweet and sour, crunchy and chewy and salads really don’t get much better than that. 1 am sure with its combination of almonds, dates and spinach it has got to be pretty good for you as well.

Spinach Salad with Almonds & Dates

Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds

1 tablespoon wine vinegar
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 ½ ounces dates (100 grams), preferably Medjool, pitted and quartered lengthwise
Salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 grams)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small pitas (about 3 1/2 ounces, or 100 grams), roughly torn into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
½ cup whole unsalted almonds (75 grams), coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons sumac
½ teaspoon chili flakes
5 to 6 ounces baby spinach leaves (150 grams)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put vinegar, onion and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain any residual vinegar and discard. Meanwhile, heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add pita and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring all the time, until pita is golden. Add almonds and continue cooking until pita is crunchy and browned and almonds are toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and mix in sumac, chili flakes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool. When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add dates and red onion, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon juice and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Red Onions

Spinach and Feta Filo Pie

Finally for this week – spinach! The types of spinach available from Riverford vary throughout the year and although they will work with any spinach recipe, the cooking methods will change.

With true spinach or baby spinach it wilts easily and can be cooked without blanching. Simply melt a little butter in the bottom of a heavy based saucepan. Make sure the bottom is coated with butter as it will stop the spinach sticking. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and cover. Steam for a minute or two. Remove the lid and stir. Cook covered for one or two minutes more until all wilted. Tip into a colander, spread out well and allow to drain. Perpetual spinach is actually a chard and from the beet family. It has a much longer season and is easier to grow. This type needs to be blanched in salted boiling water for one to two minutes. Remove and spread out on a dry tea towel to drain. When cool, use the tea towel to squeeze excess water from the spinach. This then should be lightly sautéed with olive oil or butter and seasoned to taste.

Today we are making a Spinach and Feta Pie based on the Greek classic “Spanakopia” and it occurred to me that it could also be easily made using spring or summer greens which I promised you more recipes for. I love this pie, still warm, for lunch with a side salad.

Another way I like to use up my spinach is in Spinach Empanadas. I simply cook the spinach and add some grated Parmesan and salt and pepper. That is it. You can buy ready-made Empanada pastry oinline which comes frozen and you keep in the freezer until wanted just like Filo. I might try experimenting with some different filling for those too as it is a great way of getting vegetables in the kids and they can go in their lunch box too. Cornish pasties are the English version and just as delicious. Let’s face it – anything in good, golden brown, flaky pastry is going to be yum!

Filo and Feta Pie in dish

Spinach and Feta Filo Pie
400-600g spinach
Large knob of butter
4 spring onions
50g freshly grated Parmesan
200g crumbled feta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60 g (2 oz) butter, melted
8 sheets filo pastry

Depending on spinach cook as above. Heat some butter in a heavy-based frying pan and add the shredded spring onions. Cook for a few minutes and then add the drained spinach. Cook for a few minutes to remove all excess water. Season well to taste with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Allow to cool. Add the beaten egg and stir well. Next and the Parmesan and crumbled feta. Preheat the oven to moderate 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly grease a 20 × 30 cm baking dish, preferably metal. Lay 4 sheets of filo pastry on the bottom, brushing between each sheet with a butter. Top with the spinach and cheese mixture. Finally top with the remaining filo sheets making sure each one is well brushed with butter. Brush the top with any of the remaining butter. Bake for about 30 minutes in the bottom of the oven or until the top is golden brown and the bottom is cooked through as well. Cut into pieces and serve warm.

Spinach

Baby Spinach, Wild Rice, Broad Bean, Grilled Asparagus & Courgette Salad with Crispy Onions

Finally for this week, another really delicious salad and a meal in itself. I am back to grilling veg again and although I know that grilling courgettes maybe a bit laborious, I cannot think of a vegetable which is more elevated by this simple process. The rather tasteless courgette absorbs the smoky flavours of the grill and is transformed into something quite exceptional.

The crispy onions are another favourite of mine and are such a marvellous addition to so many dishes. You can make up a batch and they will keep crispy for up to a week in an air-tight container. The oil, which you can re-use each time you make a batch, also serves as a delicious dressing and gets more intense the more times you re-use it.

I love adding a couple of handfuls of shelled broad beans to my salads. Their pale green colour so quintessentially says “spring” so get them whilst you can because along with the asparagus, they will be finishing soon.

I love the chewy texture and nutty taste of Wild Rice and it is super good for you too. It is a little hard to get hold of so stock up on it when you see it because it is one of my salad ingredient staples.

Crispy Onions

Crispy Fried Onions

Thinly slice a few large onions. Cut off the top end of the onion and peel the rest of it. Slice as thin as possible. A Mandolin is really good for this or you can use a food processor. Place a saucepan on a high heat and add about an inch of vegetable oil. You don’t want to use too much oil as the more intense the flavour the better. Heat the oil to 180⁰C using a thermometer. Add the onions slowly and deep fry until light golden brown. Be careful not to burn, stirring regularly, especially in the corners where the onions will cook most quickly. Remove with a slotted spoon, straight into a colander lined with kitchen paper over a bowl. Break up any clumps and leave to crisp up. Season lightly with salt. When cool pour the oil into a bottle for further use.

Courgette, Asparagus & Broad Bean Salad

Baby Spinach, Wild Rice, Broad Bean, Grilled Asparagus & Courgette Salad with Crispy Onions

Serves 2 as a main

A Couple of handfuls of baby spinch (washed)

200g broad beans

1 bunch asparagus

50g Wild Rice (try Tilda)

2 courgettes

Crispy fried onions (see above)

Olive oil

Sea salt

First put your rice in a saucepan with plenty of cold water and a good pinch of salt. Boil gently for about 20 minutes until pleasantly chewey to eat. Drain. Meanwhile put another pan of water on the boil. Snap amy woody end off the asparagus and drissel with a little olive oil and sea salt. Slice the cougette into flat ribbons. A mandolin is brilliant for this, otherwise use a sharp knife. The slices should be about the thickness of a £1. Heat your grill or light you BBQ. Once the water is boiling add the shelled broad bean and boil for about 2 minutes. Drain and immediately refresh in cold water. Whilst you are grilling the courgettes and the asparagus, slip the broad beans out of their skins. Put the drained rice in a large bowl and add a tablespoon of the onion oil and a large pinch of salt. Taste it and notice how the flavour has come alive. Add the spinach and broad beans and gently mix. Tip onto plates and pile the courgettes and the asparagus (cut into 3cm lenghths) on top and finish with some crispy onions.

Asparagus