One of the joys to come out of the Winter veggie patch were our fresh baby peas. Sweet and crunchy they were good enough to simply shell and eat raw. We wanted however to share an ‘unusual’ side of dish of peas and lettuce that is popular in France and our table, and goes fantastically with roast chicken or fish accompanied by something white and sharp.
2 – 3 handfuls of freshly shelled peas
1 brown onion (diced finely)
100gms of pancetta (cut into strips) *note that bacon or lardons will also work
1 iceberg lettuce (washed, cored and shredded)
2 cups of good quality chicken stock
Handful of mint
Good knob of butter
Step 1 Melt butter with a little olive oil in a heavy based fry pan over a medium heat.
Step 2 Add onions and pancetta and cook until onions are soft.
Step 3 Adds peas, mix and then add stock and bring to the simmer. Reduce by a third. Season with some white pepper *note pancetta and the stock are salty so there may be no need to add additional salt.
Step 4 Add lettuce and mint. Mix through the warm stock. Cook for 1 min until lettuce begins to welt.
Step 5 Ladle into a serving bowl (including broth) to be eaten immediately.
As autumn approached the last of the summer veggies were removed – including our fabulous and abundant tomatoes. Left with a few kilos of green tomatoes we decided to try our hand at a chutney in anticipation of ploughman’s lunches.
Outlined below is our very simple recipe – brought together from various sources and best attempted with a glass of wine in hand. Lots of old jars are required.
2kg of green tomatoes (chopped – cut the small ones in half and the bigger ones into quarters)
*note we used a mix of varieties including cherry, yellow pear, black Russian and mortgage lifter
2 brown onions (chopped)
3 green apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
1½ cups brown sugar
2½ cups of malt vinegar
½ cup of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons of mixed spice
2 tablespoons of mustard seeds (yellow)
2 red chilli (finely sliced)
Step 1 Mix together all ingredients in a heavy based pot.
Step 2 Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer to between 1 – 1½ hours. The chutney should be thick with very little excess liquid.
Step 3 Spoon the hot chutney into the sterilised jars. Seal. Cool. Refrigerate.
The chutney should keep for 3+ months and will last for up to a month after opening if refrigerated.
The jars can be sterilised a number of ways (google will help) – we found heating them in a 120 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes the easiest.