Nelson the Spider

Nelson on One of His Midnight Web Making Missions

Just a really really quick (and slightly pointless) post about Nelson, our spider.

We haven’t seen him for a few day but I would like to thank him for all of the fun that he gave us whilst he was making his web. For anyone that doesn’t like spiders watching them at their work is amazing, plus Nelson was a bit of a character. Here are a few pictures of him and his work.

Nelson's Work in the Morning Dew - Fabulous!

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Tomato Pasta Sauce

In my garden I always grow tomatoes. One of the reasons that I grow them is because they are relatively easy but also because so often you find the supermarket ones kept in the fridge. It seems crazy to me to buy a tomato that has been in the fridge as putting them in the there fundamentally changes their texture. They get that nasty cotton wool like texture which completely ruins my enjoyment.

Anyway, one of the issues with growing tomatoes is what to do when they all become ripe. I always sew too many, it doesn’t matter how much I try to stop myself I simply can’t resist growing at least two varieties; this year Gardeners Delight an easy cherry and Sungold a golden cherry both suitable for ripening in the English sunshine or lack there of. Obviously you can make a tomato salad but this sauce makes something more substantial and can easily be made in 20 minutes.

Sungold & Gardeners Delight Tomatoes

Recipe: Tomato Pasta Sauce

Summary: Simple fresh pasta sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Tin of Anchovies
  • 400g Fresh Tomatoes
  • Dried Pasta – 60g per Person
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • Pinch of Chilli Flakes (optional)
  • Handful of Basil Leaves
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. In a shallow pan (I use my big sautéing pan which is a bit like a flat bottom wok) on a gentle heat melt the anchovies.
  2. Add the tomatoes, roughly chopped. Cook for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes break down. There will be a lot of juice that comes out of the tomatoes which will reduced and create an intensely tomatoey sauce.
  3. In a pan of boiling, well salted water add the pasta shape of your choice – for me it really depends on my mood and what I have in the cupboard.
  4. Add the garlic and chilli to the tomatoes, reduce the heat and cook until the pasta is ready. If your sauce becomes a bit dry add a little of the pasta water to loosen it.
  5. Just before you are going to serve add the torn basil leaves and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. I am currently using a peppery one from Puglia in the south of Italy.

Spaghetti with a Tomato Pasta Sauce

Quick notes

This tomato sauce is the starting point for so many of the traditional sauces. In fact by adding the chilli it goes from a simple pomadoro to arribatta.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

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Courgette Pasta Recipe

This is one of the many recipes that I have devised to use up the massive glut of courgettes that you get in the summer time (if you grow them yourself or even if you have a veg box).

The inspiration came from the classic Italian pasta dish of broccoli and anchovies but I have added some dill to give it an additional dimension. In my mind there is no need to have any cheese with this dish but of course you can add it if you wish. At the weekend I will cook the onions for longer but during the week I don’t have over 30 minutes to wait for the onions to soften. To speed it up, I will cook them on a slightly higher heat and accept that they won’t have dissolved into a sweet puree and move on.

Romanesco and Gold Rush Varieties - Grown from Seed

Recipe: Courgette Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Tin of Anchovies
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Courgettes – Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Clove of Garlic – Finely Chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dill – Roughly Chopped
  • Dried Pasta – I like Orecchiette but any shape will do

Instructions

  1. Add the anchovies, with their oil, into a pan on a gentle heat.
  2. Soften the onions in the melting anchovies with a lid on for about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sliced courgette and garlic, stir thoroughly and replace the lid. Cook for a further 15 minutes on a low heat.
  4. Put the pasta into plenty of rapidly boiling salted water; this should take about 10 minutes.
  5. Keep stirring the courgettes, after the pasta has been cooking for 5 minutes add a ladle of the pasta water to the courgette mixture. The pasta water helps to stop the courgettes drying out and also brings the flavours of the sauce together.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, strain it and drizzle with extra virgin oil in its colander. Make sure that you put colander over the cooking pan to catch any of the starchy oil.
  7. Tip the pasta into courgette mix, add the dill. If it’s a bit dry, add some of the starchy oil in the cooking pan and some additional olive oil.

Quick notes

You can speed this dish up by putting the heat up and stirring constantly. It won’t be as subtle as if you have cooked it slowly, but it will be lovely all the same. I use a mix of varieties of courgettes as that is what I grow. I do believe that they do have more flavour than the shop bought ones but they do work as well.

Variations

I sometimes add some other greens, like broccoli or kale, into this. It also works well if you add a little bit of chilli at the beginning, not to make it spicy but to give it a subtle kick.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 – 60 minute(s)

Diet type: Pescatarian

Number of servings (yield): 2

Culinary tradition: Italian

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Pumpkins

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