Thank goodness we didn’t go on holiday this year. It would have been a disaster from a vegetable gardening, cooking and eating perspective.

There were a few moments when I wished I was at the beach or on narrow boat Patience but as I sit down to write this blog post I realise if we had been away for a month many of our carefully planted and nurtured vegetables would have rotted, grown old and unpalatable or been devoured by the birds, snails and slugs.

Instead we have delighted in the fact that all our meals for the last month and a half have been centred around the vegetables we’ve been picking every day. The only vegetables we have bought have been onions, potatoes and garlic.

IMG_1867So what have we produced with these earthly delights?

Some super fresh pasta dishes for a start.

Green Marinara Pasta

Combine seafood  – prawns, calamari and mussels  flash fried in butter – with barely steamed green beans, sautéed courgettes, raw mangetout peas, basil and mint and serve on a bed of fresh tagliatelle with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Double Courgette, Pea and Pesto Pasta

This pasta dish turned out to have quite a few components that came together very festively to create a dinner party of a dish.

  1. Creamy sauce: Bring to the boil about a cup of cream (I think I also threw in about a half a tub of crème fraîche) and the juice and rind of a lemon or two. Reduce until thick and stir in some grated parmesan and a few grindings of black pepper.
  2. Pasta component: Cook the pasta (spaghetti or tagliatelle) in a large pot. When the pasta is just about done throw in a couple of handfuls of julienned courgette. Drain immediately and toss with some mangetout peas and the lemony cream sauce.
  3. Shoestring courgette fries: If you have ever eaten at Tortellino d’Oro in Oaklands, Johannesburg you will surely have tried to replicate the crisp courgette shoestrings that adorn many of their plates. I’d unsuccessfully tried to make them a couple of times but it was not until I googled ‘zucchini shoestrings’ and serendipitously came upon this perfect recipe from Drizzle and Dip – also inspired by Tortellino d’Oro – that I actually succeeded.
  4. Minty pesto: Blend together olive oil, large handfuls of mint and basil, salt and black pepper with a clove or two of garlic. Stir in some grated parmesan or pecorino and a handful or two of ground almonds.
  5. To serve: Pour the hot creamy pasta mix onto a large serving platter. Swirl in a minty pesto and garnish with shoestring courgette fries.