Sunday, 29 April 2012

We love herbs

And Americans don't get them.

At least, the Americans we lived with in the first term of uni didn't. But I LOVE HERBS, and hence on our kitchen window-sill there is a large plastic pot containing basil, parsley, mint and coriander.

The Hunny pot is our watering can.

It's a family trait I think. As well as making everything taste better there's a certain pride about cooking with something that you've looked after, if not grown from scratch because you're a student with no space/money/resources. I have such big plans for the garden in our house next year...

My favourite at the moment is parsley, which is why I have a GIANT pot of that. And also why I invented a new recipe a couple of weeks ago that uses shed-loads of it. It's basically my take on a cream and white wine pasta sauce, but it sure is yummy.

- 2/3 shallots or 1 onion
- 1 large clove of garlic (because garlic is amazing)
- 3/4 baby leeks, or 1 small normal-sized
- decent handful of french beans
- large glass of white wine (plus one to drink - chef's perk)
- half a stock pot*
- 150ml double cream, or to taste
- 1/2 handfuls of fresh parsley
- salt and pepper

*I like using half of one of those posh Knorr vegetable stock pots, which gives a lovely fresh flavour without being too strong. An OXO cube would be fine, but I'm lucky enough to have several boxes of these which my mum sent down in a food parcel. Thanks Mum :D

Stick some olive oil in a sauce pan and melt a knob of butter (adding the oil first will stop the butter from burning). Add your shallots, baby leeks and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the beans. Cook until they're starting to colour a little and smelling pretty good - about 8 minutes - then add the wine and let it simmer down a bit (about 5 minutes).

Next add your stock pot/cube, the cream and half the parsley so the flavours can infuse. This will take quite a little to reduce and thicken, so now's a good time to drink your own glass of wine and have a dance around the kitchen.

When you're happy with the consistency and the amount of sauce you have add your seasoning - I think it's important to taste with this recipe to get it spot on. Add the rest of the parsley, and voila!

I think this is best served with some sort of ravioli, and something bready like garlic dough balls to get all the sauce at the end. Parmesan (real cheese, not the weird pot stuff that claims to be vegan) finishes it off beautifully.

And a word to the wise, never leave your herbs unattended with Americans around. It's just not worth it.

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