Peas, please, for a quick and easy treat

Va­lerie O’con­nor says peas are easy to grow — shove them in soil and give them some­thing to hold, wa­ter them well, and watch them go

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - | In The Garden -

If you love to grow your own food, even a few herb pots, this time of year will blow your mind. About two weeks ago, I planted, ab­sent­mind­edly, a cou­ple of rows of radishes in my lit­tle vegetable bed and was be­side my­self with ex­cite­ment when I saw their per­fect lit­tle plump red globes sit­ting hap­pily on soil, push­ing them­selves out as if to say: “Hey pick me! I’m ready.”

Pluck­ing a per­fect radish and wip­ing off the dirt be­fore bit­ing into it’s juicy heaven, is one of the rea­sons why grow­ing your own is just so sat­is­fy­ing. My rows of pur­ple peas are heavy with fat­ted pods, weigh­ing them­selves down from their stag­ger­ing heights and beg­ging, like cows wait­ing to be milked, for their peas to be plucked.

If you don’t pluck the ready pods, the plants stop flow­er­ing and no more peas will come, this is when hu­mans and na­ture have to work to­gether, as it has al­ways been, to cre­ate har­mony and to help to make de­li­cious, nu­tri­tious food. The broad beans have me wait­ing, twid­dling my thumbs while I oth­er­wise trawl my cook­book ar­chives and the cor­ners of my cook ob­ses­sive mind for fu­ture recipes.

Cour­gettes are spring­ing up and need lit­tle more than a gen­tle sauté in olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. You can add them to an omelette or pasta, but deep-fry­ing the bat­tered flow­ers is the best. Peas are so easy to grow, too, just shove them into the soil and give them some­thing to hold onto. Wa­ter them well and off they go.

Sit­ting at the kitchen table with a mas­sive bowl of freshly picked veg is a great time for chats. Peo­ple of any age be­come en­chanted by pod­ding peas and hear­ing the pop­ping sound. I used all the pea shells to make a light stock which turned blue at first be­fore set­tling into a some­what grim shade of brown. The flavour was del­i­cate and fresh how­ever, and in­spired my sec­ond recipe for an easy mine­strone.

Sum­mer, whether the weather says so or not, is an op­por­tu­nity to eat lighter food and en­joy the huge va­ri­ety of greens we have avail­able to us right now. If you don’t have a veg patch, you can get great fresh and or­ganic veg at lo­cal mar­kets, once you know that the per­son stand­ing there has grown them them­selves, or at least knows their ori­gin. If you don’t have a ton of fresh peas, frozen peas are one of the best con­ve­nience foods. 50-70g green pesto — use a cheese-free cashew ver­sion if you’re go­ing dairy free

Black pep­per

Lemon

Method:

Cook the spaghetti ac­cord­ing to the packet in­struc­tions, al­ways in well-salted wa­ter and, a minute be­fore cook­ing time is up, add the peas and broc­coli and cook for one minute.

Drain ev­ery­thing through a colan­der being care­ful to save some of the cook­ing liq­uid.

Stir in the pesto, ad­ding about 50ml of the cook­ing wa­ter, this will help the pesto to turn into a lovely unc­tu­ous sauce.

Add in the spinach leaves and give it all a good stir.

Give a cou­ple of turns on the pep­per mill over ev­ery­thing and a squeeze of lemon juice to lift the flavours. En­joy with a nice glass of white and some more greens in a side salad.

Pic­ture: Va­lerie O’con­nor

A bumper crop from just one pick­ing

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