There’s been a wet start to the longest day here. The rain has stopped now, but the flowers are all looking a bit soggy. I’m growing a lot of annual flowers this year – filling a whole border and then any other spaces I could find in the garden with them. The idea is that they will attract bees and other insects, and provide plenty of cut flowers too. That’s one of the great things about annuals, the more you cut them, the more they just keep on flowering. It’s when you let them flower and set seed that they feel their mission in life is accomplished, and stop bothering to flower any more. Cutting flowers to put in a vase is just like deadheading them, only a little in advance. I’ve been cutting a few sweet peas over the past few weeks. Even just four or fives stems in a bunch, combined with sweet rocket and some applemint for greenery, have scented a room and generally prettied things up. And now the first cornflowers – the lovely dark purple ‘Black Ball’, are starting to flower too.
In the vegetable patch it’s still mainly just herbs that I’m picking to use, almost every day. The self seeded parsley is slowly taking over as much space as possible, and the best method of control seems to be eating it. No one has said anything yet, but it’s only a matter of time before they start asking if we really need to have parsley with every meal. Soon though, it won’t just be the herbs – there are peas nearly ready to harvest and the broad beans aren’t far off either. The courgettes are coming along nicely too – the plants are flowering well, and a couple of very small courgettes are forming.
When I read about the ingredients for this month’s Recipes for Life challenge, I was hoping that the courgettes would be ready for harvesting sooner, so that I’d be able to use some home grown veg in my recipe. The three ingredients for June are salmon, pasta and courgette. But with time running out, I resorted to buying courgettes and used them, along with lots of herbs and a lime dressing, to make a warm pasta salad. Being a vegetarian, I don’t eat salmon… so I asked nicely and Vanesther kindly agreed to allow me to enter a recipe, just so long as it could easily be made with salmon too. And as far as I can see, there’s absolutely no reason why you couldn’t add some cooked salmon to the pasta in this recipe, along with the vegetables and herbs. On those grounds, this is my entry for June’s Recipes for Life run by Vanesther on behalf the charity Swallow.
Warm pasta salad with courgette & herbs
2 medium courgettes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tsp red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
16 baby plum tomatoes, cut in half
8 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
a big handful of fresh herbs, roughly chopped (I used parsley and coriander)
salt and pepper
30g parmesan, finely sliced
Wash and cut the ends off each courgette, then cut them into slices about ½ cm thick. Heat the oil in large frying pan, add the courgettes and cook on a medium heat until the slices are tender and browned. Add the chilli and the lime juice, stir and cook for a couple of minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and add the halved tomatoes, spring onions and herbs. Stir to mix everything together.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for as long as the packet recommends. While the pasta is cooking, cut the avocado in half, take out the stone and take the skin off the flesh. Roughly chop the avocado and stir it into the courgette and tomato mixture.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and put it back into the pan. Add the courgette and tomato mixture to the pan and stir them through the pasta. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper if it’s needed.
Tip the pasta into a serving bowl. Scatter the sliced parmesan over the top and serve.