Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


'Would you like a snow pea?' he asked. 'Why, thank you!' she replied.

I'd never grown snow peas before.

Last year in the front garden bed we had a row of carrots. They didn't grow, and they took all winter to do it. They sulked and took up space that could have yielded something more useful than hard orange sticks good only for horses to chew. My fault of course. Probably didn't feed them enough. I'd heard of horse carrots when I was a child. Always wondered what they were. (Always wondered what those warning signs on the back of horse floats meant, as well. Caution horses, the signs used to read. I asked my father. He told me they were very careful horses, never bucked or shied.)

So no more carrots. (And never believe your father when he has a smile playing about his lips.) We planted snow peas in winter instead. They grew, and they started sprouting snow peas a month ago. The vine winds about a simple three-sided pyramid of three stakes meeting at the top. The pods come out and dangle like earrings, or decorations on a Christmas tree. The boys have been picking them and they break off with a satisfying snap. Much more satisfying than digging up horse carrots. I've been finding them all over the garden and in their clothes. I was in Vipond's paint shop last week with the boys when William pulled two snow peas out of his pocket and offered them to the lady behind the counter. She accepted them graciously. Thomas was busying himself with the pantone colour cards at the time. Shades of green.


Pasta with spring vegetables in a cream sauce heavily infused with garlic.

Cook half a 500g pack of linguine. Add a cup of florets of broccoli two minutes from end of cooking and a cup of snow peas half a minute from end of cooking, then drain.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, to some warmed olive oil add half a cup of white wine, plenty of black pepper, and two scored cloves of garlic. Cook without burning garlic, and then add half a cup of sliced button mushrooms and an avocado sliced into segments. Cover and cook gently for three minutes. Remove lid, add a tablespoonful or more of cream. Reduce.

Drain pasta and green vegetables and place into serving bowls. Pour creamy mushroom and avocado sauce over. Add parmesan and chopped parsley.

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