Posts Tagged 'rocket'

broadbean, pea, pecorino salad & tiltshift photography

the internet taught me how to do tiltshift photography. so from this day on everything will be tiltshifted. as evidenced in the above image, im still not quite sure what it is that i am doing, or meant to be doing, or, for that matter, what the result is. but, as far as i can see its pretty bright and thats pretty good. but enough about the technicalities of what i do. suffice to say, im a creative person and i see things from a slightly tiltshifted point of view. no ordinary photographer me. so onto beans and peas and all things green. im not big into community but it appears i have seamlessly and entirely unwittingly slipped into the david jones community. i chatted to a cheese maker about the weather and she told me, as we parted ways, to enjoy my weekend and my pecorino. i spoke at length with a large man about the joys of shelled peas and we both agreed, you just cant shell them fast enough. when i went to purchase my broadbeans i was given a recipe for felafel with broadbeans and was promised by a bright young thing that next time i was in the “neighbourhood” she would bring me some felafel mix made by her mother. and i left feeling somewhat of a more social, more human, and mainly more tired being. and thats what i am prepared to go though to make a salad the likes of this. tiltshifting this salad was only the icing on a very delicious cake.


bunch of rocket, or spinach or whatevs

bunch of basil

250g fresh peas

500g broad beans (peeled – only takes an hour or two – boiling water for a minute. then under ice cold water for a minute. then the skins will peel slowly and tediously off, one after another after another)

1 avocado sliced

1 clove of garlic

salt, pepper

olive oil

finely shaved pecorino

first mix peas and broad beans together in a bowl. i actually cooked about a third of them (in a pan with some butter and finely chopped garlic) and mixed it in with the fresh stuff. it makes for textual interest. tear off some basil and put it in the bowl. throw in the sliced avocado. mix together with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.

arrange some rocket on a plate –

place peas, beans and avocado atop

shave some pecorino over the top. and voila

heres a tiltshifted one – yes… i went too far. i always do.


carrot, chicpea, rocket salad

what did i just say? something about no more dinner proper…or something. and yet i couldnt help myself. because of the disappointment and accusations that ensued but mainly on account of my stumbling upon some lovely unseasonal summer carrots, with all the colours of a strange rainbow. and i was drawn to them, like a hungry moth to the flame of a blow torch. once i had them in my cold little hands, what to do with them became the next pressing question. indecision is rife around here, so too self-doubt and a general sense of uncertainty. but come on, theyre just fucking carrots. so i looked in my overflowing, ill-designed pantry and i happened upon some chickpeas. carrots and chickpeas – cant go wrong. i had some garlic floating around (sounds ethereal…it was actually closer to approaching its expiry date..but i picked that little linguistic nugget up from my stories, what taught me all i know.) so i took my floating garlic, picked up some rocket, and decided to roast my carrots and throw it in with the rest. and so i did.


500g summer carrots

4 cloves garlic whole

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

few sprigs of thyme

salt and pepper

couple handfuls of rocket

can of chickpeas rinsed and drained

1/2 red onion finely chopped

couscous – to serve with if you feel it necessary

pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. prepare your carrots. this was unexpectedly laborious and caused a great deal of physical pain. these carrots are too little for peeling so they need a good scrub.

put them into a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. then lay them on a roasting tray. i put a little balsamic over the purple ones. maybe because they reminded me of beetroots. but it worked – they are a little rough and can be bitter…balsamic it helps them find their way to sweetness

they will need 20 minutes in the oven, after which time, take them out and turn them around. put them back for another ten minutes. then remove and set aside

then in a separate bowl – make your salad. throw in some rocket, the chickpeas and the onion. people seem to have an aversion to raw onion. i have developed something of a penchant for its intensity and its capacity to overwhelm. you can leave it out but the carrots are quite sweet, the chickpeas have a sort of mild stogy quality and the onion is quite sharp and lifts it right back up. give it some olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to combine. add your hot carrots – careful not to break them and and serve warm.

what was sexy in its origins – became kind of unappealing looking. it tasted delicious. but just so we dont have to end on a poo-brown note, may i remind you all of its aesthetic roots:

mushroom, hazelnut and thyme salad

this was initially conceived of as a mushroom, hazelnut and thyme salad. but as i wandered through the supermarket i happened, fortuitously upon chestnuts. i have a very long and involved history with the chestnut. for one parisian year, they were my lifeblood. my first point of call in italy was a place known as “the chestnut village”. apparently i had just missed the annual chestnut festival, which invoked images of chestnut strewn streets, chestnut songs and dances, chestnuts falling whimsically (not hazardously) from the sky, chestnuts roasted… all things chestnut – good and great. it was with a profound sadness, and heavy boots that i left the village empty handed. i vowed never to miss an opportunity for chestnuts again. so what choice did i have? sure this salad already had a nut, and a fine nut at that, but could the addition of chestnuts hurt? overwhelm, yes. but hurt, certainly not. and so it was that this salad found its hook. and so it was that this blog became unremittingly beautiful and autumnal.


500g mushrooms (whatever you can get. if you are privileged enough to live in the land where the names of mushrooms all end in -ini you will be better off. if you live in the land where “field” and “portabellos” are the best you can do, then let the melancholy pass and accept that that will just have to be good enough)

spinach and rocket

1 shallot finely sliced

1 clove of garlic finely sliced

couple sprigs of thyme

4 tbsp olive oil

1tbsp balsamic vinegar

30g butter

salt and pepper

couple handfuls of hazelnuts toasted and roughly chopped

handful of chestnuts roasted and roughly chopped

first preheat the oven to 180 degrees and toast the hazelnuts. if you are using chestnuts as well the best way i know to roast them is first score the rounded side (so they dont explode…kind of an important step) and put them in a fry pan with a sprinkle of cold water. toss them round every now and then. once they have blackened a bit take them off the stove. peel the skins off. then put the chestnuts into the oven (alongside the hazelnuts if you like that kind of efficient use of space and time) and toast until golden.

then make a dressing using half the shallots, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. mix this to combine and set aside.

in a fry pan put a knob of butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. when the butter starts to foam, throw in your mushrooms. then put in the garlic and some thyme leaves. cook until softened…about 5 minutes. season well with salt and pepper and put in another knob of butter and toss to coat the mushrooms – it makes them shiny. (at this point, i put in the pre-roasted chestnuts in to absorb some of the garlicy, buttery, mushroomy juice…unorthodox but spectacular.)

once your mushrooms are done put your green leaves on a plate and get your ingredients together. toss the rocket in some of the dressing and scatter over some more shallots. pour over the mushrooms and tumble the hazelnuts atop. its autumn and its beautiful.

grilled asparagus, zucchini and haloumi salad

it got very cold very suddenly. as a wind-swept fellow who had just had his hood blown off once said “the worst thing about the cold is the wind makes your hat fall off”. i would add to that that the other worst thing about the cold is the cold itself. and that sense, if your a paranoid neurotic, that death is never far off. and pretty though the wintering may be, decay, darkness and a ruinous landscape can wear a girl down. and so, after the first sign of chilblains appeared and the fear began that i may have contracted some fatal illness and would slowly degenerate into a reclusive, ranting, choleric-psychotic, i quickly learned that the only means i had to offset my inevitable fate was the oven. it was put to me that it would be socially and environmentally irresponsible to use the oven as a source of heat, turned on full, with the door open. so my only recourse was to fill the oven with food – a perpetual and unrelenting procession of food. food which would also provide fuel for the broken biological furnace. for my secondary source of heat, i looked to the stove. investing in a griddle pan which i knew, from my learnings and readings, needed to be searing hot. and finally i looked to a recipe which would enable use of all these mechanisms – and this is what i found. grilled asparagus. grilled zucchini. grilled haloumi. and roasted cherry tomatoes. massacring hundreds of birds with one giant culinary stone. held together with some basil oil (unfortunately the basil oil needs to be made in a blender which produces little to no heat…but if you touch the base after the wizzing you will find a little residual warmth from the friction). in the timeless words of jaffar “desperate times call for desperate measures”.

nb. for joy: cooking times may vary depending on competence. this salad requires a lot of preparation. most of which can be done while the tomatoes are roasting in the oven (for 50 minutes)…so i would say an hour is a good approximation. but let us remember the famous words of leo tolstoy who once said “dont quote me”.

i should also add that this recipe was largely lifted from the ottolenghi cookbook which was sent from heaven…and from heaven to me and from me to you. with love and mainly warmth.


2 bunches asparagus

2 zucchinis sliced lengthways

1 punnet cherry tomatoes

couple handfuls of rocket

1 garlic clove

150g haloumi

…and for the basil oil

1 bunch of basil leaves

75ml olive oil

1 garlic clove chopped

salt and pepper

first preheat the oven to 170 degrees. put tomatoes with one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and a garlic clove in a bowl and toss to combine. lay these skin side down on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 50 minutes.

next put the asparagus in a pot of boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. then remove and drain and immediately rinse with cold water until they are cold to the touch. put the asparagus in a mixing bowl and toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. then place the asparagus on a very very hot griddle pan and grill for a few minutes.

slice the zucchini lengthways, preferably with a mandolin and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. then grill on griddle pan over high heat.

then make the basil oil. put all the ingredients into a blender and blend to combine. taste for seasoning and you might need to add more olive oil depending on the capacity of your blender. some are very limited

finally grill the haloumi on the hot griddle pan. you can make a cross pattern if you have that sort of mathematical mind or a presentationally inclined. then combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. drizzle over some of the basil oil – however much you see fit.

and then serve. i think its good with couscous because most things are. similarly, as always, some pine nuts will elevate this textually to a different level altogether. if you are iron deficient on account of a vegetarian lifestyle you never chose and need some red flesh you can go to your local meat providore and pick up a steak…something i admit to knowing little to nothing about but my photographer will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have relating to steak and the cooking therein thereof (as well as any techincal difficulties you may have…with anything at all…unless of course he is busy in his mind incubation process, in which case you should probably just slowly walk away.)