This is a recipe based on one by Anna Jones in her wonderful book Modern Way to Eat recommended to me by my friend Matthew who is one of the most health conscious people I know.
It’s coming to the end of winter as I write. Today was a bright, sunny but cold day and I suspect I went all summery with my food a tad early as when it came time to eat, this didn’t really hit the right note. But I suspect come summer, this will make a great light dinner.
The biggest mistake I made was to add chilli. Chilli and I don’t get along, but I am making an effort to try new things, so dutifully chopped a very small piece of chilli into even smaller very small pieces. The first mouthful I took sent vapours coursing through my nasal passages and down my throat, leaving me in a blind panic and gasping for breath. Once my heart was beating at a relatively normal rate again, I had to pick through the bowl and remove all other tiny red blobs until the bowl was chilli-free.
I think it may be time to admit defeat on the raw chilli front, but I will continue to add it in small doses to recipes where it’ll become part of a subtler, bigger flavour picture, rather than in this instance where it provided a very unsubtle and painful focal point.
Grated courgette – not had it before. Liked it a lot but would be even better in summer. Possibly actually doing this with cooled pasta too, rather than hot – making it more of a chilled dish I think could work.
What to use:
Pasta – whatever you fancy, 100g per person
Herbs – I used a bunch made up of some mint, basil and parsley
Juice of half a lemon (use up to juice of a whole lemon if cooking for more than one)
50g feta cheese (200g if cooking for 4)
a courgette – grated – a courgette per person
cherry tomatoes – 4 per person, halved
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
How to use it
Grate the courgette into a bowl, then add the herbs, lemon juice, chilli (if you want it), crumbled feta, tomatoes and a table spoon (or two if catering for more) into a bowl and mix.
Cook your pasta, drain, put back into the pan and add all the other ingredients and mix.
The ingredients I didn’t add were salt and pepper. As ever, I am trying not to add salt to my cooking, and in all honestly pepper is a new thing for me and I simply forgot it. The dish really suffered as a result, even though I’d included super sweet tomatoes into the mix in an attempt to add variety and depth (they weren’t in Anna’s original version).
I think that a lack of salt is going to be a recurring issue with vegetarian cooking. When cooking with meat or fish, a lot of flavour comes from them automatically, and you can usually get away without adding salt without much impact on flavour or enjoyment, as long as you use herbs, spices, lemon juice or garlic etc. For example I cook a lot with salmon or prawns and I never need (or miss) salt when cooking with them.
This is a perfectly nice pasta dish but just a bit too bland for me – though would perhaps be perfect for a chilli lover.
Mmm rating: mm (for me at least)
Cost per person: £3
Calories: around 450
What to listen to: Jimi Hendrix – All along the watchtower
What to watch: The perennial Withnail & I (that trailer is appalling!)