Hello! I’m back and starting the weekend early with my friends at Loaf and a Spring recipe. Stay a while and read my zesty Spring cocktail and vegan pesto recipes, plus ideas for a simple garden cutting table setting. I used Loaf’s fantastic Wobbler bowls and 100% linen Gigi napkins which become delicately crumpled when used and have a beautiful hemmed border detail.
A long time fan of all things Loaf, I have watched with joy as their collection of comfy stylish home wares has grown from beds to sofas, occasional furniture and so much more. As soon as I saw the new ceramics I knew they would be perfect for relaxed summer dining outdoors. With old jars, gathered herbs, late blooming blossom cuttings and a scrap of vintage lace, I decorated our faithful old table and set two places for dinner out in the fresh air. Bowls of zesty vegan pesto pasta with Spring’s first courgettes and asparagus, and a spiced rum cocktail to unwind.
Zesty rocket and lemon vegan pesto pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 handfuls of washed rocket
A pinch of fresh parsley
2 large garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Juice and zest of half a large lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Twist of black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Bunch of asparagus
1/2 courgette quartered and finely sliced
300g pasta – I used M&S Fiorelli as it’s my new favourite!
1. Cook the pasta for 8-10 minutes in a large pan of salted boiling water until it is al dente.
2. Meanwhile, blanche the asparagus for 2 minutes, drain and pop in an ice bath, then slice into 1 1/2 inch pieces.
3. For the pesto – put the rocket, parsley, garlic, half the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and half the zest, pine nuts, sea salt, black pepper and chilli flakes into a mini food chopper or blender and pulse a couple of times – then scrape down the sides, add the remaining oil and pulse again until everything is fully whizzed up!
4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the courgettes and lightly cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan and stir to break up any clumps and coat with olive oil, add in a tablespoon of boiling water then mix in the pesto. Gently stir in the asparagus to warm through.
5. Serve in pasta bowls and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, a twist of black pepper and a dusting of lemon zest. Delicious hot or cold.Wondering what was in those glasses? It’s a refreshingly sweet and sour – Sailor Jerry Queens Park Swizzle
2 parts Sailor Jerry
1 part lime juice
½ part sugar syrup (I used maple)
6-8 mint leaves
2 dashes angostura bitters
Add all ingredients to a tallish glass and fill with crushed ice.
swizzle* until glass is frosted, and garnish with a mint sprig and a further dash of Angostura bitters.