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Crash, bang, simmer, sizzle

I'm squatting at my parents' home while they're away. So far it could be going better. Yesterday half of the lights in the house stopped working, along with the WINE FRIDGE. Quel horreur (though dad will be relieved as I'll be much less tempted to crack into a bottle of his Viognier). After a (nearly fatal) electric shock from a metal light switch I twigged that the apocalyptic thunderstorms the previous day must have blown a fuse. Thinking on my feet, I downloaded a free torch app and headed to the basement. I found the guilty trip switch and tripped it right back.

Then the beeping started.

After a few red herrings I found the be entirely honest I can't for the life of me tell what it is. It looks like it might be a garbage disposal system but there's something of the Home Alone washing machine monster about it. All bendy tubes and flashing lights. A warning message is telling me to replace the 'lamp'. Though I can't see a lamp. I ponder for a moment and close the cupboard. Looks like a job for dad. I can still hear the beeping from upstairs, through a closed door. Only 5 days till they're back, could be worse!

Oh. It is worse. The OVEN isn't working, though this is sadly nothing to do with the fuse box. They bought a new one last week and the man hasn't been round yet to install it. He's promised to drop in at some point before their return. Perfect.

At least at this time of year it's a cinch to create a banquet on the hob. Tonight SAS (by name, by nature) is coming over for a quiet dinner. We were both at #gsandsb's wedding last weekend and are still in recovery. Four days of wine, cheese and revelry have taken their toll. We all needed a honeymoon to get back on our feet but sadly the first class trip to Indonesia was only booked for two.

Something fresh and summery with a festive reminiscence. Greens, citrus and ice.

Pea and broad bean risotto

For two, takes 40 minutes

main / vegetarian / vegan / easy peasy / spring / summer / gluten free / dairy free / date night / on a budget

Here's a zesty and summery risotto. If you want something lighter, substitute quinoa for the rice, and reduce the cooking time by about 10 minutes. For something more unctuous, add a spoonful of mascarpone cream before serving.

Pea and broad bean risotto

Onion - 1, peeled and diced

Olive oil

Garlic - 2 cloves, peeled and sliced

Risotto rice - 1 cup

Chicken stock (or vegetable) - 2 cups

Broad beans - 1kg unpodded or 2 large handfuls podded

Peas - 500g unpodded or 2 small handfuls podded*

Lemon - zest of 1, juice of 1/2

Parsley - a big handful, chopped

Mint - a few leaves, sliced

Parmesan - to serve

Fry the onion in a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of water until soft and caramelised. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the rice and stir to combine. Then add the stock along with plenty of salt and pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Add the broad beans and cook for another 5 minutes (if most of the liquid has already evaporated by this point, add a little extra water). Add the rest of the ingredients and cook for another few minutes, until the peas are tender. Taste for seasoning and serve with freshly grated parmesan and a crack of black pepper.

* Sus was my sus-chef tonight. She expressed surprise at my instructions to pod the beans and peas, and said that earlier this week she had served boiled broad beans to her long suffering Ben IN THEIR PODS ("we thought they were a little tough but I told him to be thankful for the extra fibre"). She then picked up a pea pod and said "oh, I know you can eat these" and tried to take a bite out of it. That's a sugar snap you're thinking of. Sugar snap. I suppose when you buy everything pre-podded from Waitrose this is understandable. Or is it?

Lemon curd with raspberry granita

For two, worryingly, takes 40 minutes, plus chilling time

dessert / gluten free / show off / summer / date night

Lemon curd with raspberry granita

I served the lemon curd slightly warm this time as it had just been made. With the ice cold raspberry it was a pretty obscene combination, with a certain childhood birthday party nostalgia. Hence how we managed to polish off the whole lot between two of us.

* Raspberries - 1 punnet

* Sugar - 2 tbsp

* Boiling water - 4 tbsp

* Creme de cassis or other liquor - 2 tbsp

* Lemons - zest and juice of 4*

* Butter - 100g, cut into small pieces

* Sugar - 1/2 cup

* Eggs - 3, plus an extra yolk

Start with the raspberry granita. Mash up the fruit with a fork in a plastic tupper. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a mug and then stir into the raspberries, along with the liqueur. Place in the freezer and whisk every half hour.**

Combine the lemon zest, juice, butter and sugar in a heat proof bowl and set over a pan of just simmering water. Don't let the bowl touch the water and don't have the heat too high.*** Stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl and then add to the lemon mixture. Leave to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. When it's done it will be the consistency of...curd.

Serve the curd in glasses with a couple of spoonfuls of raspberry.

* When you're juicing lemons, always do it through a sieve. It will save you the oh so annoying task of fishing the seeds out of whatever you're making.

** Don't worry if you don't have time to freeze the granita. This is still delicious as a cold puree.

*** Otherwise the eggs will curdle.


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