When I got home from work I was feeling too bone idle to walk to the supermarket, which is pretty lazy considering that it takes me less than 30 seconds to get from my back gate to the supermarket entrance. Instead I pottered about the garden picking a few handfuls of bits and bobs that took my fancy. Although the peas are definitely past their best, the sugar snaps which I planted a bit later (probably mid May) are in their prime, and I also got the very first climbing french beans. I thought I’d only planted a purple podded variety but obviously I was wrong.
I also picked some Little Gem and Lollo Rosso leaves and a small bunch each of Moroccan Mint (which I think is the best flavour in things like salads), flat leaf parsley and coriander leaves. Last week when I looked the coriander was still too small and weedy to pick, this week its all going up to seed. I think there must be less than a day when its just right.
Sugar snap, bean and feta salad (for 2)
100g Giant Couscous (wholemeal variety) or Bulghar wheat
100g feta cheese – cubed
1 small courgette
small handful of french beans
handful of sugar snap peas
handful of broad beans (podded)
small bunch of fresh herbs – eg mint, parsley, coriander
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 fresh red chilli
Boil the Giant Couscous according to the time on the packet, but about 5-7 minutes. You want it to have a bit of bite left. Drain and set to one side to cool for a minute.
I have to admit that the reason I used the Giant Couscous was that I’d bought several packs a couple of months previously and the kids wouldn’t touch it – they said it looked and tasted like frog spawn. I like it, but I think that the dish would work just as well with bulghar wheat.
Blanche the broad beans, french beans and sugar snaps in boiling water for about a minute and then drain and refresh in cold water so they keep their lovely green colour. Chop the courgette into thin julienne/matchsticks. Don’t cook the courgette. Chop the herbs. I always use the parsley and coriander stems too, finely chopped, which are delicious, but not the mint stems.
When it’s cooled down a bit, drizzle about a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the Giant Couscous. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Add the beans and sugar snaps, courgette and herbs. Add the cubed feta and the lemon juice. Gently toss together to coat the herbs and feta with the oil and lemon juice. Chop a little fresh red chilli and sprinkle over the top. Serve.
It’s also nice to add some gently toasted and crushed hazlenuts to the top at the end. If you’re doing this you could substitute the olive oil for hazlenut oil or, even better, the delicious Kentish Cobnut Oil from Hurstwood Farm which won Supreme Champion at the 2010 Great Taste Awards.