Sunday 12 December 2010

December 2002 - Asparagus with cherry tomatoes, olives & torn bocconcini

It is supposed to be summer here but with the exception of a couple of hot days it certainly doesn't seem like it. Rain, rain and more rain and if it is not raining then it is overcast. The vegetable garden really doesn't appreciate it. There has just been too much rain and not enough sun. My zucchini is covered in powdery mildew. My tomatoes are full of grubs, although the cherry tomatoes are okay. I have gotten 3 small cucumbers so far but the leaves on it are starting to yellow so I am not sure how much longer it is going to survive. It is so disappointing as everything was looking so good initially. It is still early in the season so I am considering pulling out the zucchini and tomato and planting fresh plants to see if I can still get some decent veg this year. 

Rick Stein's Crisp Chinese roast pork with steamed rice sounded really good. Which is a lovely pork belly recipe where the pork flesh is rubbed with a combination of Sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, sea salt flakes, five-spice powder and sugar. Rick does point out the need for a nice layer of fat on the pork so as to produce decent crackling. I have just, tonight, had a lamentable experience with an incredibly lean piece of pork belly. There was barely any fat on it and the crackle, while slightly crunchy, did not do what it was supposed to. The meat turned out dry and stringy. I was really disappointed. Next time I purchase a piece I will make sure to have a bit more of a look at it. I think that my next pork belly recipe will be this easy one from Rick Stein. 

Also marked in this recipe was this wonderful Sweet potato & leek roulade with Xmas stuffing. I couldn't really make it for the blog since I have made it previously. Not only is it a wonderful vegetarian dish for Christmas but it is also a really good side dish at Christmas, or any time really. I highly recommend giving this one a go. 

I have now made the dish from this issue, Asparagus with cherry tomatoes, olives & torn bocconcini, twice this month. The first time was as a side dish where I forgot the bocconcini. I then made it again today as a salad for lunch. It was very good both times. Today, I added some lemon basil in place of the regular basil and added a squeeze of lime juice. This was such an enjoyable and simple dish and worked perfectly as a side dish and as a salad. 

Asparagus with cherry tomatoes, olives & torn bocconcini

Serves 6 (as a side dish)

  • 700 g green & white asparagus, trimmed (I couldn't get white) 
  • 100 ml extra virgin olive oil (I only used a small drizzle) 
  • 200 g red & yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (I just used red) 
  • 200 g black olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 12 basil leaves, chopped 
  • 4 bocconcini, roughly torn
  • Cook asparagus until just cooked but still firm. The recipes says to boil it, I prefer to saute for 5 minutes or steam. 
  • Heat oil in a fry pan over a medium heat. Add tomatoes and cook, tossing until warm. 
  • Add olives and warm through. 
  • Remove from heat and add garlic, basil and asparagus and toss to combine. 
  • Serve as a side dish or with crusty bread as a salad. 

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