Summer Vegetable Pasta

If you have visited here before you will know that I am a lover of books.  I particularly love cook books.  In my early years of working I was moving from one place to another and in the boot of my car was a box containing many precious recipe books, knives and a pasta machine.  My car was stolen before I was able to unpack it, and although the racing red UNO with pink stripes (wish I was joking; am not) was later retrieved, the very dear books, knives and pasta machine were gone for good.   An enormous loss I still feel sad about.

Most unexplainable is this fact: people don’t often gift me cookbooks.   But, and here’s a heads up all Santa’s helpers, my list of cookbook needs wants is expansive.  Need a new shelf for them all kind of expansive.  It is a very particular list to that I will concede, but one can certainly be forgiven for being particular about cookbooks I think.
If I look over my collection today, the books I love best are the ones that I actually cook from.  I know it sounds redundant to say that, but some books, despite good styling and great photographs just don’t speak my food language.  Simply put, we don’t connect and even though I may like to page through them from time to time, I never cook from them.
Having said that then, you may better understand me when I say that these days, before I buy a new cookbook; I want to know we speak the same language.  I research it, I read the reviews and I try to get a look at the pictures. I may even, as in this case, spend hours reading post after post on the author’s blog just to be sure.  So it was with great certainty of its worth that I waited out the week it took for my local bookstore to order in my copy of Alida Ryder’s “Simple and Delicious, recipes from the heart.”  (In fairness they did have a copy of Alida Ryder’s  “Heerlik en Maklik Hartskos” which is the Afrikaans edition of the same book; this is the Boland after all folks.)
Alida Ryder’s journey to published author began on her blog Simply Delicious which won the SA Blog Awards for Best Food blog and Best New Blog in 2010.  In just four years this gal started a blog, won awards, had twins and has just launched her own cookbook.  I am tempted to label Alida an over achiever, but unfortunately she is so darn likable, up to her elbows in ordinary every day much like you and I.  Except, Alida’s ordinary every day is infused with a deep and genuine love of food and joy of cooking.  It literally leaps off the pages, infectious.  You will want to cook from this book, I promise you that.
It was hard to choose what to make first, but I settled on the Summer vegetable pasta with poached eggsfor two reasons.  Firstly, Pretty Girl said it looked ‘way too weird’, and I consider it my duty to give my kiddos a gentle gastronomic nudge every now and then.  Secondly, Alida wrote that this recipe came about when she stood in front of her fridge with nothing in it but vegetables, and boy can I relate to that.
I didn’t have the exact list of vegetables suggested in the recipe but in the spirit of Simple and delicious, I stuck to what I had which was asparagus, mange tout, green peas and tender stem broccoli.  My result (pictured above) looked almost as good as the one in the book.  I do love a cook book with real food in the pictures!  This is effortless pasta; just the loveliest flavor of lemon comes through.  Pretty Girl and I ate the whole plateful, apparently there was nothing weird about it after all.

Summer vegetable pasta with poached eggs – by Alida Ryder

500 g summer vegetables trimmed or sliced according to your preference (asparagus, green beans, summer squash like patty pans and courgettes, sugar snap peas and broccoli)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150 ml cream
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
500 g tagliatelle or pappardelle, cooked according to the packet instructions
Grated pecorino, to serve
4 eggs poached, to serve
  1. Place the vegetables in a steamer and steam for 10 minutes until they are just tender but still bright green.
  2. Fry the garlic in 1 tablespoon butter and add the vegetables.  Fry for a minute before adding the cream and lemon juice.
  3. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Season to taste and toss with the cooked pasta.
  4. Serve warm with the poached eggs and grated pecorino.

Alida Ryder’s “Simple and delicious, recipes from the heart” is published by Penguin.

Lekker lees en lekker eet mense!

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