I’m working at the very lovely delicious. magazine this week, which is always fun – great magazine, nice people, an almost endless supply of tea (which, to a freelancer, is like a miracle) and more often than not, suitably delicious food to test – but today the shock of eight hours of solid work finally hit me, and I had to cancel the evening’s beer-tasting plans (I know, I know) and scurry straight home. Well, I say straight, although it was the first time I’ve ever been on a bus which attempted a u-turn at a major junction, which gave me ample opportunity to contemplate my dinner.
When a cold lurks, I always reach for intense flavours – chilli oil, fermented black beans, coriander – but after mandolining half my thumb off last week in pursuit of a stir fry, I was prepared to go for something a bit less labour intensive – kale with chilli and garlic perhaps. But kale not being a Turkish favourite, that meant a trip to Whole Foods which, praise be, brought me into contact with the winter’s first purple sprouting broccoli, all the way from Devon. I love PSB. And I didn’t make the most of it last spring, because I was deprived of anchovies thanks to a muddle-headed decision to go vegetarian for Lent, so I lost no time in making up for it. Nothing complex – some Sharpham Park spelt that I’ve been meaning to try out for a while, tossed with a pungent mixture of sautéed garlic, anchovies and chilli, and of course, lots of broccoli. Followed by too much butterscotch Angel Delight won in the Coach and Horses quiz and saved for just such a miserably eventuality.
§Not really a recipe, but here’s a rough idea of what I’m going to be finishing off for lunch tomorrow…
1 mug of spelt, cooked in boiling water until tender (about 20 minutes), and drained
Generous shake of olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 anchovies, chopped
3 stalks of purple sprouting broccoli, chopped
Chilli flakes, to serve
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
1. While the spelt’s cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-low heat and soften the garlic and anchovies together until the fish dissolve into the oil (I often add some of the oil from the jar or tin to the pan too).
2. Turn the heat up and add the broccoli. Saute until al dente (or to your particular taste) – I often stick in some of the spelt cooking water once I’ve drained it to help things along – then tip in the spelt and a sprinkle of chilli flakes and stir to mix everything together well. Season (the anchovies are quite salty, but you never know) and scoff in a big bowl in front of Masterchef while feeling a bit sorry for yourself.
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