Sunday 12 July 2015

India Yellow and fregola with green peas, mint and ricotta

Green Ground, Cooking Apple Green, Olive, Card Room Green, Breakfast Room Green, Green Smoke, Vert De Terre…  All the shades of nature available in a pot of paint. Armed only with a 2x2 cm square of colour, one must have nerves of steel to choose the right one. I should know: We're currently in the process of deciding between three different shades of yellow, one of which is positively mustard (India Yellow) versus the golden Print Room Yellow or Citron. I’m discovering what sort of stomach I have. 

A green colour scheme is ‘fresh and connected to nature’ and works well in east facing rooms. Ours faces west and looks out onto a plot of nature about the size of the city’s historic centre; something that you can no longer bike through for tourists. Before the wood begins you have to cross another piece of history: a tramline that runs a whole colour palate of relic trams on Sundays. Walk along this and we’ve found guerrilla beekeepers, semi-professional looking sweet pea growers and vegetable patches the size of our new room.

I remember planting my first garden: it was 1 meter square and I was on constant century, watching to catch one of the seedlings moving. Nature is hard to pin down though, and if plants have mastered anything at all, that is moving when your back is turned. I would come back in the morning and there they were. Heads turned towards the sun when before, they had no head.

Then there was the time I cried because no one wanted to look after my sunflowers because they didn’t like them, and the months I had to share custody of my avocado because my room was too small (thank you Bob). We’ve rescued two palms off the street and have welcomed in three other plants, also palmy. All but one survived. The tomatoes are third generation and 20 cm high after two weeks, and two of the cut-offs mom gave me from a plant that used to be in my oma’s kitchen in the U.S.-Cornwall are alive again, long after her. They’ve travelled 3000 miles over the ocean oblivious, wrapped in damp newspaper.

I think we’ve decided upon Print Room Yellow because of how nice it’ll look contrasted to all the green. And here’s a very delicious, very green recipe I took from Bon Appetit.

Recipe | Fregola with green peas, mint and ricotta

Cook 1 1/4 cups fregola in a large pot of boiling salted water and remove while still al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water, but don't rinse. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and cook 3 slices of bacon, chopped, until brown. Add 1 chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crisp and onion is translucent.

Add 1 cup of dry white wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until skillet is almost dry. Add 2 ½ cups chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Throw in the cooked fregola and stir until broth is thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 

Add 1 cup peas and 2 tbsp chopped mint and cook, stirring, until peas are warmed through. Add pasta cooking liquid as needed to adjust consistency. Serve topped with ricotta,  some fresh mint and black pepper. Throw in a lot of good olive oil.
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