‘Artichoke Hearts and Peas’ – p.143

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Well, i had to happen sooner or later: One that didn’t work.

It certainly wasn’t inedible (I actually dug in fairly happily for seconds, and not just to try and identify whether it was me or the recipe that went wrong) but there was something about it that just sat oddly; the peas felt overcooked, the lemon juice overpowering and the idea of jarred artichokes warmed up sat strangely with me.

This is a shame, as I’ve long been a fan of those little marinated artichoke hearts one finds in jars or cans. Added to a crisp, green salad or tossed with some ribbon pasta, they add nothing but freshness and deliciousness. I can’t remember the first time I ate them, but whenever I encountered them during childhood, they signalled decadence and a hint of middle-class-summers-in-Italy-River-Cafe cosmopolitanism (we never took a summer holiday in Italy or, rather needless to say, ate at the River Cafe, but many, many of our fellow Camden Towners visited both a great deal, so I remember sharing in their culinary discoveries from time to time).

I’m not sure whether this one ending up weird was down to me, or the recipe, or whether I used unsuitable artichoke ingredients, or whether it and I were simply incompatible, but the method went as follows.

I added a handful of tiny button mushrooms, a bigger handful of frozen peas and the juice of a lemon, along with generous turns of the pepper mill and pinches of salt to a warm pan, and simmered with the lid on for about six minutes. I then added a load of quartered artichoke hearts and warmed through for a few minutes.

Plenty of delicious flavours, but I could personally get no sense from it. We had it alongside some pork steaks based on THIS recipe though, which were absolutely beautiful.

Buy your own copy of Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’ HERE.

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