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Fairy tale weddings

Any wedding can be a fairy tale if you wear a red riding hood and release a wolf into the drinks reception.

That said, this past weekend was a very special one for Eat My Words. One of us got married while the other nailed the best man speech.

It was also the first time burrata with peaches had been served outside the M25, and this week we’re taking inspiration from it with a recipe for chargrilled runner beans with peaches, ricotta and hazelnut. A summer dish perfect for BBQ lunches or light meals.

This week’s album: 
Nothing Great About Britain by Slowthai

A good friend introduced me to Slowthai (real name Tyron Frampton) a few years ago. Released in 2019, when things weren’t looking great in Britain, it’s a highly confrontational and controversial album. Whether anything has dramatically changed since then is questionable, so a lot of it is still apt today. It's honest and aggressive, yet charming and amusing.

Full of beans

I discovered the delight of grilled runner beans and spring onions while cooking with a Big Green Egg in a restaurant.

I’d always been a huge fan of the grilled/flamed flavour you get from chargrilling or BBQ’ing proteins and veg. There’s something so wonderfully intense and savoury about it. However, runner beans and spring onions weren’t something I’d ever thought of cooking in this way.

Spoiler alert: they’re now my go-to BBQ veggies. Dressed with good-quality olive oil and lemon makes them unbelievably delicious.

This recipe takes it a step further and uses them in a complete dish/salad. We’ll match them with sweet peaches (which are just coming into season), creamy ricotta, and crunchy hazelnuts.

Ricotta features heavily in our recipes, mainly cos it’s so bloody-mary good. If you’re lucky enough to have a cheesemonger/deli/specialist food shop nearby it’s really worth making the effort to find some high-quality stuff. The fresher the better.

I promise it’s worth it. While staying on a dairy farm in Sicily I ate that morning’s ricotta for breakfast. It was an almost-biblical food experience that features in my top 20 food moments (full list to be revealed at a later date).

The Blues Brothers, also known as Eat My Words, planning this week's recipe at afore-mentioned wedding. Business never sleeps.

What you need

The below serves 4. It takes 15 mins to prep and 45 mins to cook.

4 ripe peaches

20 runner beans

8 spring onions

2 tbsps white balsamic vinegar

2 tbsps caster sugar

2 lemons (zest of one & juice of both)

200-250g ricotta

30g hazelnuts (halved)

Small bunch of basil (leaves only)

Small bunch of rocket

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt & black pepper

Ready, steady, cook

1. Preheat your oven to 140°c/120°c fan. Cut the peaches in half, remove the stones, and cut each half into three pieces. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment.

In a small bowl, mix together 3 tbsps of olive oil, the vinegar, sugar and juice of one lemon. Stir well. Pour this syrup over all the peaches so they’re well covered. Transfer to the oven for 30 mins, basting with the liquor halfway through. Once cooked and tender, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2. Increase the oven temp to 180°c/160°c fan. When hot, add the halved hazelnuts and roast for 6-8 mins, or until golden brown. Set aside.

3. Heat your griddle pan or BBQ. Top and tail the beans, then use a peeler to remove the ‘string’ that runs down each side of the runner bean. Take care to try and remove as little as possible. Remove the roots of the spring onions, an inch or so off the tops, and the outermost layer.

Toss the beans and spring onions in a little olive oil and season well with sea salt. Add to the hot grill and cook for 2-3 mins on each side. When cooked, they should be tender but with a little bite. Transfer to a tray and, while still hot, dress with a little more olive oil, the juice and zest of one lemon, and some freshly ground black pepper.

4. Now we assemble… Add generous spoonfuls of ricotta to the plate, followed by the peaches. Arrange the dressed runner beans and spring onions around the plate. Scatter over the roasted hazelnuts, basil leaves and rocket. Finally, drizzle over some of the cooking juices from the peaches and a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil.

Final thought

This dish would also work really well with a decent mozzarella, soft goat's cheese, or feta.

Speak next week.


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Eat My Words · Kew Gardens · Kew, TW9 · United Kingdom

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