Nigel Slater’s recipe for couscous with asparagus, and apricot-ricotta tart | Food | Instant News


me take a jar of couscous from the top shelf this week, steam the contents, throw the soft dough granules with young beans and asparagus, then stir with a handful of chopped parsley, chives, and mint. But then, right before I brought it to the table, I melted a generous piece of butter in a small pan and threw a few pieces of almonds to throw hot couscous. Warm golden fat trickles through the seeds and together with the crackling beans turn a simple dinner into a fancy one.

I have made my shopping list short. While shops are merciful at the moment, shopping has changed briefly from pleasure into something I no longer want to take my time. I’m in and out in a heartbeat. With flour, butter, eggs, and jams already in the cupboard, I just need to take some ricotta tubs to gather ingredients for the bitches to eat after dinner, finish it the next day for breakfast. There aren’t any rules, but with today’s world upside down, if I want to eat pudding for breakfast, then I’ll …

Couscous with butter with asparagus and beans

Stirring steaming couscous grains into several spring vegetables is a neat way to make small amounts of peas and asparagus.
Serves 4

asparagus 8 thick bars
couscous 150g
wide bean 250g (weight peeled)
parsley 50g (weight with a stalk)
sprig of mint 15g
chives 12

To replace:
olive oil 3 tbsp
lemon juice 2 tbsp
Garlic one small clove
butter 40g
flattened almonds 3 tbsp

Put two deep water pots to boil. Cut the asparagus into long pieces of wine cork. Salt water in one light pan, then add the asparagus and cook for 4-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalk.

In another pan, place a fine mesh filter on the water and pour it into couscous. Cover and steam until the grains are smooth and fluffy, about 20 minutes.

Make the sauce by stirring olive oil and lemon juice. Squeeze the garlic until blended and add to the sauce, then season with salt and black pepper.

When the asparagus is soft, remove it with a slotted spoon and drain, then add to the dressing and set aside.

Cook the beans in boiling asparagus water for 6-8 minutes, then drain. When the beans are cooking, remove the herb leaves from the stems (you need about 25 g in total) and chop them up, then add them to the sauce.

Remove the large beans from the skin by pressing them between the fingers and thumb (if your beans are very small and young, you might not need to do this). Add beans to other ingredients.

Remove the couscous from the heat and crush the seeds with a fork. Add couscous to other ingredients and stir everything. Transfer to serving plate. In a small skillet, melt the butter, add the almonds and brown, then pour the beans and hot butter over the couscous.

Apricot and Ricotta Tart








Sweet dreams: apricot and ricotta tart. Photo: Jonathan Lovekin / Observer

Monitor the filling progress in the oven, remove as soon as the outside tightens and the insides still shake when the tart is gently shaken. Vanilla extract plays an important role, do your best. You will also need a 20cm loose tin coating.
Presenting 6

For cookies:
butter 90g
ordinary flour 150g
egg yolk 1
water 1-2 tablespoons

To fill:
lemon 1, large
orange 1, small
Ricotta 500g
caster sugar 150g
vanilla extract 1 tsp, to taste
egg 3
egg yolk 1
cornstarch 1 teaspoon

For the top:
apricot jam 370g
pine kernel 2 tbsp

Make pastries by reducing butter and flour to fine crumbs in a food processor. Add egg yolks and enough water to produce a hard but soft dough. Form a ball, wrap it in heat-resistant paper and set it aside in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes.

Roll the cookies dry thinly, then use to coat the tart. Place a piece of bread or baking paper on top of the cake and fill it to the brim with peanut cakes. Set aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Set the oven to 200C / gas mark 6. Heat a baking sheet, then bake the tart on it for 25 minutes. Remove the paper and nuts then return the tart case to the oven for several minutes until the pastry dries to the touch. Remove the case from the oven and reduce the heat to the 180C / gas mark 4.

Grated lemon and orange zest in a fine-toothed grater.

Mix Ricotta, sugar and vanilla. Beat the eggs and egg yolks together with a fork, then add the ricotta with lemon zest and vanilla extract. Stir in the corn flour then pour into an acid container and return to the oven for 40 minutes. When filling seems almost set (must be shaken when gently shaken), remove and allow to cool.

Melt the apricot jam in a small saucepan, then spoon it over the tart. Roast pine seeds in a shallow pan until golden, then scatter them on the jam.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

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