09 February 2013

Summer Vegetables with Pesto & Tapenade & a Little Haggis!




The 25th January is Burns Night, a celebration of the poetry of Robert Burns & a good excuse to get a few friends together.  I also love making people try & come to love haggis!  Like most things the good stuff is very good & the not so good stuff not so good.  Sadly one year a grumpy customs official confiscated the haggis from Mum & Dad at the airport on arrival in Auckland & we were forced to try a Kiwi version of haggis that year.  Bar the first mouthful it all ended up in the trash. Suffice to say inedible, though that really doesn’t begin to cover it however that is not a topic to explore on a food blog!

The first Burns’ Suppers were held in Ayrshire at the end of the 18th century  by Burns’ friends on the anniversary of his death, actually the 21st July.  Since then they have become a regular occurence on his birthday the 25th January.


And the traditional food, well that would be where the haggis comes in alongside mashed neeps* & tatties*.  It is the perfect fare for the middle of winter in Scotland, not so much for balmy summer evenings in Auckland.  So for out Kiwi Burns’ Supper we just have the haggis as a little entree to the main event & honour the tradition of addressing the haggis, spearing it with a knife & shot of whisky. The only thing missing would be the piper piping in the haggis.  What do have though is Dad & a recital of Tam O’Shanter, one of Burns best know poems.  Even more amazing we get the general gist without really understanding a word!!


*Neeps re turnips & tatties are potatoes

Pre the haggis for a little bright & fresh we had these summer vegetables with pesto & tapenade

You really want the freshest possible vegetables to make this dish sing.

Summer Vegetables with Pesto & Tapenade from Tom Kitchin's From Nature to Plate.

Serves 6 as an appetizer

Ingredients

Bunch baby carrots
1 cucumber
A few radishes
Bunch asparagus
A few baby fennel or one regular fennel

Pesto
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp pine nuts
150ml olive oil
100g basil leaves
25g parmesan, grated

Tapenade
200g pitted black olives
50g anchovy fillets
50g capers
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper


Peel the carrots & cut them in to thin, long strips.  Cut the cucumber in to similar sized strips & cut the radishes in half.  If using baby fennel cut them in to long lengths or if using one regular sized fennel cut it in to slices.  Trim & peel the asparagus & then place all the vegetables on a plate & cover with a clean moist tea towel to keep them fresh.

For the pesto; place the garlic, pine nuts & 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor & blitz together.  Add the basil & parmesan & with the processor running drizzle in the rest of the olive oil.  Chill until ready to serve.

For the tapenade; place all the ingredients in a blender & blitz until you have an almost smooth paste. Taste & season with salt & pepper & chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

To serve arrange the vegetables on a platter with a little bowl each of the pesto & tapenade.



And then, well just tuck in.  Perfect on a balmy summer evening with a little glass of something chilled.  The pesto is bright & fresh, the fragrant basil the essence of summer.  The tapenade is full of flavour thanks to the capers & anchovies. It is savoury & a little salty, the perfect companion for the fresh vegetables.


Enjoy!


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