Sunday, 4 November 2012

Yes peas, more PEAS.

P + E + A. It astounds me how these three single letters can be used to describe these vivacious circular balls that have the ability to bring a world of joy, sweetness and excitement to our palates.

Green pearls of joy floating in Gazpacho. 

One of my favourite pea memories included eating peas by the handful in a family friends garage. When they first dove into the bag I thought they were crazy. But after overcoming the initial brain/tooth freeze, these icy little morsels fresh from the freezer bag presented me with a taste that like their friendship (you know who you are!) I would savour and treasure forever.

Pea pesto/dip/spread/hummus. 

The humble pea would have to be one of the most underrated vegetables on the market. A bag of frozen peas will put you back around $4, but its enjoyment will last far longer than the caffeine hit of your trim flat white. With my new residence, whipping up a storm in the kitchen has been a real pleasure. A house of four working girls each with hungry appreciative mouths means that I get to frolic about in the kitchen as often as I like.

PPP, complete w. peanuts.

My latest creation was Pea pesto pasta inspired by the popular Smitten KitchenThe pesto itself made a mighty batch so I served it up with thinly sliced kumara chips for a pre-dinner nibble. I tweaked the recipe slightly to match what the pantry did and didn’t have on hand. Which included substituting pinenuts for almonds and parmesean for a touch of tahini to add a creamy note. I also opted for a slightly thicker fettuccine that carried the pea puree perfectly. The addition of coriander and lemon juice helped bring the dish to life and one would hope that the cleaned out bowl reflected the state of enjoyment. 

Tickled pink by peas.

Another pea dish that is engraved in my memory is one consumed on the infamous Waiheke Island. Two words. Casita Miro. You will probably hear me talk more about this idyllic restaurant but for today it’s all about the peas. Served straight to the table in the frying pan these peas were some of the best I’ve ever had. Plump, sweet and zestfully green each individual pea increased my already ecstatic mood to a whole new level. Fused with a delightfully cured lamb pancetta, the freshest of sage leaves, pungent garlic cloves finished with a glossy, creamy hint of butter. It was incredible and gob-smackingly edible. I will be back again very soon.

Close your eyes and picture the perfectly poached egg.

When the budget is tight and ingredients are minimal, one of my favourite dishes is to whip up a simple Pea soup. Frozen peas, garlic, chicken or vegetable stock, salt, pepper and water. Fresh mint is a personal fav. But in my world pea soup is not complete unless an ooey, gooey poached egg is placed delicately on top. (if meat is a must for you - crispy bacon works beautifully too!) There is something about this thick, creamy, sweet, salty puree that seems to satisfy my soul. I am yet to conclude whether it’s the satisfaction of simplicity, speed, health and flavour. But whatever it is you can bet I will be enjoying this dish for years to come.

Pea, lemon & feta salad. Don't beware. Get here.

Just to tease your palate a little more here is a another plate of gold served up by our beautiful friends at Kiki Beware. This delightful boutique cafe has moved to a more accessible George St location and is a must while in Dunedin. Yet another eatery that I intend to boast about later. Til next time. Peas out. 

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