Pasta with ricotta cream and purple sprouting broccoli

October is a strange month. The vivid, bright colours of summer seem to fade like an old picture, memories of warmth and drinks in the park melting away like the last gelato of the season. Under relentless rain and rare sunny days, we forget the feeling of stepping into clear water, of sand in the sheets, of walking barefoot. Drinking ice-cold lemonade on a balcony is a memory that seems to belong to someone else.

I wake up to a sepia-coloured world, the sky heavy, taking on all sort of shades of grey, from icy blue to muddy hues. I walk on a bed of crisp fallen leaves, the trees start to look bare, and my trench coat feels a little thin. I wear the first prickly jumper, drink copious amounts of tea, dramatically sigh before I have to leave my flat and, with it, my pyjamas.

Salad quickly loses its appeal and I turn every vegetable into soup, denying it any pretence of texture, blending everything into one warm liquor to warm up my body and my spirit.

But also, I buy vegetables, look for colour in the bright hues of peppers, muse over the shapes of aubergines, caramelise Brussels sprouts, briefly forget that butter is sadly not a vegetable. I find comfort in the brown paper bags that get soaked under the heavily scented autumn rain, which smells of wood and trees and melancholy. I make myself a pasta and eat it nestled in a cushion fort, watching the new TV shows that autumn has gifted me (best part about autumn, hands down).

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I can’t remember where I first saw a recipe for ricotta cream but it’s a genius idea: blending ricotta cheese with a little vegetable broth until it reaches the consistency of double cream, but it’s much lighter, a little tangier, more subtle. With it, sautéed purple spouting broccoli which sadly lose their beautiful colour when you cook them, but are hearty and delicious.

Pasta with ricotta cream and purple sprouting broccoli

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Serves 2 (greedy people)

250 g ricotta
Some garlic, pepper, salt, chilli flakes
A little warm vegetable broth or warm water
Purple sprouting broccoli (or normal broccoli, cut in florets)
200 g pasta (I used penne)

  • Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook your past as per the packet instructions.
  • Heat up some olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and fry the crushed garlic until soft and golden, then toss the broccoli until they are cooked all the way through and the stalks are soft. If needed, you could add a little broth or water to prevent the broccoli from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • In a bowl, slowly add a couple of tablespoon of broth (or water) to the ricotta, until it looks a little like double cream. Add the cream to the broccoli and remove from the heat.
  • When the pasta is ready, drain and toss with the creamy sauce until thoroughly mixed.
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Baked Enoki Mushrooms with Butter and Soy

I don’t know what it is about Tuesday, but oh boy. Tuesday.

Awkwardly stuck between spanking-fresh, bright-eyed Monday, with its green juices and resolutions, and naive, hopeful Wednesday, the first sneaky drink of a long week – Tuesday always manages to be the longest, grimmest day of the week.

Tuesday is the day when you miss your bus by a handful of seconds and are left waiting in the rain for the longest fifteen minutes of your life.On a Tuesday you will systematically realise you have run out of the very thing you crave the most when it’s too late to go and buy some more. Having to stay late at work? That also seems to always happen on a Tuesday.

Tuesday food needs to fulfil a number of criteria. It needs to be nice, tasty, if a little indulgent. It also needs to be quick and so easy you can be catching up on Jane The Virgin while the food does its thing. It needs to be the kind of simple food that seems to just sort itself out while you finally sink in your more-beautiful-than-ever sofa (Tuesday really makes you appreciate sofas).

Enokis are funny little things, clusters of fragile, skinny mushrooms, bizarrely wonky and pale, and absolutely delicious. Roasted with some velvety, all-powerful butter and sharp soy sauce, they become an indulgent treat to be eaten straight out of the foil.

I’ll admit that enoki mushrooms are not the easiset thing to find, but most Oriental supermarkets will stock them, as well as Whole Foods and Planet Organic, and they keep quite well in the fridge. They also seem to soak up flavours beautifully, so you could add them to any stir fry.

Or you could just roast them with butter and soy sauce. If you didn’t know soy sauce and butter was a thing, well, neither did I. But this New York Times article convinced me to give it a try – also, stay tuned for some instant ramen with butter, soy and American cheese, but that’s for a Friday.

Now, for our soy sauce butter roasted enoki, which may technically be a side but I mean, what’s the difference between a side and a main, except for quantity? I normally have this alongside some simple, perfect fluffy white rice, steamed beyond any nutricional value (it’s ok, I had a green smoothie on Monday).

Baked Enoki mushrooms with butter and soy sauce

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Pre-heat the over to the maximum (for me, it was 250°C). Wash the mushrooms and trim off the woody part at the bottom.Wrap in foil and add lashings of butter, some soy sauce and a little pepper for depth of flavour – you could add a lemon wedge for balance. Roast for 15-30 minutes depending on desired texture.