Spring has arrived (hasn’t it?) and it’s time for some early stalky veg. One of our favourites is purple sprouting broccoli. A regular weekday supper (for the adults) is short pasta (preferably orrichietti) with broccoli, anchovies, chilli & garlic. I’m afraid, contrary to all cookbooks; I like to use cheap tinned anchovies in olive oil. They’re a kitchen cupboard essential along with dried chillies and pasta so I usually have all the base ingredients to hand. I like a lively Mediterranean white such as Picpoul de Pinet or red Côtes de Thongue Tradition with this simple dish. Warning - the Italians consider it a culinary crime to put Parmesan on a fish-based dish. To quote Andrea Camilleri: “Christ! Even a hyena, which, being a hyena, feeds on carrion, would have been sickened to see a dish of pasta with clam sauce covered with Parmesan!” (The Snack Thief).
Another treat at this time of year is Rhubarb. I’ve tried many recipes but for me nothing beats rhubarb crumble. Try adding a bit of grated orange zest to the crumble mix and a squeeze of orange juice to the rhubarb. Serve with yoghurt, cream, crème fraiche, custard or vanilla ice cream. A zesty well balanced desert wine such as the Monbazillac 2009: Domaine de l'Ancienne Cure will compliment this old favourite perfectly.