Keep it fresh, keep it British

Panfried sausage and broad bean pasta / Photo: Martin Turzak

Panfried sausage and broad bean pasta / Photo: Martin Turzak - Credit: Archant

Evelyn Curtis provides three quick and easy recipes using seasonal ingredients, locally sourced

Fresh British strawberries / Photo: Denis Larkin

Fresh British strawberries / Photo: Denis Larkin - Credit: Archant

We now see the arrival of British-grown, early-season vegetables. If you grow them yourselves, so much the better, as nothing tastes as good as home-grown.

Summer’s first real crop of broad beans will have arrived and, as with strawberries, the beans’ arrival will be heralded by continental imports attempting to poach our British home-grown show!

When you first see beans in the shops, my advice is to check their origin carefully and boycott the impostors. Those of us lucky enough to have a local green-grocer or market to shop in will probably not have this problem.

Fish is also at it’s freshest, with sea trout and salmon top of the list.

So this month let’s make the most of summer’s first real crop of home-grown fruit and vegetables with two quick and easy recipes and a seasonal strawberry dessert.

Panfried sausage and broad bean pasta

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I like to serve different variations of sausages and vegetables which include cooked pasta, and they’ve now become a firm family favourite.


Take 6 port and herb sausages; 3 tbsp olive oil; 2 cloves garlic, chopped; 1 onion, chopped; 2 courgettes, sliced; 750g (I1b 10oz) tomatoes, quartered; 250g (9oz) broad beans, podded; 3 tbsp chopped parsley; white wine 150ml (¼ pint) 400g (14oz short pasta).


Heat oil in large pan or casserole, add sausages, garlic, onion and courgettes and fry for 10 minutes until sausages are cooked, and vegetables have softened and browned. Add tomatoes and white wine, bring to the boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add broad beans and simmer for a further 10 minutes until beans are tender. Meanwhile cook pasta until al dente, drain and add to casserole. Season to taste, add parsley and serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Fish Pie

Salmon can be expensive, but you can use cheaper tail off-cuts or even tinned, and a mixture of cod, haddock or plaice. This dish makes a light main meal and freezes well.


700g (l½lb) fish, mixture of salmon, cod, haddock plaice etc; 50g (2oz) margarine; 2 teaspoons dry mustard; 50g (2oz) plain flour; 110g (4oz) finely chopped onion; 3 teaspoons lemon juice; ¾ pint of milk.


110g (4oz) plain flour; 50g 2oz margarine; 75g (3oz) grated cheese; salt and pepper;


Poach fish for approximately 12 minutes, drain, remove bones and skin and allow to cool. Melt margarine in a saucepan and gently fry the onion. Stir in the flour and mustard and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the milk. Return to the heat and stir constantly until the sauce comes to the boil. Simmer for 3 minutes, then stir in the fish and lemon juice. Season to taste and then put into a large shallow baking dish.

To make topping put the flour into a bowl, add seasoning and rub in the margarine. Mix in the cheese, sprinkle over the fish mixture in baking dish. Bake for approximately 40 minutes at 350F, 180C, Gas Mark 4 until top is crisp and brown. Serve hot with green vegetable or salad. Serves 6.

Strawberry dessert

Put 450g (I1b) strawberries (or raspberries) in an oven proof dish. Cover with caster sugar and stand until the sugar is dissolved. Whip 300ml (½ pint) double cream until stiff and firm. Cover strawberries with this, then cover cream with Demerara sugar. Place under a very hot grill for 1 minute, keeping watch all the time. Leave until cold and chill for about 2 hours. Serves 4.