Ohmmmmmmm – good morning from a much calmer, more zen-like me after a fabulous yoga class. Friday – and bloody hell – turning 49 tomorrow. Which is weird because to be honest I feel 50 already. Is it wise to be sharing my age with you? When I worked for New Zealand’s most famous Wanaka/Auckland TV cook her age was a state secret. Pathologically guarded. And you my lovelies – range in age from 20 to 60+, with quite a few of you around 25-30…so will you gasp in horror and never come here again when confronted with my vast age…we shall see.
Thank God I finally decided on my menu for tomorrow night – inspired partly from the Asian issue of Cuisine which is just about to come out, and partly from my tropical story for an upcoming issue of Dish, we are have a mad-arse Asian melange…kokoda on baby poppadoms, a variety of steamed and fried dumplings, a rich, slow cooked beef curry, a green and herby prawn curry, paratha, mango coconut ice cream in white choc and coconut dipped mini waffle cones and tropical mojitos. Should be a bit of a hoot, especially if my lovely friend Anna fulfils her wish of keeping me from (as is my wont) spending all night in the kitchen!
Right then – this is (quite clearly) a bloody easy little recipe which suits the current (long may it last) fine weather. If you can’t be faffed making pesto use store bought, then combine it with the al dente pasta, sweet and vibrant broad beans, tender asparagus and rich smoked salmon. Add a few pine nuts (or toasted almonds) for a bit of crunch and you’re done. I took the remnants of this to my sister and was really happy to hear that they actually scoffed it cold – which she said was equally good. Hot or cold, let me know if you give it a whirl!

2 cups packed basil leaves plus 1/4 cup to garnish

2/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup Parmesan
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 cups broad beans
30 asparagus spears, halved, (if thick asparagus, quartered)
300grams oak roasted or hot smoked salmon, roughly torn into pieces
350-400 grams spaghetti
Put the basil leaves in a small food processor with half of the pine nuts, half of the Parmesan, the garlic and olive oil. Whiz until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Lightly toast the remaining pine nuts and set aside. Bring a pot of water to boil and drop in the broad beans. Cook until the water comes back up to the boil then drain and refresh in a sink of cold water. Bring another two large pots of water to boil while you gently slip the broad beans from their pods. Pop the pasta in one pot and cook until just al dente – I usually go for one minute less than the recommended cooking time as it continues to cook once drained. In the other pot drop in the asparagus for 1 minute, then drain. As soon as the pasta is cooked drain it, then toss with 3/4 of the pesto, the podded broad beans, drained asparagus and salmon. Serve topped with remaining pesto and pine nuts with Parmesan on the side.

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