You all know how much I enjoy my veg box (CSA) from Sutton Community Farm. I just love the quality of the produce and also that it is a not-for-profit organisation which encourages schools, businesses and anyone else to visit the farm, learn all about their organic farming methods and get stuck in too. Well, a couple of weeks ago they hosted their very first Pop-Up VegBox Dinner as part of the fabulous Streatham Food Festival, in the charming new Community Space at The White Lion. With Hix Soho Chef, Joe Fox at the helm, I was really lucky to snaffle a reservation as the event quickly sold out.
It was a lovely warm summer’s evening as we gathered and mingled in the courtyard sipping delicious elderflower champagne which Joris, Head Grower at the farm had brewed in anticipation of his wedding; decorated with freshly foraged elderflowers buds and served in the most adorable 1930’s style champagne coupes, these slipped down effortlessly. The team were working outside so we got a sneaky peek at the cooking, prepping and plating up too. Inside, long tables had been set with hessian runners and studded with tomato plant centerpieces, terracotta pots crammed with crudités of baby carrots, radishes and asparagus sprue and served with a fresh wobbly mayo, herb and garlic dip with bread donated by local baker and farm supplier Gaye Whitwham of Sticky Mitts.
The starter of freshly made ricotta, broad beans which included the shoots and flowers, pickled cucumber, cucumber flowers, salad leaves and croutons, dressed with an organic rapeseed oil was simply stunning. The main course of chargrilled asparagus, served on a bed of crushed Charlotte potatoes and topped with a romano pepper stew was gorgeous – perfectly balanced and seasoned. Pudding was a glorious Mess of farm foraged elderflower and gooseberry compote, meringue, cream and shavings of white chocolate. We also got a brown paper and string tied gift to take home – one of their printed cloth shopping bags which now lives in my handbag ready for any purchases I make.
An evocative video of the evening has been put together by Asa of Triple A Films which captures the night beautifully. It was a truly wonderful, inspirational and magical evening.
So, in homage to that wonderful starter and to use up the broad beans in my veg box I made these delicious crostini. When it’s too hot to turn on the oven or spend too long at the stove, this sort of thing is just ideal on a warm evening with a large glass of something crisp and cold!
I am taking them with me to Angie’s popular weekly virtual party – Fiesta Friday #21, so that everyone can feel a little of the magic of that night! This week Angie has also eschewed turning on the oven and has made THE most beautiful salad. So it is only right that the party is co-hosted by Elaine@Foodbod and Julianna@Foodie On Board, both of whom make the most fabulous salads! Thank you ladies!
Broad Bean, Pea and Ricotta Crostini with Mint
- 1 cup of podded broad beans
- 1 cup of peas (frozen is fine)
- Zest of a lemon and some juice
- Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp finely sliced fresh mint
- 4 thick slices sourdough bread
- 1 large clove of garlic halved
- 6-8 Tbsp ricotta cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil then add the broad beans and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add the peas and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Drain immediately and run under a cold tap or plunge into an ice bath to cool and set the gorgeous green colours.
- Skin the broad beans – give those fleshy skins a little pinch and squeeze the beans out.
- Place the broad beans and the peas in a bowl with most of the mint; grate over some lemon zest, squeeze over a little lemon juice and a little olive oil; season, stir and set aside.
- Toast the sourdough and while the slices are still hot, rub one side with the cut side of garlic cloves. The garlic will disappear into the toast.
- Spread the toast thickly with ricotta cheese and season lightly.
- Top generously with the broad bean mixture, sprinkle with a little more mint and drizzle over a fruity olive oil.
- Serve as part of an antipasti or as a first course.
© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013, 2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.