Mr Dine at Mine (you may have seen him around here before) has been away for over a week. He's jetsetting abroad for work, swanning around in posh hotels and fancy airport lounges, and left me behind in sole possession. Although this is the longest we've been apart since we moved in to our new home, since we married - in fact, since god knows how long ago - I have truthfully reassured both my mum and his that yes, I am fine. The house is still standing, I haven't started talking to myself, and I am still managing to get up and get to work in the morning. Of course, that doesn't mean that I'd want to do this for much longer. There are now just 9 hours to go before he gets back, and I cannot wait.
So what have I been doing with myself? Pottering around, mostly. Replanting our window boxes. Staying late at the gym, then feeling knackered but virtuous. Making and eating elaborate cakes, watching the Olympics and trashy, girly telly (Sex and the City film, I can confirm that you are still rubbish). Some time with family, some time with friends. Some time snuggled up with my DVD of the National Theatre's production of Oklahoma, starring dreamy, dreamy Hugh Jackman (I heart him).
And, of course, indulging in the foods which the absentee doesn't like. See this plate of salads, grilled mushrooms and Tuscan tomato salad? All normally frowned upon. Ditto feta, something I really love and he really doesn't. So I took the opportunity to recreate one of my favourite salads as made by my brother-in-law's girlfriend - feta, pea, broad beans and mint, along with any other green veg knocking around, all dressed with olive oil and lemon. It's light, bright and refreshing, perfect for a sunny day and great with a barbecue. I made a huge batch and ate it over a few days, and it held up surprisingly well - although the cooked veg did start to turn grey rather than green. But it's all gone now, and the fridge is cleared of feta. Attention, passenger in seat 68K! It's safe for you to come home. So come quickly.
Feta, Pea, Broad Bean and Mint Salad
Based on a salad made by my brother-in-law's girlfriend. Hers is more delicious than mine, but I'm working on it.
- a handful of frozen peas and broad beans (or fresh if they're in season and you feel like podding them)
- other green vegetables - I used sugarsnaps and raw courgette, but green beans or broccoli would also be good
- feta cheese, crumbled (as much as you feel like)
- zest of a lemon (I had to use the juice because it was already zested)
- big pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- small bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
Blanch the vegetables by boiling or steaming quickly until just cooked, then dunk into iced water to keep the colour bright. I didn't bother with this bit, which is why some of the photos look a bit grey - but it still tasted fine, so the laziness/aesthetics trade-off is up to you.
Add the zest, pepper, mint, feta and olive oil and toss around with your hands. Done.