Arthur Potts Dawson, talented chef, restaurateur, cookery writer and social entrepreneur (and Mick Jagger's nephew by proxy) brought out a lovely, little gem of a book a couple of months ago called Eat Your Veg. It's not a vegetarian cookbook as such, as meat and fish do feature. Nor does it seek to brow beat you into mung bean submission. No, with it's simple layout and approach and bright, colourful photos, Mr Potts Dawson has brought together an attractive bunch of recipes where legumes are the main star of the show and since picking the book up, I have spent many an hour, under the tree in our garden, wistfully leafing through the pages, whilst the world around me falls down in huge, great, pissy drops to the ground. If the weather had been a bit better then perhaps I would have felt enticed to try out his Fennel and Sardine Ceviche. Or maybe his summery Couscous Salad with Iceberg lettuce, tomato and mint. Had the thermometer even nudged towards 20 degrees, I might have even gone in for one of his chilled soups, as both the retro cucumber and red pepper soups have taken my fancy. But seeing as it's been so miserable lately and distinctly (dare I say it) Northern, the other day I felt that I should have a crack at Arthur's Cheesy Peas on Toast. Aye! Peas, with Cheese!
It was always going to be an interesting proposition this one. Familiar with the comfortable combination of baked beans and cheese on toast, the notion of introducing cheese to peas seemed alien at first but the more I scanned the page, the more sense it made. All the recipe calls for is a silky, warm white sauce, a healthy whack of cheddar and parmesan, a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg, a touch of seasoning and some gloriously green peas, frozen, or fresh if you have the time, cooked in salted water for 5 minutes and added right at the end. So all the flavournoids and correct components for a delicious meal are right there. Salt, sweet, spice, umami, erm... texture, bish bash bosh, this had the lot. And the kids loved it too. In short, Cheesy Peas is a winner.
OK, it might not actually look like the most attractive of dishes to serve up (which flies in the face of what I originally said about Arthur's recipes) and after posting pictures on Twitter and Platter, some detractors did comment, quite unkindly really, that it looked like a plate of sick.
Well let me just say this, Cheesy Peas is the best tasting plate of sick that I have tried in a long while.
And I've tried a few.