Thursday, 18 June 2009

Mortadella Pasta Salad

Midway last through last week I ventured to the NEC in Birmingham for the Good Food Show/Gardeners World Live. The Gardener's World section was about three times the size of the Good Food Show, and had outside show gardens rather like Chelsea Flower Show. Some were spectacular like this one which had plants growing out of all sorts of containers, from a car to the fountain in the washing machine and even old hand basins. It looked fantastic.

There was also a flower marquee which had displays from a variety of growers, with the added bonus that you could buy the flowers and plants that were on display. I bought a fuchsia, two lavenders, one pink and one with variegated leaves, and a packet of sorrel and some sprouting seeds from this man below.

He had a display with an incredible array of salads, vegetables and herbs and was taking bits off his display so that people could taste before buying!

The Good Food Show however was disappointing. There were not very many producers there, as I said it was about a third of a large exhibition hall, compared to the entire exhibition hall which it took up when I last went about 3-4 years ago. There were again very few meat producers, other than sausages and lots of large familiar brand names with enormous stands. This is the second large food fair that I have been to this year which was disappointing and it led me to wonder if and why smaller producers are giving up on the large food fairs. Are they more likely to go to farmers markets which have become much more widespread in the last five years. Is it the sheer cost of a stand at these fairs. One stall holder I spoke to at the Real Food Festival said it had cost him £2000 for his stall! Many of the small producers just cannot afford this, which is a shame as it means there is much less variety and far less producers. Or is it, dare I say it, the credit crunch?

Whatever the reason, this is a cheap and easy pasta salad to make, it comes from Nigella Express, and whilst it actually has very few ingredients it is really tasty and very quick to make. I'm adding this dish to this weeks Presto Pasta Night, this week hosted by Daphne of More Than Words. Check out her blog tomorrow to see the round up.

Mortadella Pasta Salad (from Nigella Express)
(Serves 4)

250g fusilli
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp German mustard
1 thick slice mortadella, diced into 5mm squares
1 x 20g packet curly parsley, finely chopped
25g grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Meanwhile whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and mustard to make the dressing.

Drain the cooked pasta and tip into a large bowl, pour the dressing over the pasta and toss well to coat.

When cool, stir in the mortadella pieces, chopped parsley, and parmesan flakes. Check the seasoning, add salt and pepper as needed.

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