My top five vegan-friendly London restaurants

Leaves Eggplant Vegetarian Vegetables NaturalVeganism is all over the UK press at the moment. With the rise in popularity of the Veganuary initiative – committing to go vegan for the month of January – magazines and newspapers are bigging up their pick of London’s vegan-friendly restaurants.

But, a lot of the suggestions, I think, are a bit of a cop out! Recommendations such as pizza places serving you a Marinara, i.e.  a pizza with a tomato sauce, some oil and herbs, are far from inspiring for me. Or, suggesting visiting a restaurant where there is one delicious vegan side dish on a predominantly meat-oriented menu.

I can understand the reason for listing eateries that cater for meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans alike, in that you still want to be able to eat dinner out with your carnivorous friends should you choose to become vegan in January and beyond. However, a cheeseless pizza doesn’t excite me. Neither does the prospect of a lonely vegetable side dish.

I have taken on the Veganuary challenge this month. When I eat out as a temporary vegan, I want to feel excited when I pick up that menu. I want numerous options to choose from. I want something tempting, creative and satisfying to eat. I want to guarantee that when I turn up to a restaurant that my dietary requirements have been catered for; I don’t want half-arsed, ill thought-out food. That’s why, I would much rather go to a wholly vegan (or vegetarian) restaurant.

Some of these places may be obvious to those already familiar with London’s meat-free dining scene. But they’re worth a mention, in case you’re new to the veg game.

These restaurants are in no particular order, but they are all tried-and-tested, and very much worth a visit:

  1. Itadaki-zen: for organic and vegan Japanese dining. The first vegan Japanese restaurant in Europe, in fact. Despite being situated in the central chaos of Kings Cross, this small restaurant exudes both tranquility and quality. We arrived around 9pm on a Tuesday night and the place was almost full. With an extensive menu, you can expect to find deep-fried goodness in the form of vegetable tempura and spring rolls, freshly-made, aesthetically-pleasing sushi maki rolls filled with exotic mushrooms, avocado and raw vegetables, udon noodles in a vegan-friendly broth topped with tofu steak, as well as a wealth of organic, vegan wines. I’d recommend the Itadaki-zen bento box as you can try a range of dishes that way. Main courses start at around £12.
  2. Vanilla Black: for an unforgettable fine-dining experience. Recommended in the Michelin guide, this is the place to try inspiring, innovative and unusual flavour pairings from an ever-changing, seasonal menu. Not everything is vegan on their main menu, but helpfully, they do have a separate vegan menu. Every detail is thought about: the food is presented beautifully, brought to you by friendly, welcoming and attentive staff. I even marvelled at the lovely crockery and glassware on both of my visits. Also, if you’re on Instagram, you must follow Vanilla Black’s account. The owner, Andrew Dargue, posts up behind-the-scenes photos of their food, interspersed with hilarious, everyday musings. Also, Andrew always likes my Instagram photos, which brings me joy. Two courses for £31. Three courses for £41.50. Treat yo’ self; have three.
  3. Ethos: for colourful salads and gourmet buffet grub. This elegant, pay-by-weight buffet restaurant is a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street. With indoor trees, marble tables and striking blue decor, the restaurant is spacious and modern. As about 50% of its menu is vegan-friendly, Ethos offers a wealth of vibrant, animal-free dishes. The salads have Middle Eastern and Meditteranean influences, there are plenty of homemade dips like houmous and guacamole on offer, and hot dishes using fresh vegetables and pulses. Oh, and vegan cakes and sweet treats of course. Depending on how big your eyes and belly are, you can get a decent plate of food for about £14. My tip is to pick the less weighty options like salads to get more bang for your buck.
  4. Buhler and Co: for a hearty, meat-free brunch. This compact, vegetarian cafe on the busy Chingford Road in Walthamstow makes the best use of its space. What was probably previously a ground floor flat has been made into a light and airy eatery, with a Scandinavian feel: white walls, low-hanging light fittings, lots of green, leafy plants, and simple, wooden furniture. This feels like an exciting place to be. With a small room up front, a covered garden with heaters and a small room out the back, you’ll find space to have a decent coffee and a delectable brekkie. Try the vegan version of their Indian-inspired vege fry up, and a soya flat white on the side. From £5.50 (cheaper if you just want toast).
  5. Ottolenghi: for sensational vegetable small plates. Okay okay, so I’m cheating a bit with this choice. This isn’t a vegan restaurant, it’s not a meat-free restaurant, but oh my, is it worth a visit. Ottolenghi is one of my idols: the king crusader of vegetables playing the hero on the plate, his restaurants are top notch. I mean, I’m a huge fan of vegetables, but never had I thought they could taste as good as they did when I visited Yotam Ottolenghi’s Islington restaurant. Small plates of the freshest of ingredients, cooked to perfection. As some of his vegetable dishes are cheese- and yoghurt-oriented, call ahead and ask about vegan alternatives. £30-£40 a head for sharing plates and wine.

Other tried-and-tested big veggie players you should visit: The Gate, Mildreds, Manna, Amico Bio.

Vegan-friendly restaurants I need to try, stat (watch this space):

  1. The new vegan fried chick’n shop everyone is talking about: Temple of Hackney, which is, funnily enough, in Hackney.
  2. The community Hornbeam cafe, Walthamstow, which uses local-sourced, organic produce.
  3. South Indian vegetarian restaurant, Rasa, in Stoke Newington, Hackney. I’ve been to the non-veggie sister restaurant off Oxford Street, but I’m intrigued to try the 100% veggie place.

Have you visited a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that I shouldn’t miss out on? Please comment below if so; I’m always looking for new places to try.

Veganuary ideas: vegan banana bread pancakes

Happy New Year to you! If, like me, you have decided to take on the Veganuary challenge, I’m sure you’re looking for vegan recipe inspiration all over the web. 

After a week back at work following Christmas, I wanted to treat myself to a tasty and rich breakfast at the weekend. 

I’ve found so far on my vegan journey that cooking involves a fair bit of planning. However, I put this recipe together with just a couple of vegan staples and otherwise usual storecupboard ingredients.


These pancakes accidentally taste like banana bread. I added mashed banana as an egg substitute, but unknowingly, it also adds extra natural sweetness which is a real treat. The banana is also a great energy booster.

I used coconut milk as I wanted my pancakes to be creamy and sweet, but you could use any dairy free milk depending on your preference. A lot of recipes recommend almond milk; I imagine its nutty, earthy flavour would contrast well against the sweet banana and sugar.

The self-raising flour and baking powder together make these pancakes so light and fluffy. Eating them made me feel like I was in the film, Matilda. Whenever I think about thick, American-style pancakes I think of that film. It’s one of my faves.

I adapted this from a non-vegan recipe, which says it should make 4-6 servings. But my version serves 2! 

Ingredients

  • 140g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 medium, ripe banana
  • 130ml coconut milk (or your preferred dairy-free alternative)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Dairy free spread for frying
  • A generous drizzle of Maple syrup and your favourite toppings to serve 

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Makes 7-8 pancakes (2 portions)

Method

  1.  Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the banana in a jug or bowl and pour in the milk. Stir well with a metal spoon and then add the olive oil. Stir again until smooth. Don’t worry if there’s an occasional lump of banana.
  3. Tip the milk and banana mix into the dry ingredients and whisk well, until you have a thick batter.
  4. Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and add a knob of dairy free spread. When it’s melted, pick the pan up and move the spread around so it covers the base of the pan.
  5. Add slightly less than a ladleful of pancake mixture at a time. You should be able to fit three pancakes in the pan. Cook until golden, roughly 3-5 minutes on each side. Flip them over with a fish slice. When they’re cooked, remove them from the pan and either put in the oven on a low heat to stay warm, or put to one side. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the batter.
  6. Serve stacked on a plate with a drizzle of maple syrup and your favourite toppings. I recommend washing them down with a fresh cup of coffee.

This recipe was inspired by BBC Food.

Versatile vegetable pho

If you’re feeling under the weather or you simply need a hug-in-a-bowl to comfort you on these cold wintry days, I recommend making yourself some warming and aromatic vegetable pho.

Last week I came down with a nasty cold. The thought of leaving my cosy flat to go on the hunt for a tin of uninspiring soup didn’t appeal, so instead, I decided to conjure a vegetarian pho up from the ingredients I had at home.

Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’) is a Vietnamese noodle soup, traditionally made with rice noodles, meat and herbs, covered in a broth made from stock.

After having a look at some inspiring and achievable vegetarian pho recipes on thekitchn and ohmyveggies I was confident I could knock something tasty and revitalising up.

This Vietnamese-inspired vegetable broth consists of a fragrant gingery broth, soft silky noodles, sweet carrot ribbons, chestnut mushrooms and soy-marinated tofu.


An earthy and warming ginger and onion broth makes up the base of this pho. The punchy taste of ginger is balanced out the sweet addition of hoisin sauce.

The slender carrot slices have a slight bite and contrast well against the earthy chestnut mushrooms

It looks inviting; a steamy bowl full to the brim with silky noodles, spices, herbs and vegetables.

It smells like a healthier version of super noodles – I mean this in a good way – a comforting smell; your senses know this will make you feel better.

I used these ingredients because they’re what I had in the fridge, but you could easily swap out the veggies and tofu, depending on your preference.

Ingredients

  • 100g firm tofu (I always use Cauldron)
  • 500ml water
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 shallot or small white onion
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ medium carrot
  • 4 medium chesnut mushrooms
  • 1 nest of rice noodles
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • a handful of basil leaves

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 1

Method

  1.  Drain the tofu by wrapping it in kitchen roll, placing it on a plate and propping a couple of heavy kitchen objects on top – like a wooden chopping board and a large frying pan. Leave for as long as possible for the water to drain out; though 15 minutes should be enough.
  2. Boil the kettle with at least 500ml water. Finely chop the stock cube and put into a measuring jug. Pour 500ml boiling water into the jug and whisk until the stock cube has dissolved.
  3. Halve and thinly slice the onion or shallot. Peel the ginger and either finely chop or grate it. Put a large saucepan on to boil, adding the onion, stock, ginger and salt, and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cut the mushrooms into quarters. Chop off the ends of the carrot and finely slice, using a mandolin if you have one.
  5. Put a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat and pour in the oil. Fry the mushrooms and carrots until they soften up.
  6. While the veggies are cooking, unwrap the tofu from the kitchen roll and chop into small cubes, roughly 4cm.
  7. When the veggies have cooked, set them aside. Add the tofu to the pan and cook for five minutes, turning frequently with a fish slice. Pour in the soy sauce and continue to cook until the tofu has browned up – roughly another five to seven minutes.
  8. While the tofu is browning up, cook the noodles by the pack instructions.
  9. Add the chilli flakes to the tofu pan, along with the cooked mushrooms and carrot slices. Pour over the hoisin sauce, reduce the heat and cook gently for another five minutes.
  10. Transfer the cooked noodles to a soup bowl, followed by the tofu and veggies, as well as the basil leaves. Pour over the gingery broth and serve with chopsticks for noodle grabbing, along with a soup spoon for broth slurping.

Tofu and vegetable summer rolls


These Vietnamese summer rolls are light and silky on the outside and a tasty tangle of textures on the inside. 

They’re the perfect option for a fun, healthy dinner party starter, an impressive party snack or a light summertime supper.

Crunchy tofu pieces cooked in a creamy, peanut sauce sit atop sleek pan-fried vegetable ribbons and fine, cooked egg noodles. All wrapped up in silky softened rice paper.

Vietnam is a country I’ve wanted to visit for years. Of course for its colourful history, amazing landscape and sandy beaches, but  mostly for its cuisine.

London’s Vietnamese restaurants

The Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsland Road in Dalston, east London, are my go-to for a fail safe, delicious meal. From Vermicelli noodles and claypot curries to stir-fries and pho, there’s a wealth of amazing dishes to try, made with fresh herbs and vegetables, seafood and satisfying carbs.

These summer rolls are a little fiddly to make, but only in their assembly. If you’re a dab hand at rolling a burrito, then you’ll get on just fine with these delightful little wraps.

They’re really versatile, so you could easily swap out the vegetables I used for whatever you’ve got in the fridge. Though I would recommend using veggies that you can slice into long, thin strips. Also, if you have some fresh herbs, like mint or coriander, pop them in for a lovely flavour addition.

Traditionally they’re served cold, with raw vegetables and cold fish or meat, but I wanted to cook my filling to crisp up the tofu and soften the vegetables. I served them lukewarm with the indulgent satay dipping sauce, and some sriracha chilli and plum sauces for a bit of variety.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small courgette
  • 8 rice paper wrappers
  • 200g firm tofu, drained
  • 1 fine egg noodle nest
  • 1 green pepper

For the satay sauce:

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 drops rice wine
  • 2 tbsp cold water

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2 as supper or 4 as a starter

Method

  1. Pop the noodles in a large bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave to soften.
  2. Place all of the sauce ingredients into a measuring jug and whizz up with a hand blender. The consistency should be fairly runny. If it’s a little thick, add a drop more cold water and mix in.
  3. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and pour in the oil.
  4. Slice the tofu into slim rectangular pieces and add to the frying pan. Cook until browned up, stirring every few minutes. Half way through cooking, add a tablespoon of the satay sauce to coat the tofu pieces. Stir.
  5. While the tofu is cooking, slice the onion, courgette and pepper into very fine slices.
  6. After about 10 minutes the tofu should have crisped up. When it’s ready, set it to one side on a small plate.
  7. Add the vegetable ribbons to the pan and cook until softened, stirring often. This should take roughly five minutes. When they’ve softened, take them off the heat.
  8. Drain the noodles and put them back in the bowl.
  9. Pour some near-boiling water into a large shallow bowl or deep plate. Take one sheet of rice paper and dip it in the water until it softens all over.
  10. Carefully place the paper onto a chopping board. Time to assemble the rolls. Place a small amount of noodles on the bottom third of the paper, then layer some vegetables on top, followed by three pieces of tofu. Tuck in the ends and then flip the long edge over the filling, rolling it over until all of the paper is used up. Place the roll on a chopping board or plate to serve. Repeat this process until all of your rolls are ready.
  11. Transfer the satay sauce to a small sauce dish along with any other sauces you may like to dip your rolls in.
  12. Serve your rolls with a salad garnish on the side if you fancy it. Enjoy!

This recipe was inspired by Minimalist Baker.

 

Review: Boceto, Hackney


If you’re looking for a hip Hackney hangout where the cocktails are as tasty as the sharing plates, then you have to try Boceto, a delightful little tapas bar smack bang in the middle of the bustling metropolis of Mare Street.

I stumbled across Boceto while browsing eateries on Google Maps (I often can’t find what I want on review websites), as I was in the Hackney area and wanted somewhere new to try on a date night.

When we arrived the place was dead, which wasn’t a reassuring sign, but we were hungry and the idea of £5 cocktails appealed.

Because of how quiet it was we could choose where we wanted to sit, which gets a big thumbs up from me. I’ve been to restaurants of a similar size and with the same lack of punters in the past, where the waiting staff have been pernickety about where we could and couldn’t sit. Puts me right off, that does.

The decor

The decor is industrial chic with a DIY twist: exposed brick walls, green hanging plants, big bags of coffee and limited edition Estrella on display, spirits hanging from chains at the back of the bar. There’s loads going on in a relatively small space.

A really interesting detail that I only noticed later on in the night was that two pence pieces had been stuck all over the bar front, giving a really stylish, brassy look. I also appreciated the selection of light-up globes towards the back of the restaurant. A nice touch, hinting on the imported feel and cuisine.

The cocktails

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We ordered cocktails to start us off, of course.

I went for a cherry and coconut crush, a rich and decadent mix of cherry brandy, Koko Kanu coconut rum (a more refined Malibu), Wray and Nephew rum, coconut milk and lime. It was served in a coconut, with a lime on top that had a flaming sugar cube inside (the lime in de coconut). Unfortunately I didn’t get a snap before the fire had gone out, but it was fun while it lasted.

We were brought and hydrated with complimentary mint-infused water, which was a nice touch.

NB: apologies for the ghostly hue of the photos.

The tapas

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I was pleasantly surprised at how veggie-friendly the menu was. My other half, Dom, is vegetarian; unlike myself, I’m a fishy fraud.

Half of the options on the menu were vegetarian, which meant we had loads of choice. I’ve been for tapas in the past where the only meat-free options were potatoes and bread, which makes for a rather beige spread, so we were really pleased with this selection.

Six dishes were recommended between two. We opted for:

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Toasted sourdough topped with chopped tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. The tomatoes were well-seasoned and lusciously slathered in garlic, and the sourdough soaked up the oil beautifully.
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Croquetta. Up there as one of my favourite plates. Homemade breaded croquettes filled with creamy chopped shiitake and chestnut mushrooms. Divine.

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Padron peppers; a classic. Though they were big and juicy and covered in crisp rock salt, they were a little underdone for my liking. I like my padron peppers well-cooked and shrivelled.

Spanish tortilla. Another staple choice. Cheesy, potatoey, eggy. Ticked all the boxes but wasn’t a knockout.

Orange-stuffed olives. Huge green olives, filled with dainty orange slices and rolled in oregano. I’ve never come across this flavour combination before, but it works really well. The tarte taste of the olives and oregano were offset by the citrusy sweet orange slices. Definitely order these.

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Patatas bravas. Crisp potatoes topped with a rich and spicy tomato sauce and the satisfyingly creamy and garlicky aioli. You can’t not order patatas bravas when having tapas.

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And of course, there was room for dessert. We shared a plate of cinnamon-doused churros with a warm chocolate dipping sauce. A delicious end to a top meal.

The staff were friendly, unpretentious (it is in Hackney after all) and chatty. The only thing missing was more people. Having opened up in after Christmas 2015, the place was very quiet. I hope it remains as it’s a fantastic spot.

Check it out: Boceto Hackney, 171 Mare Street.

Review: Mildreds, King’s Cross

Well, this is my first blog in some time. Having had a wedding to plan and execute, followed by a lovely two-week break in Sri Lanka, cooking and blogging has been on the back-burner for a while. But after an amazing wedding and honeymoon, I’m back in the game!

Last night I went to Mildreds in King’s Cross. I went to the flagship Soho branch a few years back, but the lack of opportunity to book a table in a tiny restaurant put me off going back. The no-booking policy still applies to their new branch, however, the restaurant is much bigger so the wait to be seated is less of an issue for those of us easily hangered. In fact, as we got there just after 6pm on a Tuesday, we were seated straight away.

Having opened its first Soho restaurant in the 80s, Mildreds has been serving vegetarian food to the capital for almost 30 years. When I moved to London seven years ago, it was the go-to place for vegetarians. It is something of an institution. Serving an array of dishes from across the globe – everything from curries and tagines to burgers and pies – there is something for everyone.

Earlier in the day, I’d made a feeble resolution with myself that I would order something healthy, but despite my well-to-do mental note, I couldn’t resist the classic smoked tofu burger.


Now this is a proper veggie burger. None of that ‘cheese-and-vegetables-in-a-brioche-bun-posing-as-a-burger’ malarky, but a full-on brick-sized patty made up of smoked tofu, lentils and piquillo peppers, topped with melted cheese, rocket, relish, red onion and tomato. It was hearty and tasty. My only criticism is the raw onion; it’s not worth the lingering smell on your breath.

I ordered chips and basil mayo on the side. The chips were fat and crisp, and as a salt fiend, they were served well-sprinkled with rock salt. The basil mayo was creamy and dreamy, and made an excellent dipping sauce for both the burger and chips.


I opted for a more virtuous drink option to wash it all down with; a strawberry, pineapple and apple juice. It reminded me of the room temperature juices Wagamama serve. Thick, fruity and sweet. A little on the pricey side for £4.25 perhaps.


If you’re after a less carby option, my friend opted for the chickpea, cauliflower and apricot tagine, which was presented beautifully with a side of quinoa tabbouleh and green harissa. And a side of every foodstagrammer’s favourite, smashed avocado with blue corn chips.

For a return visit, I think I’d opt for a couple of small plates. The chilli, lime and mirin fried tofu with mango soba noodle salad sounds delicious, as do their dips.

The staff were friendly and attentive and the atmosphere was relaxed. The place was packed and buzzing by the time we left.

I’d definitely recommend giving this newer branch of Mildreds a go.

Creamy pesto courgetti with asparagus and mushrooms


Well, I’m a couple of years late boarding the carb alternatives train, partly because carbs bring me joy on a daily basis and I’ve never felt the need to be deprived of them. Also, I won’t allow myself to buy anymore cooking gadgets for the sake of our tiny, crammed galley kitchen, despite the distinct urge to buy a spiraliser when they were last year’s go-to bit of kit. However, my lovely soon-to-be in-laws got me a mandolin for my birthday so I thought I’d have a go at making courgetti.

Courgetti, as I’m sure many of you will know, is a healthy and green alternative to spaghetti. By slicing a courgette into thin strips using a mandolin and then slicing them again with a knife into finer strips, you can achieve a similar shape to spaghetti. You can of course also use a spiraliser which may be even simpler.

Courgetti is very low in calories. You feel a bit smug and virtuous while eating it. And, surprisingly, it did fill me up. I think it’s a psychological thing, but after finishing this dish, despite it being very tasty, I instantly felt unsatisfied. This is probably because I’ve got a big appetite and am used to shovelling a vat-full of pasta into my mouth. However, after waiting for 20 minutes or so, while the little courgette worms started to make their way through my digestive system I did begin to feel full up. So if you’re a bit reluctant like I was, give it a go. I’ll definitely be making it again.

I was inspired to make pesto while flicking through Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Cook book. She suggested using pistachios in her version, but I didn’t have any in, so I opted for cashews instead. The combination of the crunchy cashews with the zesty lemon, the rich sour cream and pungent basil works really well and reminds me of summer.

This meal is a great mid-week option as you can have it ready within 20 minutes AND because it’s got so much goodness in it, you can balance it out with a tasty dessert. I just happened to pair the courgetti with vegetables I had in the fridge, but you could swap asparagus for crunchy mangetout or green beans and perhaps some butter beans instead of mushrooms to achieve that lovely earthy texture.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms
  • 4 asparagus spears
  • Finely grated cheddar cheese, to serve

For the creamy cashew pesto sauce

  • 10 or so jumbo cashew nuts
  • a large handful of fresh basil
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • finely grated cheese, to taste
  • plenty of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or creme fraiche

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 1

Method

  1. Finely slice the courgette using a mandolin. Pile up your courgette slices on a chopping board and thinly slice them lengthways. Set them aside in a bowl.
  2. Prepare the pesto. If you have a food processor, put all of the pesto ingredients – except for the sour cream – into the processor and whizz them up until mostly smooth. Don’t worry if it’s not entirely smooth, it’s nice to have a little bit of crunch. If, like me, you don’t have a food processor, do the same but chop the cashew nuts up with a knife as small as you can first, then use a measuring jug to put the ingredients into and whizz them up with a hand whisk. When you’ve got a paste, mix in the sour cream.
  3. Put the grill on a high heat and place the asparagus spears under the grill for 5-1o minutes, or until they have softened.
  4. Put a frying pan on to a medium high heat and pour in the sunflower oil. Fry the mushrooms for five or so minutes, until they begin to soften.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the kettle. Pour boiled water over the courgette slices and leave for 30 seconds to a minute, then drain.
  6. Add the courgetti to the pan and reduce the heat. Stir in the creamy sauce and take off the heat.
  7. When the asparagus has softened, remove it from the grill. Chop the spears in three and add to the pan. Stir all of the ingredients in well together and season well.
  8. Serve in a pasta bowl topped with some finely grated cheese.