The October issue of Delicious promised a spring clean – complete with exclamation mark, to highlight, presumably, the “delicious detox” recipes, the 7 ways with avocado, and the super-greens pasta.  Putting aside her quite natural revulsion to the term “detox”*, the librarycook opened up the magazine and commenced her perusal. And found an array of green.  Celery, fennel and apple juice. Kimchi.  Avocado fattoush**.

Clearly, there was to be no escape from the springtime delusion, and the librarycook knew when she was beaten.  But at least pasta would be involved, she thought, finally settling on Rigatoni with Pickled Fennel and Preserved Lemon.

Alas, for as with most pasta recipes, there was little or no reading time to be factored in to its preparation.  Sure, the fennel needed to be pickled and chilled ahead of time, potentially providing a few hours for the enjoyment of an improving book or two (Electric Hotel, by Dominic Smith – an entertaining and informative read, by the way).  But real life intruded itself on this thought, for, with the school holidays over, the librarycook doesn’t have the day at her disposal, but instead must, like Shakespeare’s whining schoolboy, creep like a snail, unwillingly to school.  Books, and food, for that matter, don’t buy themselves, after all!

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So, having pickled the fennel, fished out the preserved lemon from the dark recesses of the pantry, picked an enormous amount of parsley from the garden***, toasted the pine nuts, grated the cheese, juiced the lemon, and made a most deliciously fragrant pesto, and put the whole thing together, how was it?

Beyond excellent.  There’s something about cheese and lemon that speaks to the librarycook’s depths, and, added to the gently vinegary fennel, this was a dish more than worthy addition to the librarycook’s repertoire. Even Mr librarycook was moved to note that this one’s a keeper, high praise indeed!

*Do these people not read?  There’s no such thing as a detox diet.  Read this if you are reluctant to believe the librarycook, renaissance woman though she is : https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/detox-what-they-dont-want-you-to-know/

**Although actually that one looked pretty good, thought the librarycook, and would certainly get those radishes and avocados out of the overflowing veggie drawer.

***The librarycook’s garden is currently under threat from the parsley.  Although it’s a close-run thing with the lemongrass.  Ideally, everything cooked by the librarycook for the next few weeks should incorporate either or, ideally,  both.  Harold Holt could be in there.  Possibly with Lord Lucan.

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