And one more for luck

It’s almost the end of National Asparagus Month and here is the easiest Asparagus recipe (apart from just just adding lovely salty butter and fresh cracked pepper) from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen (a great book). The recipe does call for elegantly thin asparagus but it doesn’t grow that way on my plot.

Although is is the end of Asparagus month the season goes on through June so enjoy it for another month, make the most of this lovely vegetable. This is what seasonal eating is all about, enjoying food at it freshest and looking forward to it each year.







Chilled Asparagus in Dilled Mustard Sauce


1 lb asparagus

1 cup of firm yoghurt

2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard

1/4 cup mayonnaise (optional)

2 tablespoons minced dill

2 tablespoons of minced chives

salt & black pepper to taste


Snap off and discard the tough bottoms of the asparagus. Steam the spears until just tender. Remove them immediately from the heat, rinse under cold water and drain well.

In a small bowl combine the yoghurt, mayonnaise (if you are using) mustard and whisk until smooth. Season to taste.

Arrange the asparagus and drizzle over the sauce. Although the recipe calls for minced herbs I have used finely chopped as I prefer the flavour, as always it is up to you.


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Another Yummy Asparagus Recipe

It must be the showers but the asparagus is growing great guns on the plot. Celebrating both National Asparagus Month and Nation Vegetarian Week here is a lovely simple dish. It makes a great dish for lunch or breakfast. Sauteed Asparagus with Eggs and Parmesan, this quantity serves 2 people. This comes from Delia Smith’s Summer Collection a classic book that should be on everyone’s shelf. Can you believe it was published 1993?


8oz (225g) asparagus, washed and snapped to remove the woody end

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 hen’s eggs or 12 quails eggs

1 tablespoon parmesan shavings

salt and freshly milled pepper


Use a vegetable peeler to shave off thin slices of the cheese.

For this recipe you need two frying pans or a frying pan and a griddle pan. In the first (or the griddle pan) heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat, add the asparagus stalks, then immediately turn the heat down to medium. Move the stalks around and turn them so they are a little toasted at the edges. This should take 3 -4 minutes but will depend on their thickness. When they are done, turn off the heat, add the balsamic vinegar and let them keep warm in the pan while you cook the eggs.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the other frying pan and cook the eggs over a medium heat. If you are using quails eggs break the shell with a sharp knife as cracking the shell will break the yolk.

Arrange the asparagus on a warm plate with the pan juices. top each portion with 1 hen’s eggs or 3 quail’s eggs and season. Then sprinkle on the parmesan and serve (as Delia says) pronto!

As one of my favourite ways of serving asparagus is simply with Hollanaise sauce, I have combined the two and added Hollandaise on the side.

This is so tasty I could eat it every day.


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Chargrilled Asparagus and Halloumi with Citrus Dressing

Keeping on the asparagus theme for National Asparagus Month I found this delicious recipes from The Abel & Cole Cookbook by Keith Abel a great book.  Isn’t it great when you find a new recipe that you absolutely love, this is so easy and tasty I think I am going to to be eating it a lot in future. Serves 4 as a starter (or two as a light lunch)








1 bunch of asparagus

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1/3 mug of pine nuts

1 pack of halloumi cheese

For the dressing

Jiuce of 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup of olive oil

2 tablespoons of choppped flat leaf parsley

salt & fresh ground black pepper


Whisk together the dressing ingredients.

Toast the pine nuts by tossing them in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until golden brown. Watch them carefully to make sure they don’t bur. Put them to one side.

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and blanch them in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain in cold water and pat dry, then coat in olive oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side on a hot griddle. I haven’t got a griddle so I just used a dry frying pan.

Slice the halloumi into eight slices, brush with a little oil and cook in the griddle pan for a few minutes on each side until the slices have good dark char marks.

Make a loose stack of asparagus on each plate, top this with the halloumi and pine nuts and drizzle of with the the dressing. OK so I stacked it the wrong way round for the photograph It still tasted great.

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Cheesy Baps

Whether you want something to dip into a nice hot bowl of soup, or something to fill for lunch these rolls are delicious. I love them with cheese and apple filling or tomato and basil or mozarella and salad. Best made with mature cheddar for flavour, I have also used red onion instead of spring onion. They freeze well, I keep some individually wrapped in the freezer. This recipe is from Flavoured Breads by Linda Collister

Cheese Baps with Cheddar and Onion

650g unbleached white bread flour

2 teaspoons of seasalt

1 teaspoon powdered mustard

150g grated cheddar

40g spring onion finely chopped

15g fresh yeast ( or 1 sachet of dried yeast)

200ml skimmed milk (at room temperature)

200ml water (at room temperature)

50 Mature cheddar for sprinkling

Extra flour for dusting, a little oil to grease the bowl and a little milk for glazing


Mix the flour, salt, mustard, cheese and onions in a large bowl. Make well in the centre.

In a small bowl, cream the yeast to a smooth liquid with the milk, then stir in the water. Pour into the well in the in the flour. If you are using dried yeast add this to the flour mix and proceed with the recipe. Gradually work the flour into the liquid to make a soft but not sticky dough.

turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 mintues until it feels smooth and elastic. It can also be kneaded for 5 mins at slow speed in a mixer with a dough hook.

Put the dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning it so that the entire surface is covered in oil. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise until doubled in size – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Knock back the dough and knead for a few seconds. Divide into 12 and pat into ovals. Arrange well apart on a floured baking sheet, brush with milk then sprinkle with cheese. Let rise until doubled in size – about 30 minutes.

Press your thumb into the middle of each bap, then bake in a preheated oven at 220C/425F/Gas 7 for 15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack, if you can wait that long!

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Lovely Winter Roast

The fire was lit, the lamps burning and last night was a time for comfort food. After an afternoon in the garden tidying the veg patch this was just what I needed. Filling, delicious and easy. Today’s recipe comes from The Cranks Bible by Nadine Abensur. One of those books that we should all have on the shelf – full of great dishes.

Puy Lentils with Roasted Vegetables (serves 6)








1 red onion cut into wedges

3 tablespoons of olive oil

250g Puy Lentils

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 lemon cut into quarters plus the zest of another one

1 garlic clove – crushed

1 – 2 crushed dried chillies or a splash of tabasco

750 ml water

1 tablespoon chopped coriander

1 tablespoon of chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb fresh spinach or chard

Winter Roast Vegetables

6 small carrots

18 or more chestnut mushrooms

12 or more whole baby onions or shallots

3 or more courgettes

1 small or half a medium butternut squash

6 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of tamari

A dash of brandy or marsala

1 – 2 crushed dried chillies

A sprig of fresh thyme

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method – for lentils

Fry the onion in the olive oil until transparent, then stir in the lentils, cumin, lemon quarters, garlic, and tabasco or chillies.

Add the water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, adding more water if necessary. When the lentils are tender remove from the heat, add the chopped coriander and parsley, then season. Push the spinach into the lentils at the end and stir in until wilted. Before serving add the strands of lemon zest.

Method – for roast vegetables

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas mark 7.

Chop the vegetables into equal sized pieces, place in a roasting pan with the whole peeled garlic and baste them with the olive oil, thyme, brandy and the seasoning. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes or more until tender.

You can adapt this using any winter veg available.


Super Summer Broad Bean dish

A great dish for the summer with the fresh baby broad beans coming through.This comes from In One Pot by Blanche Vaughan, a great book with dish after dish that I want to try.

Broad Bean and Dill Pilaf 







250g basmati rice

20 unsalted butter

1 large onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves. sliced

1 teaspoon ground allspice

250g broad beans, podded

20g bunch of dill, chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper


Soak the rice in plenty of water with a pinch of salt while you are preparing the other ingredients.

In a heavy-based pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt and fry gently for at least 5 minutes. Once the onions are soft and sweet, add the garlic.

Drain the rice.

Turn up the heat and add the allspice and rice the the onion mixture. Fry for a minute, stirring so that the rice is coated with butter. Season well and add the broad beans and dill.

Pour over enough cold water to just about 1cm over the surface and cover with a piece of baking parchment and then the lid.

Turn the heat under the pan to medium and cook for 10 – 15 minutes or until the rice is soft and the water absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes before serving.

this isexpecially good served with tahini yoghurt or cucumber raita. I have also used fennel when I can’t get dill.


My favourite cabbage recipe

I used to hate cabbage as a child but I love it now and this is one of my favourite ways. From Delia Smith’s Cookery Course Part 1 published 1978 – thank you Delia.

Cabbage with Garlic and Juniper


1 lb cabbage prepared and shredded (use any but I prefer savoy), 1/2 medium onion, 1 clove of garlic (crushed), 6 juniper berries, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt & freshly milled black pepper


In a good solid saucepan or flameproof casserole, gently heat the olive oil and soften the onion in it for 5 minutes. Meanwhile crush the juniper berries (either in a pestle & mortar or or by crushing them with the back of a tablespoon). Then add these to the onions along with the crushed garlic. Fry for about 1 minute longer, then add the shredded cabbage. Stir it around until it is glistening with oil, season with salt and pepper, then put a lid on and let it cook in its own juice for 10 minutes – stirring once or twice so that it cooks evenly.

I also use leeks instead of onions. So quick and easy but delicious. Goes beautifully with the Christmas dinner.


Another stuffed marrow recipe – but with a difference!

Marrows seem to have been one of the successful vegetables in a bad gardening year. This version using hazelnuts is dlicious and is from Vegetarian Cookery by Rose Elliot published in 1988. I love this book.

Marrow with Hazelnut Stuffing

Hazelnut stuffed marrow



1 marrow weighing about 1kg, 2 large onions (peeled and chopped), 50g/2oz butter or veg margarine, 100g/4oz hazelnuts (roasted skinned and grated or processed), 100g/4oz wholemeal breadcrumbs, 2-3 tablespoons of chopped sage, salt and pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 200c/400F/gas mark6. Cut both ends off the marrow and scoop out the seeds. Fry the onions in the butter or margarine until soft then add the breadcrumbs, hazelnuts, sage and salt and pepper to taste. Replace the sliced off ends and wrap in greaseproof paper or foil. Bake for 1 hour, until the marrow is tender when pierced with a skewer.

Rose recommends that this be served with apple sauce, I also like it with a little grated cheese.

Yummie green soup for vegetarian week

Asparagus and Sorrel Soup

The recipe this month comes from Eat Your Greens by Sophie Grigson, published in 1993 (that’s nearly 20 yrs ago!). While the asparagus, which has been late this year due to the cold weather, and the sorrel are still in season, this is a delight.  You can use asparagus trimmings for this recipe. This lovely light fresh soup and can be served hot or cold.

Serves 2 – 3


175 g (6oz) chopped asparagus or asparagus trimmings, 40g (1 1/2oz) butter, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped clove of garlic, 1 large handful of shredded sorrel, 1 tablespoon plain flour, 600ml (1 pint) water from cooking the asparagus or stock, salt and pepper, 50ml (2 fl oz) double cream, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chervil or chives.


Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions and garlic without browning. Add the sorrel and stir until it collapses to a mush. Sprinkle over the flour and stir for a few seconds then a little ata time add the asparagus water or stock. Add the asparagus and season. Simmer for 20 mins.

Process or puree until smooth and if you want, sieve to remove any stringy fibres. Just before serving stir in the cream and chervil or chives.