Tag: asparagus

A fresh look for spring

With spring in the air and finally at the market, plus our move into the new apartment and Lilias turning one in a couple of weeks (!!!) it feels like a everything is refreshing and new things are happening. So I cut my hair short again, and then followed up by redesigning the blog.

It is coming up two years since we moved to San Francisco and I started this blog. I felt like things needed an update so I called on a certain someone with some rather fabulous design skills, Catherine.  An old English student of mine and a good friend’s little sister, Catherine quickly became a good friend to me as well. After talking to her about the blog, she very kindly did the calligraphy for the header. Isn’t it gorgeous? Thank you Catherine x

I am starting off with a fresh, spring salad as per Catherine’s request. It is crunchy and zingy as well as being strangely comforting. We ate it warm, but I think leftovers the next day would be pretty good too. Pity there weren’t any…

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Spring Noodle Salad
Serves four

Soba noodles (according to appetite)
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame beans
Small bundle of asparagus cut into quarters
Four spring onions finely sliced
A handful of snap peas cut into thirds
A large handful of fresh coriander
1 lime
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt
A small handful of peanuts
3 tbsp of sesame seeds

Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions and put aside in a large bowl.

Gently fry the finely sliced spring onions in a little sunflower oil until softened, then add the parboiled asparagus and edamame beans to fry for a few more minutes. When these are cooked but still have some bite, add them to the noodles with the roughly chopped coriander, the juice of the lime, sesame and sunflower oil, rice wine vinegar, salt, peanuts and sesame seeds. Toss it all together and eat while it is still warm. I would recommend an accompanying cold beer for balance.

We added hot sauce to ours afterwards because we were eating with Lilias, but you could definitely add the chilli at the beginning when you are frying the spring onion.

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My next post is an easy rhubarb and strawberry cake because you have to enjoy both the sweet and the savoury sides of spring. Also because anything with rhubarb makes me happy, especially if you can eat it with a cup of tea.

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More Sunny Citrus

Our local farmer’s market is still brimming with citrus fruit and we are still are eating our way through it. Lilias particularly likes mandarins and this is what happens if I leave her unattended for a minute. Or I find her in the dishwasher. Yes, actually inside it.

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Today I don’t have a recipe as such, more an idea for using both the new season asparagus, the beautiful slim, tender shoots that they are, and the last of the winter oranges.

Asparagus Salad

A small bundle of asparagus
Sea salt and olive oil
Half a lemon
1 orange
Half a small fennel bulb
A small handful of black kalamata olives, halved

Break the woody ends off your asparagus and lay it in a roasting dish with a drizzle of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon and a sprinkling of salt. Roast for about 15 minutes at 200°C- this will vary depending on the size of your asparagus. (Also, my oven is a strange and temperamental beast, so I always feel a little nervous giving cooking instructions. New oven in three sleeps!)

When these are done, lay them on a plate with the very thinly sliced half fennel bulb and orange, making sure all the pith is removed. Then give it another drizzle of olive oil, it is worth using good peppery stuff for this, salt and some nice and plump black olives, halved.

I ate mine with some crusty, buttery bread but you could add a piece of fish or some chicken to bulk it out into more of a dinner. Mine was the perfect lunch for one.

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P.S. I have just updated the recipe page in the hope it will make it easier for you to search for recipes and ideas rather than scrolling through all the posts. Let me know what you think.

P.P.S. Turns out I am not a menu planner, I cannot make my brain work that way. More on this later.

Pasta primavera

This is my version of pasta primavera, or springtime pasta. A deliciously easy way to enjoy all the fresh green things that this season has to offer us. With cheese. Obviously.

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Pasta Primavera

Olive oil
1 big garlic clove
A bundle of asparagus- try and find the young skinny ones
2 spring onions
A handful of baby spinach
About 8 basil leaves
A handful of freshly podded peas (or frozen ones if you can’t find the real deal)
Juice of half a lemon
A ball of mozzarella di bufala (or feta if you prefer)
Salt
Pasta of the short variety

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Start with golden, grassy olive oil in a frying pan. Add a fresh garlic clove and two spring onions, finely sliced, and a bunch of tall, skinny asparagus cut into fives. Slowly and softly fry these.

Next add your dark green baby spinach leaves, a squeeze of lemon, then the basil and finally the freshly podded peas. These only need a minute to bring out their colour and sweetness all ready to burst with sweet flavour in your mouth.

Finish the dish off with some creamy mozzarella di bufala broken on top and another drizzle of olive oil. This dish works best with a shorter pasta and is delicious cold for lunch the next day.

I added chilli flakes to the olive oil at the beginning of the cooking process, which is, like everything in cooking, entirely optional. I am just doing anything in my ability to encourage this baby out of me and into the world. Tonight? Super spicy tacos from the hole in the wall round the corner. Wish me luck!

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April and a sunny spring.

We have been welcoming April and spring time with lots of green meals. I have been coming home with bags of asparagus, peas, zucchini, spring onion, basil, fennel, broad beans and baby spinach. These have then found their way into, and been the stars of, pasta, risotto, frittatas, soups and tarts.

Spring has also meant fresh flowers all around our apartment- on tables, bookshelves and benches. Our $4 flower guy at the market brightens up any Sunday.

Now we are ready to welcome a new member to our family as well. Come on out little baby, we are all ready to meet you!

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The first asparagus of the season

When I saw that the asparagus man was back at the market on Sunday, along with the strawberry man and rows of beautiful fresias, tulips and daffodils,  I knew it was Spring. I also knew that I would have to make something delicious to do the first asparagus of the season justice. And somehow my mind went to eggs- the one food I don’t like and never have. Despite this, I think the baby inside me does like eggs because I have found myself wanting to eat them throughout the pregnancy. So here is a way to eat eggs without tasting them- a rich and creamy asparagus tart, especially good for thin, young asparagus that hasn’t been left to get tough and woody.

Asparagus Tart

1 packet of filo pastry
3 eggs
200mL cream
Small handful of Italian parsley
Freshly grated parmesan, about a handful
Salt and pepper
A big bundle of fresh, new asparagus

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Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and discard them. Then chop off about the same again and boil until tender. Whiz them up in a blender with the egg, cream, parsley and parmesan and then pour into the filo casing. Par boil the remainder of the asparagus (the long slim stems) and arrange these across the tart. Pop in the oven for about 35 minutes and voila! A beautiful looking and tasting asparagus tart best enjoyed with a fresh green salad with a lemon, olive oil and grainy mustard dressing.