Monthly Archives: May 2010

Asparagus Frittata

The frittata has been food theme of the last 2 weeks. Not only  is it a great fridge-bottom dinner, I’m currently teaching a mini version of this basic recipe to kids. With it I’ve managed to convert some egg haters to egg fans. What is great about the recipe is that it can be eaten warm from the oven or next day cold in a lunch box. The fillings are very much interchangeable and is perfect as quick dinner as it’s just a case of a bit of whisking, throwing it in the pan and leaving it to bake in the oven.

With the asparagus season coming to an end we have been eating loads of these delicious green spears. As it’s not available for much longer it has meant we’re getting bargains of 20-30 spears for as little as £2.50. At the beginning of the season I was seeing bunches of 5 spears for not far off £5.

The cornflower addition isn’t essential, but it does help to make the frittata fluffier. Other popular fillings here are spinach, feta & mint; Cheddar, bacon & mushroom plus basic cheese and cherry tomato.

Spinach & Feta Frittata
Serves 4

4 eggs
1 tbsp cornflour
200ml milk
asparagus spears

1) Heat oven to 220oc. Blend the cornflower with a bit of milk, then whisk in the rest of the milk and eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

2) Line 8in x 8in baking tin with baking parchment. Pour in the egg mix, then lay the asparagus spears in the tin. Bake for 20 min until firm and golden. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Our Edible Garden – May ’10

Finally the frosts have gone, well I hope they have, and the garden is beginning to spring into life. The biggest success so far has to be the pea shoots. After seeing Alys Fowler plant them on Edible Garden I knew I had to have a go. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of planting bog standard dried peas before. The gorgeous emerald butterfly shaped leaves have now become a regular in our salads as they taste so delicious.

It’s great to see my herb garden thrive after thinking the long winter may have killed it off. The reliable hardy mint is coming back with vengeance along with the thyme and oregano. New additions in the herb garden are flat parsley and borage plus the rosemary and chives are beginning to bear flowers. The flowers on the rosemary are so beautiful and delicate almost like mini orchids, a bonus that they are edible and will probably adorn a salad at the BBQ later on this evening. The chive flowers are also edible however I find the taste of them a tad bit intense. After eating a lonely chive flower last year the best way I can describe the taste is of strong onion water bursting in your mouth.

This year is going to be the battle of the birds and butterflies. As much as we like having wildlife in our garden it’s a pain when the nibble and trample they crops so Hubs fashioned an ingenious frame made from an old wooden clothes airer that had originally been thrown in the wood pile for burning. The trio of dunnocks are not impressed. Given they are meant to be shy birds they have spent a significant time bouncing up and down on it, trying to break it and once working out how to get underneath the netting. The netting is doing its job though and everything growing under it is doing well.

Newest addition to the garden, Hubs’ newest project, will be appearing in the next few weeks – a cold smoker that also doubles up as tandoor oven made of terracotta pots. Yep you heard that right. Some days I worry for the sanity of Hubs.

Asparagus – how do you eat yours?

I believe that British asparagus heralds a fresh new year of delicious fruit & vegetables. Gone is the season of roots & onions, in come the luscious greens, purples…and various other colours if our veg  plot is anything to go by. Once asparagus is here I know I won’t have to wait long until the strawberries begin to appear. Asparagus, along with strawberries, are in the same list as purple sprouting broccoli and raspberries in that we try to only eat them when they are in season – 1) we appreciate it more and 2) I find it tastes better, especially when you can pick them from your garden or have a fantastic grower & supplier on your doorstep. With asparagus there is a significant difference in taste from freshly picked variants to others that have been hanging around for a few days. Freshly picked asparagus has a surprisingly sweet taste that soon diminishes once picked. Just in the way peas do.

According to Wikipedia:

Asparagus is low in calories, contains no cholesterol and is very low in sodium. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium. The amino acid asparagine gets its name from asparagus, the asparagus plant being rich in this compound.

Who would have thought you could cram so much good stuff into a humble green (or sometimes white) vegetable?

Now, I will openly admit I’m not a huge fan of asparagus; I can take it or leave it. Hubs however, along with his parents, are obsessed with it. Father-in-Law is attempting to grow it and this year we are growing the curious sounding Asparagus Peas.

Over the last few weeks we’ve been waiting for asparagus to appear. After buying a ludicrously priced bunch of Litchfield asparagus a few weeks ago, which was frankly old and woody, we were glad to be tipped off that Scaddows Farm had some of their home-grown asparagus in stock. This is the second year we have bought asparagus from them and I can say it’s the best we’ve found. Scaddows is also great for the PYO part of the farm that opens in June and continues late into the season. Aside from the asparagus it’s berry-lover and preserver heaven!

Although the asparagus season is short we make up for it by eating it in as many ways possible:

So, how do you eat your asparagus?

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