Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Probably the last asparagus dish: with goats' cheese on sun-dried tomato bread

Does the humble sandwich have to be humble? As a nation our favourites are chicken, cheese, ham or egg (depending on who you believe) nothing too posh, though exotic sandwiches are gaining in popularity. I'm a fan of the cheese sandwich myself, though the quality of the cheese is vital (extra mature cheddar or a lovely ripe Brie by preference).

The sandwich is such an everyday item that I feel almost guilty about turning it into anything too luxurious. But on this occasion I had a few spears of asparagus left. And with the end of the asparagus season sadly upon us, it seemed right to celebrate this prince of English vegetables.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Asparagus with halloumi and sweet potatoes

How can it be that the British asparagus season is nearly over? The miserable weather meant that it was so late in getting started this year, I've not made half my favourite dishes.

The official end of picking is the longest day on June 21. I'm hoping that the late start to the season will mean that farmers pick for a bit longer, but that might just be wishful thinking.

While steaming is my all-round favourite way to cook asparagus, I also love it griddled - the flavour seems more concentrated, and the seared stripes add smokiness to the flavour, as if it's been cooked on a barbecue.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A summer evening picnic

The first summer evening picnic of the year. May there be many more to come.

On the menu: Steamed asparagus with soft-boiled eggs for dipping; pea and cucumber salad; sweet potato salad. There were a few black olives too, but we hardly needed them.

The picnic venue was Tooting Bec Common, just a few minutes down the road, so the just-cooked asparagus and eggs stayed warm. But if yours is to be a cold picnic you could cool the asparagus in cold water once it's cooked, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar, and simply eat hard-boiled eggs on the side.