The British asparagus season is officially go*.
Which is good because the weekend saw a handful of ways to use up the ‘gras — Thomasina Miers’ asparagus and brown butter risotto with mace and brown shrimps standing tall among them. See also Diana Henry’s Asian inspired sandwiches, Ruby Tandoh on Zoe Adkonyoh, Selin Kiazim’s meze, and Yotam’s spring salads.
*Yes, I know these are Italian artichokes.
In lieu of Mark Hix in The Independent (RIP), we now look to others to hail the arrival of seasonal produce.
- Stephen Harris rang the asparagus bell, plumping for a chilled asparagus soup, and a really good sounding griddled asparagus with lime and hazlenut oil dressed crab, plus a curried hollandaise.
- Tommi Miers also pushed the ‘gras. She suggested chilled asparagus and yoghurt soup as well; but also an asparagus and brown butter risotto with mace and brown shrimps — the recipient of this weekend’s Phwoar Award.
- Yotam was spurred by the season too, though on a general spring rather than spear theme. I particularly liked his idea of burrata with sorrel and pea salsa (though admittedly I’m massively into sorrel atm). Plus lightly pickled spring vegetables with wasabi and ginger cream.
Inspiration from overseas
It wasn’t all led by the British food season, though. Many of the recipes were sparked by international cuisine.
- Absolutely cracking interview by Ruby Tandoh of Zoe Adkonyoh in the OFM, whose Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen** signals “the cusp of an African food revolution” and is worth getting stuck into. Particularly Jollof fried chicken. (**A Brixton venue, Soho pop up and new book all with the same name.)
- Diana Henry found sandwich inspo in Asian cuisine. I loved the prompt to get making vada pav — a spiced and battered potato patty that goes with a soft bun, and green and a tamarind chutneys. Her other ideas for Sunday Telegraph Stella mag readers were for Thai steak and Vietnamese breaded fish baguettes. So much flavour and texture going on.
- Sticking with the sandwich theme, José Pizarro suggested Times Magazine readers get stuck into pork meatball subs with almond sauce and manchego, and Flamenquín, which are basically deep fried ham and blue cheese rolled sandwiches … where the bread is replaced with flattened pork fillet. (Among other great tapas/Spanish street food ideas.)
- Nigel Slater’s inauthentic but Japanese rooted potsticker gyozas in the Observer tempted: prawn, ginger and lemongrass with a ponzu dressing; and a mushroom and chard filling dipped in sesame, mirin and soy.
- The Sunday Times Magazine housed three cracking meze recipes from Selin Kiazim — the chef at Turkish-Cypriat inspired restaurant Oklava, who has a book coming out on 4 May (the very best day for a cookbook to be published …): courgette and feta fritters; fried veg with garlic yoghurt and pomegranate; and a properly delicious buttered freekeh.
The remainder were simply things to suit the home cook.
- Indeed, simple home cooking is the theme for Nathan Outlaw’s new cookbook. Whilst it’s clear he’s trying to move away from the image of Fish Man in the promotion of this, I was most drawn to a recipe for brill steaks baked over fennel.
- I read the Guardian Cook’s kids issue with more of a vested interest than usual, particularly enjoying Stuart Heritage’s “We operate a feeble ‘what he eats, we eat’ mealtime policy” piece, whilst vowing it’ll be different for me. Also, the extensive look into how busy people can try to get their kids eating more veg and less sugar. Lots of recipes, tips and ideas within it. NB, you don’t have to be under 12 to enjoy Anna Thomson’s omuraisu omelette.
- Hand rolling pici with the kids seems a fun and flavoursome idea, too (Rachel Roddy’s typically excellent read).
- Nadiya went with a lime and white chocolate ‘angel cake’ in Saturday’s Times Magazine. 10 egg whites, sugar and flour. Not dissimilar to a large soufflé, which you turn upside down after baking to ensure it doesn’t sink as it cools.
- No one wants to do more washing up than is necessary at home, least of all, it seems, the Honey & Co duo Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer. Their solution in this weekend’s FT magazine is a one dish of pot chicken braised in spicy matbucha and cracked wheat pilaf. Which looks lush.
From the internet
Among the most memorable recipes I stumbled across on the web last week were:
- Back to the asparagus theme, I liked the look of David Tanis’ asparagus ‘revuelto’ in the New York Times — essentially asparagus tossed through loosely scrambled eggs and chorizo, with fried bread crumbs thrown in for good measure.
- Also, though it was posted back in February, and you’ll need to use the tastier but not so pink non-forced rhubarb variety, do check out Edd Kimber’s cardamom creme brûlée tarts with roasted rhubarb — absolute stunners.
Weekend Menu, 22 and 23 April 2017
Burrata with sorrel and pea salsa
Yotam Ottolenghi, The Guardian
Asparagus and brown butter risotto with mace and brown shrimps
Thomasina Miers, The Guardian
Cardamom creme brûlée tarts with roasted rhubarb
Edd Kimber, The Boy Who Bakes
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