Spear a thought for asparagus
In their 70s, they had not long retired from a lifetime “In Service” as servants in one of the large houses of the village. Neither had ever been to London, 25 miles away. They had never married, but disliked being called “spinsters”. As Daisy once told my wife: ‘I shan’t die curious’. In addition, both knew English country cooking well and would readily impart a recipe now and then. With a Christmas party coming along, one day I asked Daisy if she had a recipe for “Cheese Straws”. She brought out an old scrapbook, found the page and dictated the recipe to me. Here it is.
The sight of a roadside stall near Episkopi, with bundles of the freshest asparagus, reminds me of a good English summer. There are many things you can do with asparagus, but let’s start simply by boiling it. 1. Cut any choggy or woody bits from the bottom of the asparagus. 2. With a sharp knife, scrape the bottom section of the stem to remove the stringy bits. 3. Tie or put an elastic band around the asparagus to make a bundle. 4. If you have a very deep pot, stand the asparagus in it and fill with water half way up the bundles. If you don’t, but you have a very large frying or sauté pan, stand some forks or something similar on one side and lay the bundles down so that the tips of the asparagus are clear of the water.
5. Cover your pan, bring the water to the boil and cook on a moderate heat for about 1012 minutes.
6. Serve hot with melted butter, or cold with French dressing or mayonnaise.