Fresh rhubarb, asparagus and Jersey Royals... At long, long last spring is here!
Serves 6 500g (1lb 2oz) rhubarb sticks, sliced 50g (1¾oz) sugar 2 pieces of stem ginger in syrup, chopped, plus 4tbsp of the syrup 1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped 2-3 splashes of Pimm’s Preheat the oven to 200°C/ gas 6. Place the ingredients in a bowl and toss. Transfer to a shallow, snug, ovenproof dish. Bake for 20 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft but holds its shape. Serve warm with porridge, yoghurt, custard or ice- cream.
GRIDDLED ASPARAGUS, SPINACH & BACON SALAD
Serves 6, or 8-10 as a starter 2 x 350g (12oz) bundles of asparagus, woody ends removed 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon 250g (9oz) baby spinach A good splash of rapeseed oil A squeeze of lemon juice 30g (1oz) pecorino or other hard ewe’s milk cheese Place a large griddle pan over a high heat. When it’s hot, turn the heat down a little and grill the asparagus for 10-12 minutes, turning often, until it’s nicely marked on all sides and cooked al dente. Finely slice the stalks and place them on a platter with the tips.
Fry the bacon in a frying pan for 5- 6 minutes until it’s crisp on both sides. Add the spinach to the platter, dress with the oil and lemon juice, and season.
Toss the whole lot together, crumble over the bacon, peel shavings of cheese over the salad, then serve immediately.
NEW POTATOES & TROUT
Serves 6, or 8-10 as a starter 2kg (4lb 8oz) Jersey Royal new potatoes, skins scrubbed
50g (1¾oz) butter 250g (9oz) smoked trout fillets A splash of cider vinegar, or the grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ a lemon A small bunch of chives, finely chopped Cook the Jersey Royals in a saucepan of salted boiling water for about 15 minutes, or until lovely and soft when pricked with a fork. Drain in a colander and steam dry.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl and gently crush a few with a fork to add texture. Add the butter and season well. Flake in half the smoked trout, add the cider vinegar (or lemon zest and juice) and toss through. Serve at room temperature with the remaining trout flaked over and chives snipped on top.
This salad is delicious on its own or with soft round lettuce.
LAMB & CHICKPEA STEW
2tbsp olive oil 1 onion, diced 2 garlic cloves, chopped 400g (14oz) diced lamb shoulder 2tsp ground cumin 2-4 orange slices 2 x 400g (14oz) tins tomatoes
1-2 tsp harissa 400g (14oz) tin chickpeas 80g (2¾oz) spinach ½ a small bunch of fresh coriander
Greek-style yoghurt, to serve Heat half the oil in a heavybased pan. Add the onions and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the rest of the oil and brown the lamb in batches. Return the onions, along with all the meat, to the pan and add the cumin. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the orange slices, tomatoes, 1tsp harissa and
a little water, if needed. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for 1-1½ hours, or till the meat is tender. Taste, add more harissa if necessary, then add the chickpeas and heat through. Stir through the spinach and coriander, and serve with a dollop of yoghurt.
Easy like Sunday morning
BAGNA CAUDA BRUSCHETTA
Serves 8-10 as a canapé 30g (1oz) unsalted butter 2 garlic cloves, chopped 1tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 25g (1oz) anchovies, rinsed 1 baguette, sliced 2 fresh oregano sprigs, leaves picked Melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat. Blitz the oil and anchovies with h a hand blender until roughly chopped then gradually add the he garlic butter, blitzing as you go. o. Grill the bread, spread thinly with the bagna cauda and serve scattered with oregano.
EASY, ZESTY RASPBERRY JAM
Makes 800g (1lb 12oz)
1kg (2lb 4oz) raspberries 1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of ½ a lemon 150g (5½oz) sugar Sourdough bread and butter, to serve Place the raspberries in a large stainless steel pan along with the vanilla pod and seeds, and the lemon zest and juice. Sprinkle the sugar over the top.
Use a potato masher or your hands to lightly scrunch the berries, so that the sugar dissolves. Put the pan over a high heat and bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes until thickened and slightly reduced. Skim off the foam on the surface every 5 minutes.
Allow the jam to cool completely, then spoon it into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge for up to a week. It’s delicious on buttered sourdough toast.
Simple Saturday night supper