It pays to remember that spring rain – seemingly so annoying when a few large drops turn into a sudden downpour – drives into the soil and helps keep the ground moist while spring crops get underway. Even in a home garden, it saves you having to get out there with the hose and water your new babies! It’s raining now as I type, rather a lot, but it’s not cold, and that makes it perfect conditions for soft leaf herbs, salad leaves, new plantings of sugar snaps, broad beans, cavolo nero … whatever you have in your garden will benefit from spring showers. It would be kinda good if they came in the night though, wouldn’t it!
Asparagus season has started! Don’t you love it when you see big mounds of asparagus stacked up in your local store? You know, then, that you are smack bang in the middle of asparagus season and that there is no better time to enjoy this spring delight. We’re not there yet, it’s still pricey, and the quality is variable, but it’s also hard to resist. How to make the most of a few expensive spears? You couldn’t have a more simple and delectable meal than serving them with soft-cooked eggs. That’s if you like eggs, and asparagus, of course. I’ve got plenty of other ideas, and tips, for asparagus this week as well, so when they do drop in price and rise in quality and availability, you’ll be armed ready to steam, sauté, grill, roast and bake them, and even to serve them raw in salads.
Blood oranges are a curiosity in that they look so amazing but don’t always deliver in taste. I love the colours of the skin, deep orange blushed with crimson, and the flesh which changes from orange-pink to deep crimson as the fruit matures, especially when the fruit is contrasted with regular oranges. I find a good sweet-sharp New Zealand orange or a tangelo gives them the zing they need. I’ve layered the two together and strewn them with mint and pomegranate seeds, the mint adding a fresh note and the pomegranate seeds a pop of colour and a tart juicy bite. Then I’ve drizzled the salad with a citrus and maple dressing. It’s so good!
While I was into the fruity vibes, I whizzed up a quick strawberry and mango salad. Those pomegranate seeds were everywhere in my kitchen this week – by the way pomegranates are currently imported from the USA as our local ones have been and gone – and while this salad is sublime without them, they look very pretty on top.
I’ve got new dates for cooking classes just posted. The emphasis will be on spring and summer, as it should be, arming you with ideas to help with entertaining through the next few months. There’s going to be a lot of great produce out there to grab hold of and cook so come along and get some ideas, and taste all sorts of things we find along the way.
Have a great week cooking and eating and just remember that spring rains make our gardens grow!