The past week has been been amazing! I have been introduced to a great vegetables and fruits supplier, Brock and Smith, who supply some of the best crop in the country. Thank you Jade for the tasting box! I loved them, not only me but the whole family, too!! I spent most of my Sunday afternoon prepping dishes using the fresh peas in a pod, broad beans, Asparagus from Wye Valley, kale from Molyneux Kale Company, tomatoes from Iow Tomatoes delivery , baby beetroots, baby turnips, wild asparagus….and so on.

Brock and Smith

I cooked up a storm in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, you can’t imagine how pleased she was when the cooking was over and it returned to normal and tidy – thank you, Carol! During the bank holiday weekend on lockdown I had plenty of time to cook, to experiment and to put together tasty dishes. I was keeping in mind to make sure that everyone should be able to reproduce it at home without effort. Cooking from scratch is sometimes the best way to enjoy a dish as you can feel free to go with the flow. The smell, the texture, the combination between ingredients… it’s exciting for all the senses! In the back of my head I  have a plan and trying to recall flavours from different experiences and travels across the globe. I like to think of a pantry like Ali-Baba’s cave, full of treasure: spices, herbs, all condiments and types of flours.

But let’s get back to when I received the veg box from Brock and Smith; seeing all these products at the same time was so tempting and so I got my chopping board, peeler and sharp knife ready. Below are several cooking tips, ideas and quick and easy recipes to spark your imagination and to remind you that local produce and simplicity can give the best culinary results. Bon ap├ętit!

Pea soup. First, blanching the peas and broad beans. Keep the peas pods to make a stock from it. No waste. It’s a great way to enhance the flavour of a pea soup. I usually sweat sliced onions and a few new potatoes in butter. I add my pea stock, bring to the boil and add a bag of frozen peas (Frozen peas are great to keep the green colour of the soup). You can use the fresh peas as a garnish.

Asparagus and cheese sauce. I blanched the asparagus for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Then, I warmed up a fondue of Piedmontese cheese. Dip the seasoned asparagus in the sauce and enjoy. It couldn’t be easier than that. An easy but fancy starter or an indulgent snack!

Candy and Golden baby beetroots. After washing the beetroots, wrap them in foil and bake the beetroots until cooked. They should be soft with a bit of body when you press them. It can take roughly 45 minutes in a oven at 180 degrees Celsius. To peel them, do it when the beetroots are still warm by pushing the skin away with your fingers so you don’t damage the beetroot. It should be an easy task. When done, season them with a bit of oil, salt and pepper.

Apple and rhubarb… a crumble recipe is on its way this week to warm us up through the next few chilly days!

Finally, a plate of food which shows that a couple of ingredients is more than enough to have a great plate of food. So far, one of my favourites of the month. Wild Asparagus and soft boiled egg. Blanch the asparagus in a salty water for a couple of minutes. Then boil the eggs for 6 minutes. Refresh the eggs in cold water, peel them and cut them in half. Season the wild asparagus with a good garlic oil , salt and pepper. Serve. Enjoy.

Wild asparagus are being call “Sparrow grass”. They taste like regular asparagus. They can go well in a stir fry, a salad or on their own as the star of the dish. It the first time I’m preparing and eating this – wow, I love it! (And so did all the family!)

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