One thing I really enjoyed whilst living up a mountain in Italy was the arrival of the spring as towards the end of winter the grass would be very brown and the land tired and wet as the snow slowly melted.
Then all of a sudden the temperatures would raise, the trees would turn green and flowers would start to appear all over the fields, a really pretty moment.
It was also the season of asparagus and restaurants would be full of wonderful seasonal recipes, asparagus risotto, asparagus and eggs – a huge favourite and plenty of other creative ideas like my Jersey potato salad.
I had lost my cooking mojo this past couple of months but the sight of fresh asparagus in the supermarket was enough for me to want to buy it and make something. I went with a quiche as it’s handy to have for my lunches throughout the week and came up with Asparagus, pea and pastrami Quiche.
As a change from the normal recipe I have used some natural yogurt in the egg mix and this has made a firmer quiche plus an extra flavour that compliments the asparagus very well.
A tasty seasonal quiche using asparagus and peas with the addition of Pastrami chopped up finely. Perfect for lunches and picnics too.
Author: Marianne Weekes
Recipe type: Lunch
1 pack of ready to roll shortcrust pastry
flour to dust surfaces and rolling pin
poppy seeds (optional)
bunch of asparagus boiled
200g frozen peas
200g sliced pastrami
3 large eggs (4 small)
150g natural yogurt
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roll out the pastry and line a pie dish, sprinkle the base with the poppy seeds and push lightly into the pastry.
Place a layer of foil inside and put baking beans on top. Bake blind in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the baking beans and put to one side.
In the meantime, boil the asparagus to al dente, remember it will be cooking further in the oven. towards the end add the frozen peas to the saucepan and once back to boiling, turn off and drain well. Asparagus tends to hold on to a lot of water so leave to drain for a while.
Break the eggs into a jug and beat them well, add the yogurt and beat well making sure there are no lumps. Add the milk and mix well.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Cut the asparagus in half, keep the florets to one side for decoration and chop the other half into small pieces, scatter these and the peas over the base.
Dice the pastrami and scatter around the quiche base. Keep a handful back for a final scatter.
Place the asparagus florets in a fan around the quiche and scatter over the remainder of the pastrami.
Pour over the egg mixture and season the top.
Place in the preheated oven at 180C for 35- 40 minutes, touch the surface to test it should be firm and spring under your touch. If watery give it an extra five minutes. Done when the top is golden brown.
“These are our salad days,” sang Spandau Ballet back in the day and now is the time of year when salads come into being and I love a good salad. I eat salad every day for lunch
Higgidy pies recently teamed up with Sarah Raven, the gardening people. They put their heads together and sent out to the blogging world a challenge ‘Make us the perfect salad to serve alongside a Higgidy pie’
Wonderful I thought, I’m in!
I was sent along a pack of lettuce seedlings to grow in my back garden, I put them in tubs and forgot to label them as I was in a hurry for the school run Big Mistake. I put them in a shady area and I waited for the risk of frost to go. I used a good compost and there was no need to water frequently as the weather turned and it rained every day.
However, during all that rain we were visited. Frequently and I wasn’t paying attention, the slugs and snails got to two of my tubs! Ate the damn lot. so I popped them up on a metal fire pit that’s out of use at the moment hoping it would be too uncomfortable for them to climb up, it’s a bit rusty you see.
Anyway, seeing as I wasn’t having much luck with my lettuce but wanting to take part in the challenge anyway I went out to buy some ingredients, I let my gut lead me and chose my favourite things that are very popular at the moment, asparagus, rocket, french beans and baby tomatoes, then I made my salad and it was really really good.
So now remains to choose which Higgidy pie I serve it with and having had a look at their website I’m going to choose the Chicken & Smoky Spanish Chorizo Pie because the delicate flavours of my salad will be the perfect backdrop to this punchy chicken pie.
Risotto has to be a kitchen staple in any Italian Housewife’s recipe book and once you have learnt to follow the basic recipe then you are set up for creating some of the most delicous risotto’s on earth. People seem to be put off from having a go as it seems there is a mysterious secret into getting it right. Well one tip is experience, the more you make the better they become as you get the hang of tending to the rice and gently coercing it to cook to perfection and of course the second tip is adding the stock gradually and not boiling the rice.
In this short video I show you the very basic but delicious Asparagus Risotto simply because they are in season and I just had to eat some. To change recipe just substitute the asparagus with a vegetable of your choice, ie courgettes, radicchio, rocket. Other ideas to make delicious risottos are, saffron like Risotto Milanese – makes a beautiful orange colour, seafood, sausage and red wine. Cheese such as gorgonzola and some of the stranger additions strawberries, champagne, and nettles.
The list is endless and if you’d like to add your favourite risotto in the comment section to be shared forever that would be wonderful! Have a look at my video and tell me how you got on!
Ingredients for asparagus risotto
2 handfuls of rice per person
A good stock (vegetable stock if you’re vegetarian)
onion, white wine, asparagus and Parmesan cheese
You can add creme fraiche, cream, cheese and many other rich tastes to enhance your risotto I have purposely left this one delicate and plain, Buon appetito!