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By Helen Jackson
There is always a month or so of waiting and anticipation once the winter produce draws to an end and spring is about to start.
I start to anxiously pace about this time each year knowing that around mid-September the new season asparagus will be hitting our green grocer’s shelves, ready to liven up pizzas, pasta, and risotto or just served as it is with a drizzle of good olive oil and plenty of s&p. While I have a spring garden full of broad beans, mint, peas and strawberries, asparagus is something I leave to those with more patience and space.
Asparagus of course can be grilled, roasted or simply cooked for about 5 minutes in simmering water. When you cook with the Fisher and Paykel gas on glass cooktops you are incorporating style as well as functionality into your kitchen. The glass blends in beautifully with the F&P story, is easy to clean and is aesthetically pleasing for blended entertaining and cooking. Mint is the first herb to recover from its winter fright and this Jamie risotto of asparagus, mint and lemon is just perfect for spring.
Asparagus pairs really well with broad beans, which thankfully are enjoying a huge revival now that we have abandoned our NZ grandmother’s cooking methods. Recipes such as Jamie’s Char grilled tuna with oregano oil peas and broad beans are what many of us broad bean growers spend much of the year looking forward to. While you can of course double pod frozen broad beans, there is something incredibly special about freshly picked young broad beans. The season is short but they are so easy to grow and well worth the small effort of planting and staking.
Get the kids involved in the growing and harvesting process as well, they are much more likely to eat something when they have grown it and cooked and there is always the lure of finding the first of the strawberries in the garden.