This week we are cooking asparagus again! You see, the beauty of waiting all year long for a vegetable or fruit is that you can then enjoy it to the fullest. This week we have decided to make something simple. As we are busy preparing for our upcoming cooking workshop in mid-May, and many new exciting things for this autumn, we often find ourselves very tired at the end of the day.

On days when the idea of cooking something elaborate for dinner seems absurd and you come home late from work (or worse, you have more work to do like we often do), this simple recipe will make you happier. Making it only takes a few minutes, enough to relax you from the day’s stress.

For this one we’ve used St Isidoros cheese, a smooth and intense goat’s milk cheese, made on the island of Naxos and matured for 400 days. Come by Borough Market to taste it!

So here we go, ingredients and recipe for two people:

4 eggs
½ bunch asparagus
a couple of pinches of dried thyme
1 small leek
3 tbsp olive oil
100g St Isidoros cheese, grated
salt, pepper

Turn on your oven to grill.
Finely slice the leek. Remove the woody ends from the asparagus and cut each in half.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for two minutes.
In an oven proof skillet gently fry the leeks with the olive oil until softened.
Set aside and sprinkle half of the cheese.
Mix the eggs, salt, pepper and the rest of the cheese in a bowl, whisking with a fork.
Pour the egg mixture on top of the leeks and scatter the asparagus.
Place it under the grill for 5 minutes, or until the eggs are set.

We hope that by now you have relaxed. Set the table and serve with a simple green salad.


St George’s day here in the UK marks the beginning of asparagus season. As you know, all of us at Oliveology love cooking with ingredients that are in season. And the writer of this blog post loves asparagus!

Our lovely guest chef Despoina was part of Borough Market’s celebration for St George’s day, making delicious recipes with some of our ingredients! If you want more, you can find her at the Borough Market Cookhouse along with our very own Marianna in our two upcoming cooking workshops in May and June.

So with spring in its full swing and the sun shining, this week we have also prepared for you a recipe with, what else, asparagus. With green all around us in London parks we couldn’t but combine asparagus with fresh green vegetables. So get your basket, come by the market and get all your ingredients for a green grain bowl! Oh, and this one has a zingy green yogurt dressing to go with it. This dish is perfect to take with you for a lunch in the park, or enjoy for dinner in a warm evening.

For 2 people you will need:

100g cooked bulgur wheat
1 small bunch of asparagus
1 medium cucumber
1 avocado
a handful of seasonal greens (we used fresh spinach)
1 bunch of fresh mint
1 bunch of chives
100g Greek yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grape molasses
zest of 1 lemon
juice of half a lemon
salt

 

Dressing: finely chop your herbs. In a small bowl mix the yogurt, herbs, lemon zest. Season with salt and add lemon juice to taste.

Asparagus: Cut the asparagus. We finely chopped the stalks and kept the tops. But you can do whatever you prefer. Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes. Place in a bowl with ice cold water to stop them from cooking further.

Veg: Cut the cucumber in bite-sized pieces. Slice the avocado.

In a large bowl, mix your bulgur wheat with asparagus, cucumber, and half of the dressing. Place in bowls, top with the sliced avocado and seasonal greens. Serve with fresh herbs, more dressing and lemon wedges.


St George’s day here in the UK marks the beginning of the asparagus season. Don’t you just love it when a season for an ingredient “officially” begins? We love seasonal food as you know. And we also love asparagus. They are after all what makes us feel like we are properly into spring.

Obviously there are many things one can do with this green spring vegetable.

But it so happens that we just received from Greece the most amazing ingredient to pair with asparagus.

Spaghetti made with emmer wheat, or as we call it in Greece, zea. The naming of zea links to the idea of “giving life”. So that should tell you something. It is also one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. This ancient grain is high in fiber and has a low GI. But besides being good for your body, it is also very tasty. Think beyond what you would expect from your average pasta. Long strings of delicate pasta with a nutty, warm flavour. Is there anything better? Well yes! A zingy pairing with asparagus.

By the way, this pasta will go beautifully with a mushroom sauce or a ragu. But that’s for another blog post.

Serves four

1 pack of Emmer wheat spaghetti
1 large bunch of asparagus
1 large lemon, both juice and zest
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Grated graviera  or parmesan cheese (optional)

Place your pasta in a large pot with boiling salted water. As the pasta is boiling, place a small colander on top of your pot and steam your asparagus. If you prefer, you can steam them separately or blanch them for a few minutes in boiling water. Set asparagus aside and once you are able to handle them, cut in bite size pieces. Or leave whole if you prefer.

When the pasta is al dente drain. Beware, artisan pasta cooks much faster than store-bought.

In a large bowl, place your pasta, asparagus, lemon juice and zest and drizzle with plenty of olive oil. Add some grated graviera cheese (or parmesan) if using. Season with salt and pepper and stir until everything is well combined. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if needed.

Serve warm. But this specific pasta dish is actually delicious served cold. Leftovers for lunch anyone?

 

 


Brilliant video featuring our delicious Kalamata olives. Thank you Tom Hunt for the amazing recipe and presentation. This dish is available on the menu at Poco Bristol this month!

All you need for this mouthwatering Spartan tapenade is 75g Kalamata olives and a dash of extra virgin olive oil! Watch the video at GrowEatGather; an independent online publication devoted to celebrating the wealth of locally grown ingredients and honouring the good people who work hard to grow, supply and cook real food across the United Kingdom.


Finally the asparagus season has begun!

Asparagus is considered by many to be the queen of vegetables and one of nature’s superfoods! It is a member of the lily family and a distant cousin of the leek and onion. Asparagus is a highly prized vegetable which, unfortunately, has a relatively short season of just 10 weeks.

It gets its name from the ancient Greek ‘aspharagos’ which originates from the Persian word ‘asparag’ meaning sprout, stalk or shoot. Asparagus was popular in ancient Greece for its medicinal and gastronomic qualities, as well as for its aphrodisiac powers! Hippocrates used it for medicinal purposes such as the treatment of  diarrhoea and urinary problems.

Asparagus is full of vitamins A, B and C, great source of iron, and full of fibre and folic acid. It’s great for the heart, boosts your immune system and is believed to help detoxify the body.

Steamed or lightly boiled asparagus served with one of our early harvest olive oils, makes a mouthwatering, health boosting salad or side dish! Lets enjoy the asparagus season while it lasts…