Bruschetta with Asparagus, Soft cheese and Homemade "Sun-Blushed" Tomatoes




One thing you will know about myself already is how passionate I am about Seasonal Food and I don’t care how many times I will repeat myself in saying this.  I feel very lucky to live in Britain and what amazing seasonal produce is all around us.  Of course I also try my best with this subject in my own Kitchen Garden.

  One seasonal Vegetable that I yearn for at this time of year and I am totally honest when I say I will NOT touch it grown from any other country but Britain, and that My readers is the Sexy, Slinky Asparagus. I know I am quite a frugal Queen, but I don’t mind a little splurge with this! 
  There is just something about the taste of our British Asparagus that is NOTHING compared to other countries who grow it. Ours has a lovely Sweet, yet Earthy and Nutty taste, not to mention the Lovely Vivid Green colour that it gives off. 



  This year, the British Asparagus season starts today, Thursday 23rd of April but prior to this, and this is just how passionate I am about seasonality. I decided that Myself and my fiancé would travel all the way over to the Wye Valley, Ross on Wye to be precise to get my hands on the very first few bunches that were starting to be sold.  My friend Ben Jackson called this “Mental Asparagus searching” which I like that! 

So to kick start off my Asparagus recipes, I wanted to do something very Easy, Fresh and clean cut, not to overpower the taste. This recipe just hit the nail on the head.  You may remember about 3-4 weeks ago I made my own “Sun-blushed” tomatoes, well I decided to use those in this recipe but of course made a fresh batch last week. It worked a treat! 


Bruschetta with Asparagus, Soft Cheese & Homemade “Sun-blushed” Tomatoes:




Ingredients:

–  Good Quality bread. I used Multigrain Rye bread. Sourdough would be great too.
–  Good Quality British Asparagus, Mine was from the Wye Valley
–  Homemade “Sun-blushed” Tomatoes or bought 
–  Soft Cheese or a mild Goats Cheese
–  The oil that the “Sun-blushed” tomatoes sits in
–  2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
–  Ice and cold water in a bowl



Method:

*  Take a Large Bowl and place in  some Ice cubes and cold water

*  Boil a small amount of water in a large saucepan

*  Take your Asparagus and take off the bottom, the woody stalk end with a knife. About an inch.

*  With a Veg/potato peeler, peel ever so slightly down about an inch 1/2 of the top layer of asparagus skin at the bottom. You will see this reveals a lovely bright vivid green.

*  As soon as you have done this, plunge the Asparagus into the Iced water, this will keep it that vivid green colour.

*  Slice your bread and drizzle some rapeseed oil onto the bread. place in a Frying pan to colour each side

*  Once your Water is Boiling, plunge your asparagus and cook for roughly 2-3 minutes depending on size.

*  When Bread and Asparagus is cooked, Start to assemble your dish and voila! A lovely starter, breakfast, Lunch…the List goes on! 



Sweet Potato, Kale and Bacon Hash topped with Poached Egg




Ive always loved Kale and its different varieties, have done for years.  Love all greens really, but with the curly Kale option, I find it is so easy to just throw into any dish to give you that extra green oomph for your vitamins in a day. I eat it that much, maybe I should think of putting it on my growing list for my Kitchen Garden this year? 

  Recently I threw together a dish of “odd’s and sod’s” that were in my fridge and made a sublime little supper for myself.   The recipe did of course, suprisingly involve Kale but in a rather different way…with Bacon and Egg. 
  I am always going to cook this recipe from now on as it is so quick, it uses things up and theres hardly any ingredients to it. You can tweak a few things but these ingredients work through being sweet, yet salty, all manners of different tastes.  
  
  If you are going to try this recipe, You must go and buy some Sriracha sauce first. I have been using it in my Asian cooking for years and it is my favourite Hot sauce.  I drizzle it on a lot of foods including Hot spicy noodle broths. It seems now a lot of major sauce brands are trying a version them selves. I’ll never change my brand though. 
So Here is my simple Supper, or maybe even a Brunch recipe? An easy dish for an occasion? With an optional Hot sauce.



Sweet Potato, Kale and Bacon Hash topped with Poached Egg:

Ingredients:
(For 1 approximately)

–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil
–  1/2 Tbsp of Maple syrup
–  1 large Garlic Clove finely diced
–  1/2 Red Onion sliced finely
–  1 Sweet potato diced roughly
–  1-2 rashers of Bacon chopped
–  couple of small Handfuls of Curly Kale
–  1 egg for poaching
–  2 tbsp of White wine vinegar for the poaching
–  To finish, some Sriracha Hot Chilli sauce for on top if required. 
  (I buy mine from Wang Fung Hong in Leicester)

Method: 

*  Boil the Sweet potato until soft.

*  Take out the Sweet potato with a slotted spoon and place onto kitchen paper on a plate.Leaving the water in the saucepan for your Kale.

*  Fry off the Bacon in a frying pan, then after a minute or two add the onions.

*  Pop in the Kale to the saucepan to cook for about 2 minutes.

*  Add the drained Sweet potato to the frying pan mix and add the garlic.

* Pop in the maple syrup to make the sweet potato caramelise and the bacon taste wonderful.

*  Drain the Kale on kitchen paper. Add to the Hash mix.

*  Poach your egg.

*  And Serve… Adding the Sriracha sauce if you wish.






Breakfast Boost Bars



I realise that this isn’t  a Recipe post that is a “New Thing” or “Trend” in the Culinary world,  but it is something that I always used to make and have been meaning to come up with a new recipe for a while now. 

  Today,  As usual, I had some bananas that were way overripe.  So instead of me putting them into a bread or muffin like I normally do, I decided to come up with a Bar of some sort.  Now I say, “some sort” because, well, I am not sure If this recipe is a Flapjack or a Granola Bar? as, in my eyes, it qualifies for both! 

   I have to say, I am not great at eating breakfasts, especially in summer.  I do get easily bored and like something that I can eat quite efficiently  whilst reading my emails, doing my “To Do list” for that day AND drink my morning Coffee. I know, its bad! But I have to find something that suits me, we all do! and I feel with these bars, it will certainly keep me going for a while. Lets hope it will help others too.
  Now I am no nutritional expert but I have tried to keep the recipe packed full of nutrients with the fruit, nuts and seeds. Also adding no extra sugar to the syrup.

  I can’t wait to let my Fiance try these before he goes for his morning run at the weekend.  He’s been trying to find that certain something that works for him as many others have their own energy fix before a run/workout.  I will let you know what happens there on that note at a later date. Not forgetting aswell how great these are for Children, for breakfast or as a boost over those summer holidays! 
  For now, I will be trying these as my breakfast hit for the next few days…These Boost bars are moist, chewy, packed full of goodness and they’re Vegan too!


Breakfast Boost Bars:

Ingredients:

(This mixture made 9 2″x2″ Squares)

–  100g of Soy Spread ( I used Pure Dairy Free)

–  100g of Golden Syrup
–  1 Tbsp of Raw Organic Coconut Oil ( I used Lucy Bee)
–  200g of Whole Rolled Porridge Oats
–  40g of Grated Raw Carrot
–  2 Over ripe Bananas mashed
–  40g Dried Soft Apricots
–  20g Pistachios (De- shelled)
–  40g of Dried mixed Boosting Berries (i.e Blueberries, Cranberries, Goji, Raisins, etc…)
–  Sprinkling of mixed Seeds for on top (i.e Sunflower, Pumpkin, Linseed etc…)

Method:

–  Preheat Oven to 170c

–  Melt the Soya Spread in a Heavy bottomed pan on a low-medium heat and add the Golden Syrup to it.

–  Into a small hand blender/mixer or processor blitz loosely all the dried fruit together and the pistachio nuts.

–  Add the Oats to the Pan and stir coating all the mixture. Then add the Coconut oil, Bananas and grated carrot to the mixture. Stir and turn off the heat.

–  Line a baking tray with baking parchment and add the mixture creating a nice rectangular even shape.

–  Pop into the Oven for about 20 mins.

–  After 20 minutes sprinkle over your seed mix and pop back into the oven for another 20 mins.

–  Once done, take out and allow to cool before cutting into squares/slices.

If you pop these in a larder/Pantry they will keep for a good few days if kept in a sealed cake tin.

Lemon,ricotta and blueberry pancakes

In our House, one of our Favourite Breakfasts have to be My Blueberry Pancakes.  Wether it is someones birthday or just because we have a bit more time on a Sunday, having this really brightens us up for the day ahead.  They’re not too sweet, not too savoury and the sensation of Blueberries popping in your mouth is like Gigantic Caviar (of course without the fish taste)!  Even as a dessert… this would be great.  

  When I last did these, I decided to change my recipe slightly as I had some ricotta to use up. I had never put it in before and thought it should add an extra maybe creaminess, tang or even make them lighter?  Well, in fact, it did all three! The new recipe worked straight away, which is always a thrill! And they were better than ever! 
 This is my new improved recipe and My Fiance loves these better so there’s no turning back! 


Lemon Ricotta and Blueberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

–  175g Self Raising Flour
–  2 tsp Caster Sugar
–  1/2 tsp Baking Powder
–  Pinch of Salt
–  1 Egg separated
–  200 ml Semi Skimmed Milk
–  1 Tsp Vanilla Extract or pod
–  100 g of Ricotta Cheese
–  1 Zest of Lemon
–  1 tbsp of melted unsalted Butter
–  Blueberries
–  Icing Sugar
–  Creme Fraiche to serve

Put the Flour, Caster Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Baking Powder and Salt into a bowl and then whisk in the Egg Yolk, milk and Ricotta until you have a nice smooth Batter.


Whisk the Egg White and Fold in to the batter.

Heat a non stick Frying Pan and use a very small amount of oil. When the pan is hot put a spoonful of mixture and flatten out with a ladle. Sprinkle some blueberries on top and you’ll start to see the bubbles forming, flip and cook the other side. 



At this point you could have a plate warming in the oven and start stacking them up to keep warm. 
 Serve the Warm Pancakes with a Sprinkling of  Icing Sugar and Creme Fraiche on the side.