Food & Garden
An Organic & Seasonal Spring Menu For Two
My husband and I use every holiday as an excuse to cook something special, open a beautiful bottle of organic wine, and spend some time together in the kitchen. A special meal doesn’t have to be elaborate and often we don’t want to create a massive spread just for us two! Below you’ll find my husband, Adrien’s three course spring inspired meal that is perfect for a relaxed Easter meal at home.
REV Editor, Taylor
Starter: Sprouting Broccoli, Soft Boiled Egg, Pumpkin Seeds & Mustard-Anchovy Dressing
Sprouting broccoli is hardy and overwinters outdoors for harvesting in spring and is paired here with salty anchovies and the humble egg, a symbol for the new life that emerges during the vernal equinox.
1 medium egg
15g pumpkin seeds
300g purple sprouting / tenderstem broccoli
20ml olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
30ml olive oil
20g dijon mustard
10ml white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
Sprig of thyme leaves, stripped & chopped
Preheat the oven to its highest setting (250C).
Place the egg into boiling water, and simmer for 6.5 minutes (7 if large), drain, then run under cold water to prevent it from overcooking. Leave to cool in the cold water, then peel and slice in half.
Wash the broccoli well, slice them in half lengthwise (quarters if large) and place in a baking tray. Toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper and cover the tray tightly with tin foil and bake for 6 minutes. Remove the foil, turn the oven to the highest grill setting and grill for another 6 minutes, until the broccoli is cooked and crisp.
Toast the seeds in a pan on a high heat until popping & golden, around 3 minutes.
For the dressing, shake together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, anchovy and thyme in a jar until emulsified.
Plate the grilled broccoli, top with some dressing, then add the soft-boiled egg and toasted pumpkin seeds. Top with the last of the dressing and season the eggs lightly with a little pepper.
Main: Asparagus & Wild Garlic Risotto
The appearance of shoots of asparagus and wild garlic are a sure sign of springtime and are partnered together in this simple but delicious risotto.
650ml vegetable stock
250g bunch asparagus, washed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
150g risotto rice
150ml white wine
10g wild garlic or 3 cornered leek, roughly chopped
10g parsley, or chervil, finely chopped
30g butter, frozen
20g cold parmesan, finely grated, plus extra for garnish
Heat the stock in a small saucepan. Snap off the dried, fibrous ends of the asparagus and place in the pan to steep whilst the stock comes up to the boil.
Cut the tips off the asparagus and blanch for 1 min in the stock, then remove with a sieve, setting aside the tips, reserving the stock in the pan off the heat and discarding the woody ends. Cut the rest of the asparagus stems into rounds.
In another saucepan, add the olive oil and finely chopped onions. On a low heat, sweat them gently, making sure the ingredients don’t get colour, around 5-10 mins.
Put the stock back on the heat and keep at a gentle simmer.
When the onions are translucent, add rice and toast, stirring occasionally, until rice begins to ‘sing’ with a hiss and is becoming translucent, roughly 2 mins.
Turn up the heat slightly then add in the white wine, cooking off the alcohol and reducing the wine until barely any remains, approximately 1 min.
Add the raw asparagus stems and start adding the hot stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. After 15 mins, all the stock should be added, the rice should be creamy and nearly cooked with a slight bite. If it’s dry, add a splash of water.
Remove from the heat, stir in the wild garlic and reserved tips of asparagus. Place the frozen butter and grated parmesan on the top of the risotto, cover the saucepan and leave to rest for 2 minutes.
Using the handle, begin rhythmically pushing the pan back and forth, making the rice fold back on itself, emulsifying the butter, cheese and stock. Adjust seasoning if necessary (may not be necessary if your stock or butter is already salted).
Serve immediately. Garnish with parmesan and freshly milled black pepper.
Dessert: Pear Cake & Whipped Cream
With no fresh British fruits available at this time of year, now is the time to make use of the remnants of last year’s harvest! Certain varieties of apples and pears are suited to long term storage, and either can be used for this cake. This recipe makes 6-8 portions.
250g pear, peeled & cubed
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
125g white or wholemeal self raising flour, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 160C (convection oven) or 180 (conventional oven)
Grease the sides of a 20cm tin, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Beat the softened butter and sugar until pale.
Continue beating, adding the eggs one by one.
Add the vanilla, and fold in the flour with a spatula.
Fold in the pears.
Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream. The next day, the cake is best eaten when it has been slightly warmed throughout.