I love artichokes. Artichoke Globes that is, not those pesky Jerusalem ones, they’re gross and they make you pass a serious amount of gas…true story! I’ve never actually cooked the Globe ones from scratch before, I have just bought them covered in oil in a jar. Don’t get me wrong, jar ones absolutely have their place, but now Globe Artichokes are in season I came across them at my local market, they looked so pretty and were so cheap, I just had to grab myself a load and figured I would figure it out! Turns out they’re not too difficult to prepare, fiddly sure, but not so hard. I also grabbed a bunch of Asparagus because hello Asparagus is in season too…man Spring is the best!
This would make a great side dish, perhaps to a risotto or a pie of some sort, your side veggies definitely don’t just have to be boiled!
Artichoke Hearts and Asparagus
5-6 baby globe artichokes (or regular sized ones)
Bunch of asparagus
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
- Rinse the artichokes in cold water.
- Peel off the outer leaves until you reach the paler leaves. Trim the tops and the stem.
- Slice them into quarters, and then place them in a bowl of cold water with 1/2 of the lemon juice, whilst you prepare the rest of them. If you’re using regular sized artichokes you need to make sure you scoop out the furry middle, you don’t need to worry about this with the baby ones, they’re just babies.
- Steam the artichokes using the lemon water for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus by snapping off the lower part of the stalk and discard.
- In a baking tray, place the asparagus along with the steamed artichokes.
- Drizzle with olive oil, the remaining lemon juice and the garlic cloves, I threw in the juiced lemon too.
- Place under the grill for 10 minutes on a medium heat.
- Season with salt and pepper.
Hallelujah! Asparagus is finally here!
When you eat in tune with the seasons and something that you haven’t eaten in nearly a year comes back into season, it’s defiantly reason to celebrate! I choose to do so by making something extra-specially delicious. Last year Veronica shared this asparagus soup for the illusive two month asparagus window that runs from the end of April to June here in the UK. I have chosen to share one of my all time favourite dishes, a Vietnamese Pho with the addition of some grilled asparagus which is my favourite way to cook it!!
A traditional Pho is all about a slow cooked broth, normally made with beef. However, the main star of the show is really the aromatic spices not the meat so it easily adapts to create a super tasty vegan meal and this version uses a bit of vegetable stock to speed up the process. But of course if you have time, the longer you cook it for the better it’s going to taste!
The broth makes enough to serve four which is great if there’s just two of you, as it means tomorrow’s dinner is going to super quick to make! Add more veggies and noodles if you’re making it for 4 first time round.
Vietnamese Vegan Phở with Grilled Asparagus
For the broth:
5cm chunk of ginger
3 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
4 cardomon pods
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 1/2 litres of vegetable stock made with 1 1/2 tbsp vegan bouillon
1 1/2 tbsp good quality soy sauce (such as kikkoman)
5cm piece young garlic
200g brown rice noodles
8 asparagus spears
Seasonal leafy greens, such as kale, chard, pak choi, wild garlic
Large handful of bean sprouts
Fresh herbs such as thai basil, coriander and mint
1 lime, quartered
1 red chilli, sliced
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C, quarter the onions, leaving the skin on, chop the ginger into a few large chunks and bake for about 15 minutes, using a dash of oil until the edges start to brown.
- In a large, heavy bottomed pan, dry fry the whole spices until they become aromatic.
- Roughly chop the carrots and garlic into large chunks and add to the spices with the onion, ginger and stock.
- Simmer for at least half an hour, when ready strain through a fine sieve or muslin and reheat.
- Cook your noodles according to the packet instrucitons which should take about 5-10 minutes, then rinse the noodles.
- Place the asparagus on a baking tray, season and drizzle with olive oil and grill for 5 minutes.
- You can either lightly steam your greens or just let the broth cook them in the bowl when serving, it really depends on what you’re using. For example I would steam spring greens but not spinach.
- To serve, divide the noodles between bowls, then pour over the stock. Arrange your raw or lightly steamed greens, bean sprouts, herbs, chilli and lime around the bowl, placing the grilled asparagus on top. Then dig in!
Happy asparagus season!
You can find Asparagus in the supermarkets pretty much all year round but it will certainly have clocked up a serious amount of air miles to get there. Imports from countries such as Peru mean we can “enjoy” Asparagus when its out of season here in the UK, if, we’re willing to ignore the fact it’s potentially travelled thousands of miles to reach us.
Whilst it certainly seems appealing and convenient to buy whatever fruit and veg you fancy all year round, I think there’s plenty of benefits to eating seasonally. Not only does it reduce your carbon footprint, it keeps you in tune with the seasons and makes you really appreciate each and every vegetable.
Asparagus season in the UK normally runs from around the end of April into June. So if you hadn’t already noticed these little green spears showing their heads at your local market, grocery shop or supermarket, then what are you waiting for!! Go wild! Buy them, cook them, eat them and go and buy some more before the season is over. Indulge yourselves and savour every last mouthful, knowing that to truly live seasonally it’ll be a whole year before you get the pleasure again.
I know its May and we’re technically meant to be leaving soup territory, but the weather has been cold and windy enough to bring soup back onto my menu. And yes, you’re right, peas aren’t in season yet but that’s the beauty of vegetables that freeze well like peas. Our bountiful UK crop can be packed up and frozen so we can enjoy them all year round with fresh, seasonal produce that doesn’t store or freeze well. So here it is, in season asparagus and all season frozen pea soup!
Asparagus & Pea Soup
Small bunch of asparagus
200g frozen peas
A drizzle of olive oil
2 sticks of celery
1 litre of vegetable stock
Salt & pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a pan, add the chopped onion and sauté down.
- Chop the celery and asparagus and add to the pan, along with the peas.
- Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for half an hour.
- Using a stick blender, blitz until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
I served this springtime soup with freshly made spelt soda bread. It makes the perfect lunch or light evening meal.
Enjoy Asparagus season! Use #wrappedinewspaper to show us what you’ve been making with this years crop on instagram or twitter.