Asparagus Tart

85g of cold butter, cubed
140g of plain flour
190g of cheddar cheese, very finely grated

2 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper 

4 eggs 

140mls of milk 

2 spring onions, sliced 

1 tsp of nutmeg 

a small bunch of dill, optional 

300g of asparagus 

Asparagus season is short so I like to make the most of it while it is here. This savoury tart looks very impressive. You can prepare the base ahead of time if you wish. It freezes very well or will last in the fridge for a few days. 

Rub the butter into the flour with your hands until it looks like rough breadcrumbs. Stir in 85g of the finely grated cheddar and the black pepper and bring the pastry together with you hands. Wrap in cling film and put the ball of pasty into the fridge. 

Grease and flour your tin. I use a nine inch, loose bottom, flan tin. After it has hardened roll the pastry just larger than your tin and lay it gently onto it. Gently shape the pastry to fit the tin but do not push it too much into the corners. Place back into the fridge for a half an hour or the freezer for 10 minutes if you wish to speed things along. 

Bake blind with dried beans or shop bought ceramic beans for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and bake for another 10 minutes until it is just starting to turn golden. 

Whisk the eggs until they are starting to foam, add the milk, nutmeg and half of the remaining cheese. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese and the spring onion over the base. Pour the egg mixture on top. Lay the asparagus on top. I like to fan it out so it looks nice. Sprinkle with a little dill if you are using it. 

Bake at 180 degrees until set which should take about 35 minutes. Serve warm or cold. 

Eggs with Chorizo and Spinach 

Serves 4 

a dash of olive oil 

2 small onions, finely sliced 

4 cloves of garlic 

100g of chorizo, chopped 

8 tomatoes, chopped 

1 tsp of coriander seeds, crushed 

1 red chilli, finely sliced 

a handful of spinach 

4 eggs 

4 spring onions, finely sliced 

Heat the oil in an ovenproof pan and sauté the onion, until it is completely soft and transparent. Add the garlic and continue frying for another minute. 

Add the tomatoes, red chilli, chorizo and coriander seeds. Allow to bubble away for 20 minutes. If you have a chance to make this the day before, it will taste even nicer as the flavours will have blended. 

Taste the sauce and season. It may need a little honey, if the tomatoes were not fully ripe. 

Stir the spinach into the sauce and make four, small wells. Crack the eggs into the wells and place into the oven, until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Sprinkle with the spring onion. 

Asparagus Tart

Cucumber Salad with Roast Garlic Dressing 

Serves 4

8 cloves garlic, in the skin 

3 tbs of cider wine vinegar 

1 tbs of honey 

1 tbs of Dijon mustard 

1 tbs of lime juice and zest 

100 mls of olive oil 

1 cucumber, sliced 

two handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved 

1 red onion, sliced 

100g of ricotta cheese, broken into pieces 

a handful of basil leaves 

crunchy bread for four 

Toss the garlic in a little oil and seasoning and roast until soft. 

Combine the garlic, vinegar, mustard, honey, lime juice, zest in a liquidiser and blitz until smooth. With the blender on as slow as it will go pour in the oil in a thin stream until you have an emulsified dressing. Taste and season. 

Toss the cucumber, cherry tomatoes and red onion in the dressing. 

Toss the ricotta and leaves through the salad. Serve with the bread 

Pork and Gooseberries on Rice 

Serves 4 

rice for four 

1 tbs of honey 

2 tbs of light soya sauce 

1 clove of garlic, crushed 

8 small pork chops 

100g of gooseberries 

1 red chilli, finely chopped 

1 tbs of fish sauce 

Boil the rice in lightly salted water. 

Take a teaspoon of the honey and stir it into the soya sauce. Add the crushed garlic and rub the sauce all over the chops. Set aside in the fridge for 20 minutes. 

In the meantime, put the gooseberries into a saucepan with the rest of the honey, the chilli and fish sauce. Allow to bubble away over a low heat with the lid on the saucepan. Add 2 tbs of water, if needs be, then taste carefully and season. 

Heat a griddle pan and rub it with oil. Pan-fry the chops for 10 minutes, turning once or twice. 

Serve the chops on the rice with the sauce spooned over. 

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Spaghetti with Garlic Butter 

Serves 4

400g of asparagus 

spaghetti for four 

a generous knob of butter 

6 cloves of garlic, sliced 

5 smoked streaky rashers, cut into small pieces 

100g of parmesan, grated 

a handful of rocket 

Boil the asparagus in lightly salted water over a gentle heat until they soften but still retain a bite. Keep the water and use it to cook the spaghetti. You may need to add a bit more water. Drain when the pasta is cooked. 

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic and bacon until both are turning golden. Stir in the pasta and season well with black pepper. Cut the asparagus into bite size pieces and stir though the pasta. Sprinkle with the cheese and the rocket leaves and serve.


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