Velouté d’asperges | Cream of Asparagus Soup

This soup, so they say, is reminiscent of the creations of the 18th century French grande cuisine. Asparagus was introduced by the Italians during the Renaissance, and was part of a change in eating habits that saw vegetables introduced into grande cuisine. Previously they had been considered the food of peasants.

This soup is thick, smooth and delicate as well as utterly delicious. It is simple to make with easily accessible ingredients. It is the perfect soup for year-round enjoyment, as it can be served cold in Summer and hot in Winter.  We’ve been making this soup since the early 2000’s.

The soup can also be made quickly and easily in any high speed blender that also heats foods as it blends. I have given the instructions for making it this way as well as the usual, stove-top method. In the blender it takes around 15 mins, including cooking the asparagus. When you are using the high speed blender (mine is a Vitamix), then there are no worries about stringy stalks on the asparagus – all is blended into a smooth, perfect soup.

Similar recipes include Chilled Asparagus Soup, Gentle Asparagus Soup, and Asparagus Raita.

Browse all of our other Asparagus Soup recipes, our Asparagus recipes, and our French dishes. Or explore our Late Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Velouté d’asperges | Cream of Asparagus Soup”

Advertisements

Raw Vegetable Salad with Mustard Mayo Dressing

A crunchy salad that lets the vegetables shine in a mustardy dressing of mayo thinned with vinegar and oil. It is an absolute delight. The dressing in this one takes an ordinary bowl of raw veg and turns it into heaven. I kid you not.

Ottolenghi and I always enjoy a crunchy salad like this one, I can tell, where the vegetables of the season are just chopped and thrown into a bowl with a fine vinaigrette. He says his Mother often made it for him when he visited home. The result is stunning; it captures the essence of the season and is why this salad should only be made with fresh, seasonal, top-notch vegetables. This really is crucial. Ditto the dressing: if you can use a good-quality sunflower oil – one that actually tastes of sunflower seeds – it will make a real difference. Thanks for that advice, Yotham.

It is such a wonderful salad, so healthy – a good salad to have after the xmas – new year over eating.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Roasted Cauliflower and Hazelnut Salad, Raw Beetroot and Herb Salad, and White Radish Salad.

Browse all of our Cauliflower Salads and our Radish Salads. Our huge collection of Salads is here. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Raw Vegetable Salad with Mustard Mayo Dressing”

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus has that gentle flavour that makes it an ideal Spring vegetable, especially for soups. Asparagus soups do not have the heaviness of Winter soups, and as we emerge from jumpers, scarves, hats and overcoats, it is a delight to have its gentleness.

I don’t mean to imply that this soup should be kept only for Spring – indeed it will be a staple in your kitchen from Spring right through to the end of Autumn, at the times you can source decent asparagus. This recipe is a take on the recipe that appeared in Moosewood all those years ago – you Woodstock fans will know what I mean (and I am not referring to the bird!). It is a little different to the French Cream of Asparagus that we have also been making for quite a number of years.

This soup can be made in a high speed blender, one that heats the soup as it blends. While it misses the sweetness that can only be found in slowly cooked onions, sauteed asapragus and toasted roux, it is still a great option for evenings after a long day at work.

Similar recipes include the French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup and Gentle Asparagus and Turmeric Soup.

Browse all of our Asparagus dishes and all of our Soups. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Cream of Asparagus Soup”

Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress

Green lentils, brown lentils, red lentils, black lentils, yellow lentils, split peas, dried peas – the world of Western lentils is quite different to the world of Indian lentils. It presents a challenge to your pantry space if you commonly cook lentils from both cuisines. Two of the coloured lentils we adore and keep in our pantry each winter – the green French or Du Puy lentil, and the black Beluga lentil.

This salad is terrific, mixing hot green lentils with parmesan and asparagus with a dressing made from watercress and parsley. In many ways, this dish is about the parmesan rather than the lentils, dressing or asparagus. That yeasty, earthy umami flavour with the lentils and dressing as a base will have you coming back for more and more. The asparagus offers a delightful crunch.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty. Currently we are cooking from his book Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by.  For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

We use Australian measurements: 1 tspn = 5ml; 1 Tblspn = 20ml; 1 cup = 250ml.

Continue reading “Green Puy Lentils, Asparagus and Watercress”

Asparagus Raita

This raita is a very simple one – the spices are in the tadka rather than layering them as powders in the yoghurt. But my, it is delicious. The recipe was given to me by a Maharashtrian friend who was making it for a special event at their home.  I do love to make recipes that are given to me, as the chain of links formed by people and recipes is something special and important. In days gone, the passing of recipes from person to person was very important – no social media, few books, rare magazines. So word of mouth was the conduit, along with the Saturday paper Ladies Section and locally printed books compiled by Women’s groups.

Enjoy this raita, it is special for several reasons.

Similar recipes include: Pomegranate Raita, Carrot Pachadi, and Bhindi Raita.

Browse all of our Raitas and all of our Asparagus dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Asparagus Raita”

Chilled Asparagus Soup

Oh, the hot days of summer! Chilled soups are gorgeous and great for picnics or days at the beach, or just at home. This is a creamy, wonderful, silky soup for those hottest of hot days.

Or really, make this soup at any time of the year when the weather is warm and you can sit in the sunshine. There is no need to wait for Summer.

Some similar recipes that you might enjoy are French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Cream of Asparagus Soup, Quick Tomato and Cucumber Cold Soup, Fantastic Avocado and Celery Cold Soup and Roasted Tomato and Corn Cold Soup for Summer.

You might also like our Cold Soup recipes and our Asparagus recipes. Or explore our easy Early Summer recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes.

Continue reading “Chilled Asparagus Soup”

Sri Lankan Okra Curry

Oh the joy of Okra, and in this dish they are quickly cooked so remain crisp and crunchy. They say that okra is good for your brain cells, so eat as many as you can! We have focused on okra recently, so there will be an ever increasing set of recipes for you to choose from.

You can also make this dish with asparagus or broccoli.

Look for okra in your local Asian and Indian shops, even Asian-owned green grocers. You will get them more cost-effectively there – about 25% of the price you might pay elsewhere.

Are you looking for other Okra dishes? Read more about Okra here. Then try Vendakka Khichadi, Crispy Okra in Yoghurt, Okra with a Cumin and Yoghurt Sauce, Sri Lankan Okra in Coconut Milk, Okra with Onions Subzi, Ladyfingers Masala, Okra Stuffed with OnionsWarm Salad of Charred Okra, and Okra with Mustard Oil.

What about other Sri Lankan dishes? Try Sri Lankan Okra Curry with Coconut Milk, Sri Lankan Long Bean Curry, Mung Dal with Coconut Milk, Crunchy Crackers, and Sakkarai Pongal.

Or browse all of our Okra recipes, and all of our Sri Lankan dishes. Or explore our Indian recipes and our Indian Essentials here. Alternatively, explore our Mid Autumn collection of dishes.

Continue reading “Sri Lankan Okra Curry”

BBQ’d Spiced Asparagus

This recipe comes from the Asparagus Growers in Victoria, and it is quite a Summer hit. It is the recipe attached to the bunches of Asparagus we buy in the shop. With the BBQ (Grill) heated to roast some eggplant, it seemed perfect to throw the Asparagus on too. The asparagus spears are coated in a yummy dressing with cumin and coriander powder before being quickly grilled on the BBQ hotplate. Straight to the table from there, it is a quick and easy recipe.

AND we put the leftover oil-lemon juice-spice mixture to good use  in the Grilled Eggplant with Tahina (the reason the eggplants were being roasted). A perfectly timed coincidence.

Are you after other Asparagus Recipes? Try Asparagus Risotto, Asparagus Pesto, and Asparagus Soup.

Are you looking for BBQ’d Recipes? Try Grilled Pecorino in Vine Leaves, Stuffed Mushrooms, Spicy Potatoes, and Marinated Eggplant.

Feel free to browse all of our Asparagus recipes and all of our BBQ recipes. Or take some time to explore our Late Summer dishes.

Continue reading “BBQ’d Spiced Asparagus”

Marinated Eggplant on the BBQ with Tomatoes and Asparagus

Smokey charred eggplant from the BBQ

It is really nice to come home from work, turn the heater on, and light the BBQ. With a bit of forethought, I had remembered to marinate some eggplant in the morning and left it to sit for the day in the fridge. Eggplant has a wonderful ability to absorb flavours, and the smokiness that cooking it on a hot plate on the BBQ makes a surprisingly divine dish.

While the BBQ is hot, cook some side dishes too – tomatoes, onions, fennel, asparagus, capsicum – there are so many vegetables that are also BBQ-friendly. And the aromas that surround you while they are cooking! Aaah, life is good.

Are you looking for other Eggplant dishes? Try Eggplants in a Creamy Peanut Gravy, Baked Eggplant Stuffed with Cheese and Tomatoes, and Aubergines in Coconut Milk.

Feel free to browse all of our Eggplant recipes. Or you might like to browse all of our BBQ recipes. Or explore our Early Autumn recipe collection.

Continue reading “Marinated Eggplant on the BBQ with Tomatoes and Asparagus”

Asparagus Risotto with Basil

Perfectly Spring.

Here is a beautiful spring risotto, made with asparagus. This gorgeous, simple and delicious green risotto really shows off the flavours of the asparagus.

What is it about this risotto? It is the first of the season’s asparagus that is looked forward to by Italians with a lot of joy. Asparagus risotto, with its melting creaminess offset against the chew of the rice and the delicacy of young asparagus, enriched with butter and  parmesan which is whipped into the rice at the end, is a joy to create and a pleasure to eat.

The secret to the dish is softened asparagus, properly cooked rice and using good risotto rice. Strictly an entree dish in Northern Italy, in Australia we have turned this into a one-course meal. It pairs well with a fresh green garden salad.

If you haven’t cooked risotto before, here are some basics.

Similar recipes include Three Cheese Risotto, Parsnip Risotto with RosemaryBeetroot and Pinot Risotto, and Risotto with Mushrooms.

You might also like to browse all of our Risotto recipes and our Asparagus recipes. Our Italian recipes are here. And check out our easy Mid Spring recipes too.

This is a vegetarian recipe from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can browse other recipes from this blog in our Retro Recipes series.

Continue reading “Asparagus Risotto with Basil”

Shaved Asparagus Salad

This salad is a lot of fun, and the shaved asparagus is fresh and delightful.

This salad is a lot of fun, but a bit of work to shave the stalks. It is easier if you find large stalked Asparagus, but make sure it is not stringy.

You might also like to try Smoky Aubergine and Asparagus Salad, Asparagus Soup, Cream of Asparagus Soup, Asparagus in Pastry, or Asparagus Pesto.

All of our Asparagus recipes are here. You might like to browse our Salad recipes here  too. We have a selection of Bittman Salads. Or find inspiration in our Early Summer Dishes.

Continue reading “Shaved Asparagus Salad”

SPRING – The Joy of Asparagus | Seasonal Cooking

Get your asparagus on this Spring.

Spring Asparagus is in a class of its own. Fresh, gentle, spring green and tender stalks – for me, so evocative of hot steamy days and the typical Australian BBQ with a large plate of char grilled asparagus stalks with lemon and sea salt.

I have been baking it lately, wrapping it in foil with butter, lemon juice and sea salt, or with some white wine, butter and sea salt. Popped in an oven for 15 or 20 minutes and the resulting tender and flavoured asparagus is meltingly tender. Asparagus and butter is a perfect match determined by some golden deity many eons ago.

Continue reading “SPRING – The Joy of Asparagus | Seasonal Cooking”

A Gentle, Quick Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup – perfect for early spring when asparagus is plentiful and cheap.

A cup of quick asparagus soup will give you a boost on a Spring day. It is so easy, and asparagus is plentiful and cheap at that time of the year.

Similar recipes include Cream of Asparagus Soup, Chilled Asparagus Soup, French Cream of Asparagus Soup, Autumn Vegetables a la Grecque, and du Puy Lentil Soup.

Browse our asparagus recipes, or explore all of our Soup recipes. Find inspiration in our Mid Spring recipes. Continue reading “A Gentle, Quick Asparagus Soup”

SPRING into Salads | Seasonal Cooking

There is nothing better in Spring than sharing a salad – or two.

It is so exciting to have Spring appear, creeping around the corner as she does, not really making her presence felt, just a little warmer, a little sunnier day by day. Capricious too, bringing thunderstorms and hail one moment and radiant sunshine the next.

Today, in all her glory, Spring served up a magnificent day. The afternoon was spent with friends eating and communing, enjoying her magnificence under sprouting grapevines, tiny tomato plants in just a tad too early, herbs flourishing.

Continue reading “SPRING into Salads | Seasonal Cooking”

Asparagus in Pastry with Cream and Fresh Pecorino

Another warm day, and cooking on the BBQ seems like a good idea. It is quite easy to cook these pastries in a covered BBQ.

Another warm day, and cooking on the BBQ seems like a good idea. It is quite easy to cook these asparagus pastries in a covered BBQ. But it does need good quality asparagus – stringy stalks spoil the experience. You can, of course, cook these in the oven as well, at about 200C.

Similar recipes include Tomato Tarte Tatin, and Potato Tatin.

Are you looking for asparagus recipes? Look no further. Or perhaps some BBQ recipes? Browse our Nigel Slater recipes here. Or explore our Summer recipes here and here.

Continue reading “Asparagus in Pastry with Cream and Fresh Pecorino”