At the day job we are part of the Riverford fruit box for work scheme, each week we are delivered a big box of fruit that is supposedly meant to last a week inevitably it never does. In each box which is delivered there is always a recipe card included in the box as well. I always tend to be late each morning for the day job, even though I only live a fifteen minute walk fro work. Nevertheless I always make sure that I'm there early or at the best on time when the box of fruit gets delivered on a Monday morning.The sole reason to get there on time is to nab the recipe card which is in the box, I've even nicked a ring binder out of the stationary cupboard at work to start putting them in.
Jane Baxter and Guy Watson's approach to their products and how to cook and use them is second to none. A philosophy of producing food themselves from start to finish - from the field to the table, following the seasons and the produce which appears with the weather changes of the year.This is the same philosophy which I grew up with, both my dad and paternal grandad were Market Gardener's growing Vegetables and Salad products on a small holding with a fruit and veg shop attached to the side of our home. Well until the invention of the big out of town superstores, which appeared in the nineties and more or less single handily wiped out all independent shops in the area which we grew up.
As a family we always ate seasonal food, well before it became the "in" and ethical thing to do. It was second nature to follow the seasons and whatever glut of amazing produce appeared.During winter we ate root veggies, brassica's, wholesome vegetable soups with pulses, endless casseroles, stews and roast joints of meat, whilst the summer months meals would consist of amazing fresh salads (which me and my sister always went to pick from the fields and greenhouses for tea), quiches and cold meats.
So to celebrate the fantastic weather which we have been having recently, the wonder of light nights once again and the influence once again of the Riverford Recipe Cards, I decided to prepare a starter salad of Asparagus, Pea and Mint Salad for guests at the last secret supper we had last week. A light salad combining the last of the seasons, British Asparagus, new season peas, combined with mint and a lemon dressing, topped with crumbled feta cheese bought from the deli counter at the local Turkish supermarket.
Asparagus, Pea and Mint Salad
1-2 bunches of asparagus, woody ends trimmed
4-5 handfuls of peas
1 handful of roughly chopped mint
150g of crumbled feta, could use Goats curd or Goats cheese
2 tbsp good olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Maldon Salt and black pepper
1. Take off the asparagus tips with about an inch of the stem and put to one side.
2. Finely slice the rest of the Asparagus stems and then steam until just tender, then refresh in cold water and drain.
3. Cook and refresh the asparagus tips in the same way.
4. Cook the peas in a lidded pan with only a few tablespoons of water for a couple of minutes. The peas should be tender and bright green. Refresh the same as the asparagus tips and stems.
5. Mix together all the dressing ingredients and taste - it should taste lemony and well seasoned.
6. Mix peas, asparagus stalks and the mint with most of the dressing and then place in the bowl.
7. Dress the tips of asparagus separately and scatter over the salad.
8. Crumble the feta cheese over the top of the salad.
Great light salad for the summer, tastes light and fresh and some what restorative at the same time, as it helped to get rid of a lingering hangover