Spring is a wonderful time of year for foodies and cooks alike. Fresh produce we’ve been sorely missing for the past few months will be back on the shelves (or farmer’s market, ideally), ready to be chopped and diced and turned into some delicious springtime recipes. Here are a few of our favourites, perfect for nibbling yourself, sharing, or delivering as a gift:
Asparagus, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Parcels
Asparagus is one of our favourite springtime treats, with it coming into season around April (although it can be as early as February in warmer climes) and running through till May. To celebrate, we like to incorporate it into this delectable starter:
- Blanch your asparagus for a couple of minutes, then cool down under cold running water. Lay a chunk of mozzarella over two spears, then place another two spears on top and wrap the bundle in a strip or two of prosciutto.
- Gently heat some olive oil in a frying pan, and fry the parcels until the mozzarella begins to ooze.
- Serve up with an extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, and top with basil.
Roasted Spring Vegetable Salad
It would be a heinous crime not to take advantage of all the delicious vegetables that pop up in the spring, and with that in mind we love to dish up this warming roasted salad for our main course:
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
- Slice up some leeks, radishes and asparagus (our dessert won’t have asparagus in, promise), place them in a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, and allow to cool.
- Blanch some sugar snap peas for two to three minutes (until they go bright green), then drain and run under cold water to cool.
- Throw the peas together in a large bowl with some chopped goat’s cheese, croutons and sunflower seeds.
- Mix the roasted vegetables in.
Early in the season, gooseberries are still in their hard, sour, mouth-tingling phase – perfect for making a delicious gooseberry pie!
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Add 350g of gooseberries, 80g of caster sugar and 125g of ground almonds to a bowl, then mix together.
- Line a 22cm metal baking dish with butter, then layer 6 sheets of filo pastry in, making sure the edges hang over the sides. Brush the pastry with some melted butter.
- Tip the gooseberries in and then fold the edges of the filo pastry into towards the middle, so it covers the gooseberries. Brush with more butter and sprinkle with some sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Serve hot, with generous lashings of cream.
If you want to treat somebody at Easter, or if their birthday falls during the spring, these ingredients are perfect to gather together for gift hampers! We hope these recipes get your taste buds tingling in anticipation of the delights that await you in the coming months – we know ours are!
Louise Jenkins writes on behalf of Virginia Hayward. For more information click here
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