To be honest, I’m a little bit behind with uploading this post, as Asparagus season has been and gone. However, I still want to share it with you and to remember it for myself, as it’s very easy to make (in advance too), budget friendly, vegetarian and suitable for any occasion, such as dinner, picnic, or you can make it as individual portions for dinner parties, basically it’s very versatile. In a way, you can adapt it to suit the season. For example, now, you can use courgettes, or perhaps green /runner beans instead of asparagus.
FREE-FORM TART WITH POTATO AND ASPARAGUS
(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food Collection)
1 pack of all-butter puff pastry or shortcrust pastry
2-3 boiled potatoes, cooled, cut into thick slices
8-10 asparagus spears, blanched for 2-3 minutes in a boiling water in advance, let it dry
2-3 tablespoons wholegrain mustard
140g Gruyere or any other preferred hard cheese (I used Cheddar)
200g soured cream
salt & pepper to taste
- Heat oven to 180C fan with a baking tray inside.
- On a large sheet of baking parchment dusted with a little flour, roll out the pastry into a rough circle about 30cm wide, until the thickness of 2 x £1 coins.
- Trim the asparagus, snapping off woody ends. Cut the potatoes onto thick rounds.
- Brush the mustard over the pastry. Arrange the potatoes, asparagus and most of the cheese in layers in the centre of the base, leaving a border of pastry that’s roughly 5cm all the way around. Season and fold up the pastry edges to enclose the vegetables and cheese, pinching the edges to seal. (If you noticed on the photos, this time I missed this step completely, as I was short of pastry. And unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos first time around).
- Whisk together the soured cream and the egg with a little seasoning, then pour into the centre of the tart. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30 mins until the pastry is golden and crisp. Eat just warm or at room temperature.
This is brilliant recipe I came across on fellow-blogger site, called Pinch Purrfect. I cooked it the same night I saw it and since then it got a firm place into my go-to recipes collection. It’s really easy to cook, super tender and gingery. Definitely don’t skip the marinating stage. Even if it’s only for a half an hour (but I found the longer the better), it makes all the difference.
Original recipe doesn’t ask for any additional vegetables apart from ones stated on the list, but I found that addition of green pepper or spinach is a welcome extra.
HUNAN BEEF STIR-FRY
(Original recipe came from here)
1 pack of 4 Beef sizzler steaks or other steak, thinly sliced
1 green pepper, sliced on strips
handful of spinach (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-3 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons rice cooking wine (or I used white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 teaspoon ground cumin
- In a large bowl, stir together rice wine, soy sauce, corn starch, salt and pepper until everything is well mixed. Add the sliced beef to the marinade, mix well. Se aside to marinate for at least a half an hour, or even longer.
- In a small bowl mix together ginger, garlic, Sriracha, and cumin, set aside.
- In a wok, add oil and heat over medium-high heat for a few minutes until hot. Add marinated beef strips and fry in the oil for a few minutes until browned, constantly stirring. After a few minutes add the green pepper and /or spinach. Cook for a few more minutes.
- Then add in prepared sauce and cook for a few more minutes until well mixed.
- Take of the heat and serve immediately, garnish with sliced spring onion.
This recipe was born after craving for chocolate and peaches. I just thought it should go nice together and I didn’t want anything heavy. So I took a classic sponge recipe, substitute some of the flour with the coco powder. Then I decide to go for simple Chantilly cream and pistachio for decoration. Next time, I might try it with Mascarpone icing and toasted almonds instead.
CHOCOLATE SPONGE WITH PEACHES AND PISTACHIO
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g caster sugar
220g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
50g cocoa powder
300ml double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 tablespoons of apricot jam
6 fresh apricots, ripen but not mushy
50g pistachio, chopped )or toasted almonds)
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan. Lightly butter two loose-bottomed 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.
- Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and cocoa in a large bowl and beat with the mixer for 2 minutes, or until just blended.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Level the surface using a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Bake for 25-30 minutes. The tops of the cakes should spring back when pressed lightly with a finger. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Run a small palette knife around the edge of the tins, then carefully turn the cakes out onto a wire rack. Peel off the paper and leave to cool completely.
- While the cakes are cooling, put the jam in a little pan with 2 teaspoons of water and heat it up until it’s melted, set aside to cool slightly.
- Then make a Chantilly cream. Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl then whisk until soft peaks form. Add in the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix in gently until well incorporated.
- To assemble the cake, spread with the jam and half of the cream over the first cake, put the other one on top (top upwards), spread with the remaining of the cream, decorate with fresh peaches and pistachio. To go one step further, you can glaze the peaches with some of the melted apricot jam, to give this extra shine to the cake.