May 2010

Asparagus and Crème Fraiche Frittata

A good chum brought some of the most amazing asparagus spears today , still squealing they come from a 14 year old bed on an allotment , believe it or not the new users want to get rid of the asparagus and want to plant spuds instead , do they have no idea how long it takes to get a sturdy crop of the gorgeous green spears obviously not , so my buddy was gifted them and brought me some.

Eggs and asparagus where made for each other. This simple dish really lets the super spears shine – great for a light supper, brunch or a picnic. Serves 4

A dozen asparagus spears
Zest from a whole lemon and juice from 1/2
4 hen eggs or 3 duck eggs
100ml crème fraiche
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the bottom half of each asparagus spear.

Trim the very woody end off.

Steam or boil just until tender.

Cut each spear in half.

Set the tips aside and cut the peeled end bits into 1cm pieces.

Whisk the eggs with the crème fraiche, lemon juice and zest.

Season and fold in the cut asparagus pieces.

Rub a bit of olive oil into a smallish oven-safe frying pan.

Tip in the egg mixture.

Arrange the asparagus spears on top – be fancy a make a little fan design.

Grind a bit more pepper over the top.

Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until puffed up and golden on top.

Serve with lightly dressed salad leaves and some bread.

Rhubarb Crumble Streusel

So what to do with all this new season rhubarb.

I’m trying this year to actually eat what I grow rather than gifting it all away.

I’m not a jam fan.

So came up with this idea.


Delicately sweet and tangy rhubarb is a perfect match for the buttery shortbread base and nutty streusel topping. Makes 9 squares.

8 large stalks of rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 3cm pieces
400g caster sugar
1 litre water
½ vanilla pod, sliced open lengthwise(optional)
150g almonds
200g plain flour
2 tsp freshly grated ginger root
175g unsalted butter, fridge cold, cubed
50g pine nuts
50g macadamia nuts
2 tbsp icing sugar (optional)

Place 300g of the sugar in a saucepan with the water.

Simmer until sugar is dissolved.

Add the prepared rhubarb to the sugar syrup and simmer for 20‐30 minutes – until the rhubarb is soft enough for a fork to go through it with ease.

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Using baking parchment, line a 20cm square loose‐bottomed cake tin.

Place 100g almonds in a food processor and blend until finely ground.

Chop the remaining almonds roughly and put in a mixing bowl.

Add the flour, ginger, sugar and butter to the ground nuts in the processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Transfer half of the mixture to the bowl with the chopped nuts and add the pine and macadamia nuts.

Process the rest of the mixture left in the food processor until it forms a ball.

Tip this pastry into the cake tin and, using the palm of your hand, press it into the base.

Spread the rhubarb evenly across the pastry base and top with the nutty streusel topping.

Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and biscuity on top.

When cool, dust with the icing sugar and cut into slices.


Scafario Dipping Sauce

For my housemate in Paihia

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: About 10 minutes

Yield: About 11⁄2 cups

1⁄2 cup chunky peanut butter
1⁄4 cup lime juice
1⁄3 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup sesame oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon Chilli
1⁄4 teaspoon chilli oil
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh coriander
1⁄4 cup sliced green onions
1⁄2 cup water
1 teaspoon cornflour

1 In a saucepan, combine peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil,
sugar, red pepper flakes, chile oil, cilantro, and onions.

2 Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

3 In a small bowl, mix water and cornflour until well blended.

4 Add the water-cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and stir until the sauce
has thickened slightly.

5 Remove from heat and let cool in the refrigerator before serving.