Tag Archives: asparagus

Chicken Thighs & Asparagus Recipe

I’m aware always of using ingredients that are

A) Seasonal

b) local, or at least national

But I’ve a bit of a grá (love in Gaeilge- and perfectly describes my love of this veggie) for asparagus.  Every now and then it’s just the epitomy of luxury for me.  My father-in-law grows some in his garden.  It’s perfectly delicate, and the entire crop would usually fit in the palm of your hand.  So I have to purchase.  And try to do this around June/ July, when it IS in season in this part of the world.

Continue reading

Butter, many forms, but pure flavour

Butter, for me, is the best way to introduce visitors to the Irish flavours in food.  You name it, we add butter to it.  Nowadays, of course you can get any amount of flavoured butters.  And recently we decided to have a tasting lunch. (Any excuse!!)

 

Many types of Butter

A melody of butters

We got a selection, of what I would call, gourmet types from Ardkeen Stores.  We knew we would definitely get a good selection as they always support Irish brands of quality. The Abernethy selection just looked so inviting.  And I’ve had a penchant for the Glenilen one anyway.  I love the texture and mouthfeel.  Which sounds a bit poncy, but this kind of product is a little posh, if the truth be told.

My ever resourceful husband put each on a plate with a different coloured knife so that we would know which we were tasting.  The other pre-requisites were blaas and my own brown bread.

Copyright Jeni Pim I think the colour of the butter is very important.  And this is, for me, an indicator of the quality of the product.  It generally has a pale golden colour from the Irish Cream that goes into it , but varies from deep yellow to nearly white, depending on the country of origin. Its unmodified colour is dependent on the animals’ feed and is often, unfortunately manipulated with food colourings in the commercial manufacturing process, most commonly carotene or annatto.  But back to pleasantries: (In no particular order)

Smoked butter-

I lovely smokey flavour which worked on both types of bread, and would be gorgeous, we felt with some fish.  A really Irish taste as far as I was concerned.

“Traditional”-

This was such a gorgeous colour, and although it was the first to be eaten, it was just because it was a familiar, homely flavour that we all know and love.  

Handcrafted Butter (Glenilen)-

As a small disclaimer, I’ve had this butter before.  Very regularly.  I really love it.  It’s my sandwich butter of choice.  And it didn’t disappoint in the tastings either.

Dulse & Seasalt-
Copyright Jeni Pim

Dulse & Seasalt

This was the winner for us on the “lunch tasting”.  I think, in part, because of it’s unique flavour and look.  I’m all about the foraging and local resources.  And this just ticked all of those boxes.

However, I feel there can never truly be enough testing, so now I have an excuse to buy asparagus.  Not that I need an excuse. well, maybe a small one when it’s not in season.

And the verdict? FABULOUS!

 

Copyright Jeni Pim

Steamed Aspargus with melted butter

   

Chicken & Asparagus in a White Wine Sauce

I just love asparagus.  And tis the season as they say.  I’ve a few recipes that I want to try, but this one  is a constant reminder of the good things in life.  And, to be honest, it’s sometimes nice, as the saying goes to pour one glass for the recipe, and one glass for yourself!

Wine

 

Chicken & Asparagus in a White Wine Sauce

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

25g Butter

25g flour

1 glass of nice white wine

125ml of chicken stock, or water if you don’t have it

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and mashed

Large handful of fresh asparagus spears

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Fresh herbs, chopped.

 

Method

Place each chicken breast half between double sheets of clingfilm; flatten the breasts by approximately half.  Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.  Place flour in a shallow dish.  Cover the chicken in flour.  Add chicken to pan, cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove the chicken from the pan and keep warm.  Add wine, stock, and garlic to the pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook this for about 5 minutes.

 

Break the asparagus stems where they naturally break, add the spear heads; cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the spears is still crisp but tender.

Remove this from the heat; stir in the fresh herbs and lemon juice. Serve the asparagus and sauce with chicken.  And of course a little extra glass of wine…

Chicken and Asparagus

Chicken and Asparagus, in a white wine sauce

Birthdays and Parties- The Big Family Events

As we have a large extended family, there are regular birthdays and various celebrations.  We all give a hand, and this makes life easier for everyone!

Robert was away for his 17th birthday in Romania, so we had a cake for him when he came home for his stopover-

Robert and his Birthday Cake

Robert and his Birthday Cake

It was a variation on his favourite- vanilla layers with raspberries and cream, covered in an Italian Meringue, finished with a blow torch.

This weekend I’m on savoury duty for my nieces birthday, I’m thinking a nice salad- and a vegetarian tart- maybe asparagus if I can lay my hands on some nice stuff.

Asparagus

Asparagus

We learnt so many salads in Ballymaloe, and I really came to love making those salads that weren’t simply based on lettuce.  The roasted sweet potato and red onion with bulgar and herbs is one of those.  So simple.  So Healthy.  So tasty.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion with Bulgar and herbs

Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion with Bulgar and herbs

The tart took more time and effort, as it has many stages, but is totally worth it.  First the pastry base is made and blind baked,

Pastry Shell ready to be baked blind.

Pastry Shell ready to be baked blind.

While that’s baking I prepared the fillings, sautéing the finely chopped onions, blanching the asparagus tips, and whisking the eggs, milk and cream.

Asparagus tips

Asparagus tips

After quickly combining everything in the shell, and a 30 minute bake…. voilà!

Asparagus Tart

Asparagus Tart

And everything went down a treat.  Now just the washing up to tackle….

 

Forgotten Veg-Sea Kale

I have decided to start a campaign to re-introduce my followers to forgotten vegetables and fruit.  Sea Kale is in season at the moment, and has a very short “shelf” life, so is the first in this series.

Sea Kale hiding under the terracotta

Sea Kale hiding under the terracotta pot

Sea Kale (Crambe maritima), is a brassica, and related to the cabbage.  Originally foraged along coastlines, and used in recipes a little like a poor man’s asparagus.  Forager’s use to pile the shingle over the emerging roots to prevent them developing chlorophyll and becoming less tender.  In our garden, we cover them with terracotta pots to prevent this same thing.

Sea kale shaded from the sun

Sea kale shaded from the sun

Sea Kale- Uncovered

Sea Kale- Uncovered

 

By the early eighteenth century, it had become established as a garden vegetable, but its height of popularity was the early nineteenth century when sea kale appeared in Thomas Jefferson’s Garden Book of 1809.

Tender Shoots

Tender Shoots

 

It has a delicate flavour, and is perfect steamed and served with salt, pepper and butter.

Sea Kale with butter, salt and pepper

Sea Kale with butter, salt and pepper

 

But today I made a béchamel sauce to go with it.

Béchamel sauce- flour being added to the fat.

Béchamel sauce- flour being added to the fat.

It is apt to get bruised and discoloured in transit, and this may ultimately be the reason for it’s decline in popularity. Which is unfortunate.  If anyone would like to try some, or see it growing please let me know.

Sea Kale, steamed, sauced, and waiting for baking

Sea Kale, steamed, sauced, and waiting for baking

Pretty as a bunch of flowers

Pretty as a bunch of flowers