Food round-up - spring
This month, Claire from Crumbs called out for your finest spring recipes and tips for using the season's best produce.Our mouths are definitely watering over these brilliant suggestions, freshly picked by Claire.
Ah, spring. The perfect time to do a spot of foraging. There is nothing we like more than skipping out on a spring morn' into the dewy air, and picking something local and seasonal. Of course it's very important to avoid the perennial doggy stuff, so our tip? Pick high.
Nettle knots - The Breakfast Lady recommends that we all do a little jazz baking at this time of year. She made her delicious-looking bread using the vicious nettles from her garden, but suggests if you can't handle baking on the wild side, you could use seaweed, wild garlic or chives. Oh yum. The finished product looks great, but she has suffered for her art, and has the nettle stings to prove it.
Medieval Elderflower and cheese tart - What, you've never made Sambocade before? It was all the rage in the 14th century so you're behind the curve. This delectation was made by Fromage Homage (brilliant name, btw) and despite it's exotic heritage, it looks surprisingly easy to make. So much so, it's on today's to do list. First find your elderflower tree, pluck some flower heads, feel insufferably smug, mix with store cupboard ingredients, bake, eat. See, 14th century cuisine is easy.
Lemon and Elderflower sorbet - this zingy offering is from the Good Life Mum. Not only does she give a great recipe for an easy sorbet - no ice cream maker needed in these here parts - but there's also a great recipe for elderflower cordial. I'm going to go foraging right now! Really I am. Just after I've read this next blog post.
Lavender poached rhubarb with ginger custard cream looks as good as it sounds. The lovely Laura at How to Cook Good Food always comes up with fantastic flavour combinations, and this one is making my tummy rumble. She gets the rhubarb from her allotment, so when she has a glut she makes rhubarb vodka! A woman after my own heart - I just wish I lived close enough to go around for a quick nip.
Rhubarb and orange cake is a classic. And this recipe from the Greedy Frog looks great. Made with almonds and vanilla, this cake is a classy way of using rhubarb.
Did someone say Rhubarb Amaretti Crunch? Am I invited? Please? The wonderful Recipe Junkie has come up trumps with this one.
It sounds delicious and looks lovely on the page. Layers of creamy creme fraiche, the beautiful pink of the rhubarb and crushed amaretti biscuits look great in a little glass and mean that pudding is super-quick and looks like something you could get at a restaurant.
Rhubarb ripple ice cream with hazelnut clusters tickle your fancy? Then click on through and look at those pictures! Elizabeth's Kitchen sure can take photos. A rhubarb patch in the garden means Elizabeth always has enough rhubarb, and a penchant for ice cream (and biscuits!) led to this wonderful combination.
Apparently Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress, devoured the "points d'amour" or love tips of the asparagus, and who can blame her? They're lovely, and around for such a short period, that it's obligatory to get stuck in. Just don't get too Nigella about it, as it can get a bit messy.
Roasted asparagus spring onion chorizo & butter bean salad with a lime chipotle dressing is a salad for grown ups. Although show me a salad for kids (or at least a salad kids would happily eat) and I'll eat my hat. This salad is from How to Cook Good Food and has Laura's signature combination of great flavours. This is a perfect summer evening supper, for once the kids are in bed.
Creamy nutty chicken is a great way of using up leftover chicken as well as getting a bit more of that lovely asparagus into your diet. Ren's Recipes just cobbled this together one night, but it was so good she just had to share. With peanut butter, fish sauce, cocoa nut milk it's a lively sounding blend of ingredients and I'm intrigued. Picture looks lovely too.
Lemon parmesan crusted asparagus is a case of gilding the lily, in a good way. When it was her husband's birthday Wilfing My Life Away decided that steamed asparagus just wasn't good enough and came up with this little number. Delectable asparagus with cheese, breadcrumbs and lemon. Yum. Don't take my word for it though, pop over and check out the photos.
After a winter where fruit is bland and pointless, we are all ready for berries, cherries, peaches and other fresh sweet goodness. Here are some deliciously fresh puddings for those long spring/summer nights.
Strawberry and macadamia nut salad? Huh? Sounds strange, but trust 21st Century Housewife. This isn't a pudding, it's an intriguing blend of sweet and savoury. Berries, salad leaves, honey and balsamic vinegar. Perfect for a hot summer day's lunch or a light supper.
White chocolate and basil mousse means things are a bit more straight forward with the Good Life Mum. This is definitely a pud, and a humdinger at that. Cream slowly infused with basil and white chocolate, oh god, what's to stop you just drinking it, rather than making it into a mousse? Will power, that's what. Walk away from the fridge...
Mango, orange, pineapple, and passion fruit smoothie is a fruity extravaganza, and a sure fire way of hitting several of your five-a-day in one easy drink. Scottish Mum puts all the fruit in a blender, with a big dose of ice, and ta da! Your children are begging for more.
And the rest...
This quick warm pasta salad looks like a great mid-week meal. Fresh seasonal vegetables allowed to sing, with just some pasta and dressing to accompany them. Wholesome Ireland lives on a grocery budget of 90 euros a week, including nappies, so money is tight. This is a great simple dish which doesn't cost much.
What do you mean, you don't make your own goat's cheese? It's just so easy. Well, that's what the Good Life Mum says, and actually, after reading her blog post I'm inclined to believe her. Whether or not I'll actually make it is another matter...
Simple Thai Red Curry might not have the kids begging for more, too much chilli for that, but for us adults it's a different story. Seasonal veg in a Thai red sauce, what's not to love. No Bread Is An Island may have struck gold.
Thanks to Claire and to all of you for sharing your brilliant Spring recipes with us. Keep an eye out for our next foody theme and remember, we can't feature you in a bloggers round-up if you're not in the network – so hurry and join here if you haven't already!