We know you can buy asparagus at almost any time of the year, but our own asparagus bed is only just beginning to throw up a few spears and we don’t – on principle – buy it from other parts of the world with all its attached air miles. So today our eyes lit up when we saw some bunches of Hereford grown (Chinns – praise where it’s due) and although it was expensive it’s as iconic a sign of spring as Easter, or Oestre which gives a better clue as to what it’s all about.
You can look up the recipe (which comes from Simon Hopkinson – one of our finest cookery writers) – it’s freely available if you Google it. From my point of view it combines four of my favourite elements; pancakes, asparagus, air dried ham and hollandaise sauce. All in all our special treat supper cost just over £10 which compares favourably with any takeaway and tastes ten times better. I know this because we always eat them in silence -like Montalbano on the television.
Years ago, hollandaise took me several tries to make at first – mainly because I didn’t read the precise instructions closely enough. Our son Jo used to make it by the gallon in one of the restaurants he worked in – he said it was easier in bulk. It’s like mayonnaise and all those other emulsion sauces; a bit of practice makes perfect.
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz …
So today we completed the last of the infrastructure work on the allotment and soaked the polytunnel with 250 litres of our stored rainwater. The paths are all topped up with wood chip; every bed is now ready or already planted up and this morning I unscrewed the retaining boards to give us easier access to about 1.5 cubic metres of leaf mould and the same of compost. At last the compost production line is beginning to deliver as we planned.
Now, with broad beans and potatoes in the ground we can ease back on the hard work as the seedlings get stronger and we wait for the last chance of frost. Our ever obliging French Sorrel has reached its prime so I think a French soup is called for. We are content, replete and celebrating with a bottle of Provenĉal rosé (don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it). The Potwell Inn is ready for the season!