Springtime Minestrone

Minestrone is perhaps the greatest way of bringing together the best of seasonal produce in one dish. My last recipe for this ‘big soup’, Autumnal Minestrone, unified leeks, beans and carrots in a delicious broth, which proved to be pleasantly warming and hearty. This springtime rendition lightens things up a little with fennel, peas and spring onions, evoking the time of year in both colour and flavour.

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It occurred to me this morning that a loving relationship hasn’t yet been fostered between soup and I this year. By and large soup is seen as something warming, hearty and intended for the colder months of the year. However, it should be remembered that one can make a delightful soup out of almost anything and that there are some rather extraordinary warm-weather recipes out there. The combination of pea and mint is one that has been explored here already this year and it is clear to see why. The peas and mint work wonderfully well together, with the former providing the first breath of taste – a flavour which reminds one instantly of an English walled garden – and the latter lingering on in order to tempt the next spoonful into one’s mouth. Indeed, two such beautifully fresh ingredients were made for such a dish.

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Since it’s coming to the end of the rhubarb season, I thought it best to give you lot a couple of recipes which include this fabulous vegetable. However, I’ve not always considered it fabulous; in my younger days it was looked upon, by me, as a most contemptible ingredient. To be fair, it is easy to see why, since rhubarb does have an inherently bitter component to its flavour; which is why it’s always cooked with sugar. Luckily, as I’ve grown older my tastes have come to love the tang which accompanies fresh, seasonal rhubarb. The less said about forced rhubarb, the better.

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Fear not, it is perfectly clear to me that Mexican food isn’t composed entirely of a long string of dips and side dishes, such as guacamole and refried beans. Indeed, how strange it would be to have a nation of perennial nibblers living among us. So, safe in the knowledge that there exists, on this planet, no colony of human sized rodents in possession of an immoral number of carrot sticks, I embarked upon the first “proper” dish of the ‘Frugal Does Mexican’ series.

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New Potato, Spring Onion and Wild Garlic Salad Recipe

The new potato season is now in full swing and since Jersey Royals are one of the true treats of late spring in Britain, it seems the perfect time to post my very first potato salad. However, Jersey Royals aren’t the only seasonal ingredients in this dish; the wild garlic which spends its time ironically held in captivity at the front of my garden is just coming into bloom and spring onions are continuing to live up to their name.

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