Daily Archives: 9 April 2012

Asparagus is early due to March sunshine

Early asparagus

The British love affair with asparagus dates back hundreds of years, and it is also said to be a powerful aphrodisiac.

In 19th-century France, bridegrooms were served three courses of the spears at their prenuptial dinner.

Asparagus ‘stirs up lust in man and woman’, 
wrote English herbalist Nicholas Culpepper 
in the 17th century.

Asparagus is a good source of potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, thiamin and folic acid. The latter is said to boost histamine production which has an aphrodisiac effect on both men and women.

Asparagus is a member of the lily family. Under ideal conditions, it can grow an astonishing 10 inches in a 24 hour period.

The Romans brought it to England and by the 16th century all the royal courts were mad for it. By the 17th century, asparagus was being grown commercially and one of the main areas it was grown in was Battersea in London. They called it Battersea Bundles!

Try these two asparagus recipes this week:

Asparagus Risotto, a Dairy Diary recipeAsparagus Risotto
Recipe taken from Dairy Diary.





Asparagus and Eggs

Asparagus withPoached Eggs

Recipe taken from Year Round Round Dairy Cookbook.





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Asparagus Risotto

Full-flavoured, deliciously sweet and tender, British asparagus is regularly described as the ‘best in the world’.

Asparagus Risotto, a Dairy Diary recipeServes 4
Time 40 mins
Calories 518 per portion
Fat 20g of which 11.9g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Butter 25g (1oz)
Shallots 4, peeled and finely chopped
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed
Risotto rice 300g (11oz)
White wine 150ml (¼ pint)
Hot vegetable stock 900ml (1½ pints)
Small asparagus spears 125g pack, trimmed
Frozen peas 110g (4oz)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley 2 tbsp
Stilton cheese 150g (5oz), cubed

1 Melt butter in a sauté pan and fry shallots and garlic for 3–4 minutes until softened. Stir in rice and fry for a further minute. Pour in wine and simmer to evaporate off.

2 Gradually stir in hot stock, cooking for 18–20 minutes, until rice is tender, and all stock has been absorbed.

3 About 5 minutes towards end of cooking time, add asparagus and peas.

4 Before serving, stir in parsley and half cheese, then season to taste. Spoon into bowls, scatter over remaining cheese and serve immediately.

A Dairy Diary recipe.

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