12 April 2014

A Flavour of Spring. Finally.



Further to the last post - and a fascinating Twitter conversation about ASA Standards - this one could seem a little familiar. It certainly touches on the ethical nature of the last post, but also returns to the earlier post about making bacon


As mentioned then, I was approached by Maldon Salt with promises of free salt and tickets to the Edible Garden Show, in return for a bit of cooking, a few words and a little bit of photography, under the banner or "Flavours of Spring". The best entry - and you can see the rest under the #flavoursofspring hashtag - would also win a couple of nights at River Cottage. It sounded like a pretty sweet deal to me... but then there was the predictable spanner / works situation. On the weekend of the Edible Garden Show, I was at the rather lovely Abadia Retuerta Le Domaine with some serious journalistic types discussing the last 20 years of gastronomy with - NAME DROPPING KLAXON - Ferran Adria. That's not the sort of invite you can really so "no" to, is it?  More importantly though, the shopping world was somewhat lacking in actual flavours of spring. 


By which I mean British flavours of spring. I could find Brazilian and Mexican asparagus but the glorious British stuff was notable by its absence. Similarly, the rain earlier this year has delayed Jersey Royal season. While some restaurants have been championing the arrival of peas and broad beans, surely these are summer crops? My plans then, save for the home cured bacon that I've already gone on and on about, were looking pretty much scuppered and another "can't say no" trip to Spain last weekend - a preview of this at El Celler de Can Roca - meant I missed last weekend's competition deadline. And yes, I know, that's the sound of the world's smallest violin... 


And then this morning, down at Borough Market, I finally found some proper, sweet, vibrantly green British asparagus and, competition deadline or no, supper was sorted. Steamed asparagus, a soft poached Burford Brown, a sprinkling of diced Maldon Salt-and-maple-syrup-cured bacon, a pinch of Maldon's smoked salt had long been the plan and it was every bit as good - and as golden - as I'd imagined. There was also late inspiration from the counter of my old beloved employer Neal's Yard Dairy in the form of Sleightlett, Mary Holbrook's brilliant charcoal-covered fresh cheese which was probably still in a goat about this time last week. And if that doesn't qualify as a flavour of spring, I don't know what does. So, the River Cottage might not be an option but man was it worth the wait... 

2 comments:

David Hamilton said...

Good to see you the other day Neil, have enjoyed using smoked salt myself and will give this a try with some Asparagus :)

St Exupery ghost said...

Chap.
To my surprise they have seasonal asparagus in Bangkok ... found little bunches being sold in the street by street stall chap pies with barrows...
feasted .....

excellent post