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May

Pea, Bean & Basil Tart

500g block all-butter shortcrust pastry, thawed if frozen

plain flour, for dusting

175g each podded broad bean and peas

12 basil leaves, plus extra for scattering

300ml pot double cream

140g smoked bacon lardon

large eggs

100ml milk

50g parmesan, grated

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line a 28cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake blind for 25 mins. Remove the paper and baking beans and return to the oven for 5 mins more to dry out the pastry on the base.

 

While the pastry is baking, boil the broad beans and peas for 5 mins until just tender. Drain and rinse off any starchy froth then tip into a bowl with the basil, 3 tbsp cream and plenty of seasoning. Purée with a hand blender (or in a food processor) until smooth. Dry-fry the bacon for a few mins in a non-stick pan until starting to turn golden.

 

Beat the remaining cream with the eggs, milk, Parmesan and seasoning. Smooth the pea and bean purée over the base of the tart case and scatter with the bacon. Carefully pour on the egg mixture. Turn down oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and bake for 35 mins until set and golden. Once cooled, scatter with extra basil and serve with a salad.

Rhubard & Lemon Rice Pudding

100g pudding rice

1ltr milk

100g caster sugar

250g rhubarb

1 chopped ball of stem ginger in syrup

100ml double cream

3-4 tbsp lemon curd

Put the pudding rice in a pan with the milk and 50g caster sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 40-45 mins or until the rice is tender, stirring often to ensure it doesn’t catch on the bottom.

 

Cut the rhubarb into 3cm pieces and put in a pan with 50g caster sugar, stem ginger and syrup. Bring to a simmer and poach for 7-10 mins or until the rhubarb is soft, but still holds its shape.

 

Stir the double cream and lemon curd through the rice pudding, then top with some of the poached rhubarb.

Roast Chicken & Asparagus Omelette

 

200g asparagus

3 eggs – yolks & whites separated

10g parmesan cheese, grated

15g butter

70g leftover roast chicken, shredded

20g mature cheddar or gruyere cheese, grated

watercress

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water, slice in half lengthways, then set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks with most of the parmesan and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft and floppy. Using a metal spoon, mix half the egg whites with the yolks then fold in the remaining whites.

Melt the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat until butter starts foaming. Layer the asparagus in the pan, then pour in the egg mixture and sprinkle shredded chicken over the top. Cook for 2 minutes.

Scatter grated gruyere or cheddar cheese over the omelette and put under a hot grill until cheese melts. Remove to a warmed plate and scatter grated parmesan and watercress to serve.

Quick Asparagus Soup

25g butter

a little vegetable oil

350g asparagus spear, stalks chopped, woody ends discarded, tips reserved

3 shallots, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 large handfuls spinach

700ml vegetable stock

olive oil, for drizzling

rustic bread - preferably sourdough - to serve

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan until foaming. Fry the asparagus tips for a few mins to soften. Remove and set aside.

Add the shallots, asparagus stalks and garlic and cook for 5-10 mins until softened, but still bright. Stir through the spinach, pour over the stock, bring to the boil, then blitz with a hand blender.

Season generously, adding hot water to loosen if needed. Ladle into bowls and scatter the asparagus tips over each. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with bread

Lemon Curd Trifle

400g jar maraschino cherries in syrup 

1 loaf (250g) madeira cake

75ml cream sherry

300ml double cream

500ml vanilla custard

120g lemon curd

25g dark chocolate

Drain the cherries through a sieve over a bowl, reserving the syrup. Slice the madeira loaf and use the cake slices to line a trifle dish or large glass bowl. Pour over the sherry and half the reserved cherry syrup then leave to soak. Whisk the double cream to soft peaks and set aside.

Spoon the custard over the soaked sponge layer, then dot over half the drained cherries. Drizzle with half the remaining cherry syrup. Dollop over the cream, then spread it out so it covers the cherries. Spoon over blobs of the lemon curd using the back of the spoon to ripple the curd through the cream.

Just before serving, scatter the remaining cherries over the trifle, drizzle over the rest of the cherry syrup and grate over the dark chocolate.

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