Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
and from moving New and
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and
without breaking anything.
Still no spring rain here but the “perhaps hand” is quite evident. It seems like nature is compensating for the dryness by putting extra effort into spring flowers – with jasmine, azalea, alpine phlox, banksia all bursting forth. And a wonderful showing of spring veggies in the allotment – broad beans, asparagus, peas.
I found this Diana Henry recipe online which helped me to combine all my spring veg harvest in one dish. She is one of my favourite food writers (she has a weekly column in the Sunday Telegraph) and I have her book called Simple, which is just how I like to cook. The warm dressing poured over warm veggies is so delicious and mopping it all up with bread makes it a fine, finger-licking meal.
Peas, asparagus and broad beans with spicy mint and chilli
For the yogurt:
250g (9oz) Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tbsp chopped dill
For the vegetables:
400g (14oz) broad beans, podded weight
400g (14oz) asparagus
125g (4½oz) peas, podded weight (you can use frozen)
5 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
2 red chillis, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
handful of torn mint leaves
bought Arab flatbreads
Stir together everything for the yogurt, but don’t overmix – it’s nice to see streaks of olive oil. Chill.
Cook the broad beans in boiling water for about two minutes. Rinse in cold water then slip off the skins.
Heat the flatbreads in the oven at a low temperature.
Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. Boil or steam, covered, for about four minutes, or until only just tender. Put the peas into boiling water and cook for a minute, adding the skinned broad beans to the pan halfway to heat through. Drain.
Heat the olive oil in a frying-pan and cook the garlic and fresh and dried chilli over a medium-high heat until the garlic is just pale gold, then quickly add the lemon juice and balsamic, and season.
Gently toss the warm vegetables with the mint and dressing and serve with the chilled yogurt and hot flatbread.
When I visited Kiera and James in June, we went to a farmers’ market in Rockville and bought some lamb from an Amish farmer. We invited Susannah and Mike round for supper and I used this Ottolenghi recipe that Kiera gave me to prepare it. It turned out pretty darn good.
Lamb shoulder with broad beans and herbs
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1.5kg new-season lamb shoulder, bone removed and rolled
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- Maldon sea salt and black pepper
- 60g fresh parsley, leaves and stalks
- 30g fresh mint, leaves only
- 60g fresh coriander, leaves and stalk
- 200ml white wine
- 1½ tsp cumin
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 375g broad beans (fresh or frozen), blanched and skins removed
Heat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5.
Press the garlic slices into the crevices in the lamb, then rub in two tablespoons of the oil, a tablespoon of salt and plenty of pepper.
Put half the amount of each herb over the base of a small ovenproof dish (around 21cm x 27cm) and pour over the wine.
Lay the lamb on top of the herbs and roast for an hour, until cooked on the outside but still pink in the centre; baste every 20 minutes.
Once the lamb is done, lift it from the dish, transfer to a small oven tray, sprinkle with a little salt and grill for four minutes on each side to brown.
Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Strain the cooking juices from the roasting dish and skim off the fat – there should be about 100ml of liquid.
Put the remaining herbs in the bowl of a food processor, add the cumin, the remaining oil, a teaspoon of Maldon salt (or half a teaspoon of fine salt) and some pepper, turn on the motor and slowly add the liquid. Work to a smooth sauce.
To serve, slice the warm lamb and arrange on a platter. Stir the lemon juice and broad beans into the sauce, taste for seasoning and spoon over the lamb. Serve at once.