Today marks the start of our last weekend on the island – I hope the weather plays along so that we can enjoy a bit of time at the beach before we start our journey home to a cold winter next Tuesday. We are lucky to have friends who are graciously filling our last evenings with farewell dinners and we will be taking full advantage of being able to eat al fresco. These asparagus sticks make for a nice snack for with pre dinner drinks and are super easy to make and are lovely served with a mayonnaise for dipping.
1 packet ham
Mayonnaise for spreading
1 packet fresh asparagus
1 roll phyllo pastry defrosted
60ml melted butter
Ground sea salt and black pepper
Mayonnaise for dipping
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Spread the slices of ham with mayonnaise and wrap an asparagus spear in each slice of ham.
Cut the sheet of pastry into strips a little longer than the asparagus spears.
Wrap the spear individually in the pastry strips.
Brush each with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Last nights dinner was a vegetarian affair. I got the idea from Cindy who posted the recipe on her blog last week. It is a fabulous meal for a busy week night and I served it with a lettuce, red pepper, onion, pineapple, cucumber and coriander salad drizzled with a vinaigrette dressing.
Cindy’s Spinach and Asparagus Tart
1 roll brown puff pastry (I used white) 1 packet baby spinach cooked and excess water squeezed out 1 tin white asparagus (I used a bottle of green asparagus) 1 packet pitted green olives (I omitted these) 1 cup of grated extra mature cheddar (I used 1 ½ cups) 4 eggs whisked ½ cup of cream Salt and ground black pepper to taste Ground nutmeg (I omitted this)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Line a dish with the puff pastry.
Layer the spinach on the pastry shell.
Layer the asparagus over the spinach.
If using the olives, layer over the asparagus.
Cover with the cheese.
Mix the cream into the eggs, seasoning with the salt, pepper and nutmeg and pour into the dish making sure to cover all the cheese.
I remember tasting asparagus soup for the first time as a young girl while we were staying in a hotel (we had changed towns and were waiting to move into our new home). I cannot remember how or why I was presented with such a strange bowl of soup but remember the distinct flavour and thinking how odd that I enjoyed the flavour of asparagus. I have no idea if this recipe is anything like the one of years ago but it is super yummy.
Creamed Asparagus Soup
700g fresh asparagus
250g onion chopped
500ml vegetable stock
4 cups hot milk
5ml dried dill
2ml white pepper
30ml light soy sauce
Break off and discard tough asparagus bottoms. Break off the tips and set aside. Coarsely chop the stalks.
In a pot over a medium heat, fry the asparagus, onion and butter for 8 to 10 minutes.
When the onions are clear, add the flour a little at a time and continue to stir over a low heat until properly mixed in.
Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly. Stir continually until thickened. Cool slightly.
In a blender, puree the soup a bit at a time with the hot milk until thoroughly smooth.
Return the soup to the pot and add the dill, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Heat gently but do not boil.
As the soup heats, cook the asparagus tips in simmering water until tender, but still very green, (about 2 minutes) and drain. Add the whole tips to soup and gently stir through.