Phew, life is busy. Busy but good. I’ve been trying to practise a bit of gratitude recently – as in, ‘My train was delayed, there’s no food in the fridge and my hair looks like the hair of a madwoman, BUT I am thankful I have a job I like, two healthy children, a roof over my head and all my own teeth.’ It is not always easy to be grateful, but then being frustrated and cross isn’t conducive to a calm, fruitful home life either. So I will be grateful. I am grateful I have a glass of wine next to me, now, for instance 🙂
So what have I been cooking up at One-Handed HQ recently? Well, in keeping with my gratitude theme, I am grateful that it’s asparagus season. Lovely green British asparagus. Years ago I used to live in Germany, and round rolled May, and they all went wild for ‘frische Spargel’ (fresh asparagus). Hooray, I thought, only it looked like no asparagus I’d ever seen – it was white. Weird.
Anyway, I love asparagus, and look forward to its arrival every May, so when Sainsburys got in touch asking me what I would like to celebrate for their Best of British produce theme, of course I plumped for the green stuff – as Sainsburys are stocking 100% British-grown asparagus this year and I like buying seasonal British-grown fruit and veg.
In the past, I’ve always steamed or boiled asparagus – hmmm, yes, nice enough. But I recently discovered the joys of cooking it in a griddle pan. It is a breakthrough – the asparagus retains its lovely sweet deliciousness but also has a bit of bite and crunch to it. Plus it is SO easy, which we like. You just need a very hot griddle pan (one with ridges), some oil, a pastry brush and some tongs. It can be cooked one-handed while dealing with something child-related with the other. It’s great dipped into the yolk of a soft-boiled egg. My (initially very dubious) kids really enjoyed the novelty of dipping something that wasn’t toast into a boiled egg and ate it all up. Hurrah.
Join me in gratitude for this wondrous dish.
Delicious Griddled Asparagus Dippers
What you need
One bunch British asparagus, washed, and with the woody stems snapped off
Some light olive oil for brushing onto the pan and the asparagus
A free-range egg (medium) at room temperature
What to do
- Put a small pan of water on to boil for the egg. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to a gentle rolling boil, add the egg and cook for 4½ minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat your griddle pan (I have a heavy-based Le Creuset one) until it’s nice and hot. Brush the pan with olive oil while it’s heating up.
- Brush your asparagus spears with olive oil using the pastry brush.
- When the pan is hot, lie the asparagus across the ridges and allow to cook for a few minutes before turning. They need approx. 5-6 minutes total cooking time.
- Once your egg is done, remove and put in an eggcup; cut off the top.
- Put your asparagus dippers on a side plate, allow them to cool before giving to your child – they will be very hot!
In the interest of full disclosure, Sainsburys asked me to choose my Best of British produce and write about it in exchange for some vouchers to buy some produce. These are my views. And mine only!
1. Wake up to find two small people in bed with us
2. Get up, make breakfast for small people; return upstairs for shower and get dressed (jeans and top; luckily my office is casual)
3. Discuss the merits of the the Sam Silver Undercover Pirate series with son in kitchen while tidying
4. Help small daughter put milk, yogurt, butter back in fridge, which takes three times longer than if I’d done it myself 🙂
5. Put on load of washing (quick wash), remove washing from machine, hang up
6. Eat some breakfast (briefly sit down!), give up on coffee – no time
7. Quickly wash up a few items so I don’t have to come home to them later. No time to empty dishwasher
8. Go on to Young Vic website and spend ten minutes booking tickets for A Streetcar Named Desire – website is a pain, so takes ages. Simultaneously brush daughter’s hair with other hand. Get tickets! Whoop!
9. Brush small peoples’ teeth; brush own teeth
10. Realise have no make-up on; dash upstairs. Dash back downstairs to put packed lunch and book in son’s bag; kiss children goodbye, say goodbye to husband, who is taking children to childminder, while shouting last-minute instructions at each other 😉
11. Bin day!! Put bins out (eew)
12. Check emails – phew, nothing urgent
13. Write this and leave for work. Oooops, running late!! Still no time for make-up – taking bag with meeeeee
Byeeee! TOHC X