The cloud cover is too thick, compact and grey at the moment for us to be able to verify that every cloud does indeed have a silver lining… The “unseasonal weather” we’ve been experiencing for the past few months has been blamed for everything from locusts to weak Christmas sales. Nature, however, has quietly followed the usual seasonal pattern and, while Mummy needed her polar fleece jacket to brave the 14 degrees and strong wind this morning, Chef Gerald’s balcony crop of strawberries and chillies is still progressing very well….
So – is there any positive aspect to a freezing spring/summer? Well, the rather unconventional weather this year has certainly brought some interesting changes to seasonal produce availability in our part of the world. Rather belatedly, we are now beginning to see the full suite of summer tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and capsicum, while at the same time we enjoyed a prolonged asparagus season and some of the freshest and crunchiest broccoli for the entire year. Chef Gerald, in particular, has become so fond of broccoli lately, that it is now a key part of his daily menu.
Sadly though, all good things come to an end sooner or later and so this week we enjoyed what are most likely going to be the last two asparagus bunches for this season L We shouldn’t really complain, as it’s been available for a lot longer than you’d expect, but we still wanted to make the best use of the last crunchy green spears of the year. The first bunch was lightly steamed, drizzled with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and topped with poached egg – our idea of a heavenly breakfast :-)
The second bunch featured in this super easy (read terribly lazy), wonderfully healthy and tasty lunch dish, which was also meant to highlight the fact that we may have to say goodbye to some of spring’s best flavours now, but we’ve got all of summer’s bounty to look forward to.
Spring Meets Summer Bruschetta
1 avocado, peeled, roughly chopped
½ red capsicum, thinly sliced
½ Lebanese cucumber, roughly chopped
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, lightly steamed/blanched (make sure it’s still somewhat crunchy), then cut into 2 cm pieces
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
75 g feta, diced
2 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white balsamic condiment
4 thick slices good quality white bread (we used pane di casa), lightly toasted or grilled
Place all ingredients except for the bread in a bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper and toss gently to combine.
Place two slices of bread on a plate, top with half the vegetable and feta mixture and serve. Serves 2. (See – we told you this was super easy :-) )