Tag Archives: Asparagus

Bacon and asparagus hash – a dream come true!

27 Aug

Dreams are strange things.  Martin Luther King dreamt about changing the world.  I dream about new recipes.  How sad is that!  This recipe was literally dreamt up.  When I told my husband about it he said how good it sounded so I decided to give it a go.  It was absolutely delicious and we will definitely be having it again.

I love hash of any description.  I have published a corned beef hash and a mushroom hash previously on my blog.  I suppose this one is not significantly different in methodology but the combination of flavours is exquisite.  A few days earlier I had made a spaghetti dish with bacon and asparagus.  Maybe that is what triggered the dream.  Whatever it was, it was I will be eternally grateful.

According to Wikipedia, dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations  that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. There have been umpteen studies and theories about dreams but , it is fair to say, that the content and purpose of dreams is still not definitively understood. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.

Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other  sleep stages. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable. Dreams can last for a few seconds, or as long as twenty minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase.

Apart from humans, animals have dreams.  I remember when I was young, my dog, Lassie, used to sometimes twitch and make funny little noises in her sleep.  Mum used to say she was catching rabbits.

Anyway, enough of dreams.  Here is the recipe I dreamt about.

Bacon and asparagus hash                       Serves 2 (easily doubled)

  • 6 slices of streaky bacon or pancetta, rind removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced thinnly
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, sliced and seeds removed
  • 10 asparagus tips
  • 4-5 New Potatoes (Charlotte are good) peeled and sliced (about 1/4 inch)
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 5 minutes or until just tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. 
  2. Boil the asparagus in the water left in the pan for 3 minutes.  Remove and put in iced water immediately to stop the cooking process.
  3. Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan until brown. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add 1 tsp olive oil to the frying pan and fry the onions over a medium heat until softened.  Add the chilli and garlic towards the end.
  5. Add the mushrooms  and bacon to the onions and continue to cook for about 3 minutes until the mushrooms are softened.  Add the potato and carefully combine.  Cook for about 5 minutes, turning frequently.  If it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan add a little more oil.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil.  Add a pinch of salt and a little white wine vinegar.  Poach the eggs for 3 minutes. 
  7. Add the asparagus to the hash and carefully combine.
  8. Divide the hash between two plates and top with the poached egg.

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Potato, asparagus and mint salad – absolutely divine!

3 Aug

 This salad has to be my number one favourite.  I could eat it alone but it excels as an accompaniment to any meat or fish dish.  We served it with the barbecued poussins and it was absolutely delicious.  The mint flavour really lifts it and, of course, it contains one of my favourite foods, asparagus.

Did you know that asparagus can grow 10 inches in 24 hours?  It comes in three colours, green, white and purple.  The green asparagus is readily available and is possibly the most popular.  I have seen the white asparagus in Spain, usually limp and soggy out of a jar or on a salad.  I, personally, think there is no taste to this and it is repulsive.  I have never seen the purple variety. 

Asparagus is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Potassium, crucial for heart function and a key player in muscle contraction.  Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting.  Folate, prevents anaemia.  It is a strong diuretic and has been found useful in treating swelling associated with rheumatism and arthritis as well as bloating in PMS related water retention.

The fact that I was most interested in, however, is why does it make your pee smell?  Apparently you must have the right gene to be able to smell it but for those who have, which includes me and my husband, I can tell you it is a really strong, weird smell.  I first noticed it when we started eating asparagus while we lived in California.  I thought there was something wrong with the drains to our apartment!!!  The smell is caused by sulphur-containing compounds that are created when asparagus is digested.  They don’t have any harmful effect on our health so , no worries, just don’t pee in a public lavatory after you have eaten asparagus.  The smell is noticeable after only 15 minutes of eating it!

We were introduced to asparagus by Chinese Eddie.  He was a fantastic old gent (over 90 yrs old) who lived in our complex.  In his youth he used to work in the asparagus fields around Woodland Hills.  His top tips were always buy asparagus with the thickest stalks as these have matured and have a much better flavour. Hold the tip and the end and bend the asparagus, it will break at the natural point so you can discard the woody bit, and don’t over cook, it needs only 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water before it is ready.

Here is the recipe.  I hope you try it, you are in for a treat.

Potato, asparagus and mint salad                                 Serve 4

  • 500g new potatoes
  • 2 packs asparagus tips
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • handful fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.  Put in a pan of boiling, lightly salted water.  Bring back to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until just tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and cool.  Reserve the cooking liquid.
  2. In the meantime, put the onion in a bowl and add the vinegar and oil.  Mix well and leave to marinade.
  3. Bring the pan of water back to the boil then add the asparagus.  Bring back to the boil again the simmer for 3 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender.  Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  Dry on kitchen paper.
  4. Add the potatoes, asparagus and chopped mint to the onion.  Toss lightly so all the vegetables are coated in the dressing and serve.

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