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Thursday, 5 May 2011

British Asparagus - The King of Vegetables

Today I managed to buy some fresh locally grown Asparagus in Bidford on Avon.  Bidford is a small village on the banks of the River Avon in Warwickshre but it borders Worcestershire   Worcestershire is believed by many to be the home of the best Asparagus in the World.  Top restaurant and hotel chefs travel from far and wide to bid in Asparagus Auctions for fresh 'Vale of Evesham Asparagus'.
You can find out more about Worcestershires British Asparagus Festival here.  This is celebrated in earnest in Worcestershire.  The Festival starts on Saint George's Day and runs for two months.  It is marked with many local events and celebrations.  Asparagus growing is a big part of this counties Cultural Heritage.  Asparagus is known as 'The King of Vegetables' and is considered one of the most luxurious of vegetables.  In our house it is eaten as a seasonal treat and I would feel very cheated if I didn't have any within a season.   I only buy locally grown.  I usually steam 'Sparrowgrass' ( as it is known locally) and serve it with melted butter.

I have decided to attempt to steam this Asparagus and serve it with Hollandaise Sauce.  I have never made Hollandaise before but after reading 'The Quince Tree' blog post about 'Asparagus and Hollandaise Sauce'.  the recipe and instructions looked so delicious I decided it was worth a try.  I have previously felt it was out of my league.  Sue, the writer of 'The Quince Tree'  also lives in Worcestershire, I love reading all of her posts especially the cookery.

Ingredients for Hollandaise Sauce
3 tablespoons of white wine
2 tablespoons of water
3 beaten egg yolks
275g of butter cut into 25g pieces

Make a white wine reduction with the wine and water, until one scant tablespoon is left.  Pour it into a dish to cool.  Add the beaten egg yolks to the cooled wine reduction and place in a dish over a pan of simmering water.  Whisk continuously.

Add the butter 25g at a time whisking continously.  Whisk until the sauce is thickened to a coating consistency.  Pour over the Steamed Asparagus.  (I steam my Asparagus for five or six minutes).
What it lacks in presentation it sure made up for in taste.  It was absolutely delicious.  It is an indulgent, calorific, buttery, food heaven.  I will definitely be making this again.


  1. Yummmy yum yum! I have just tucked into some myself for tea. We don't live that far from Evesham either and in fact my DH family was from Evesham (his Grandfather was Mayor of Evesham!) So it's always been a firm family favourite. It's fabeedoo done on the BBQ too.
    Love Tickety-boo

  2. My Grandmother was born in Beckford from a family of Market Gardeners, my Dad worked in 'Ayshum', Evesham for years he had permission to 'scrump' for 'Sparrowgrass', we used to have great gluts of it. Now he is retired and we have to pay for the lovely stuff we eat less of it! The Mayor is a bit posh! :) One day we could brave a knitter natter at a park in Evesham with all the littlies, mine could teach yours bad habits! :)

  3. And now for the science bit. A small proportion of the population have a gene which causes thebreakdown of asparagus in the digestive system to result in asparagus scented wee. I am one such "special person" I was taught this when I trained as a science teacher and is one of the reasons that I can easily forget things like my purse on a supermarket trip but this I remember.

  4. lol, we are 'special' in this house too then, I told my youngest it would smell like horse wee! He was quite excited in a worried kind of way. ;)

  5. I thought that happened to everyone Louise. It does round here anyway! Are we all special?

    Glad the hollandaise was a success Lucy.

  6. I think we're all special. :-) That looks divine.. will be getting some soon. I love to grill a filet mignon, bake a potato and serve asparagus with the meal. It's my all-time favorite meal. Glad your hollandaise turned out as good as Sue's! Hugs, Teresa

  7. There's an Ayurvedic health regime where you drink your own wee called Shivambu one of India's ex prime ministers used to do this and said it contributed to his health and longevity....must admit drinking your wee after eating asparagus though yuck.

  8. Muman, Thank you for sharing that, I will continue to eat Asparagus and drink tea, I am not into health regimes and believe I am all the happier for it!

  9. Love that idea! A knit n natter in Evesham park. By the river with a picnic. We really should try to do that :o)
    I think my littlies could do quite well in the bad habit stakes all by themselves!


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