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FEAST! Over the Fence

Join TV chef, Stephanie Moon, and flower show favourite, Martin Walker, in our special outdoor theatre for a feast of fun Over the Fence chat about growing great food and cooking up a storm.

Stephanie, a Chef Consultant and champion of local produce, is a regular on the food show circuit and has appeared on TV and radio. She has prepared a menu of delicious dishes for each day of Spring Essentials using a range of produce you can grow yourself at home or the allotment.

Flower show regular Martin Walker will be back on stage to host the live demonstrations, adding his own expert tips on growing your own ingredients to go from veg patch to plate this season.

Each week we will be adding a new recipe from Stephanie's mouthwatering menu, so you can come along to see how it's done at Spring Essentials and then get ready to rattle those pots and pans when you get home!

ASPIRING ASPARAGUS - steamed asparagus with tarragon hollandaise and pea shoots

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, stem bases snapped off and trimmed at the base
For the hollandaise
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 whole peppercorns (add to the vinegar)
2 egg yolks
180g salted butter
juice of half a lemon (approximately)
1 bunch of tarragon
1 punnet of pea shoots
cayenne pepper


The hollandaise can be tricky to make, but will grace any asparagus served at your table!
Prepare the asparagus spears and boiling hot water ready for steaming. Steam the asparagus for 2 minutes until cooked and tender.
To make the hollandaise, gently bring the vinegar to the boil. Add the peppercorns before reducing by half and add a splash of water. Allow to cool slightly before adding the egg yolks to the reduction taking care to remove the peppercorns.
Place the egg yolk mixture in a glass bowl over a Bain Marie (simmering water bath). In a separate pan, melt the butter and remove any residue from the top. Whisking all the time, slowly add the melted butter onto the mix until it is all incorporated – leaving the milky butter in the pan. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt and cayenne pepper.
Finally add the chopped tarragon leaves mixed with hot hollandaise and it will wilt gently. Mix well.

To Serve:

Pour the hollandaise over the steamed asparagus, garnish with pea shoots and enjoy with accompaniment of your choice.

...and Martin says

Asparagus is a long term, perennial vegetable, taking two years to establish before cropping, but can then be harvested for 20 plus years. Good drainage and rich soil is the key. Apply a mulch of well rotted manure or compost during autumn, this will enrich the soil over winter.Asparagus are greedy plants and will also require a spring dressing of a general fertiliser. Water the asparagus beds during dry periods.

Join him Over the Fence for more great gardening tips at Spring Essentials!