Life’s all about the simple pleasures, isn’t it? The smell of fresh coffee, clean and crisp bed linen, sun on your skin, and the first taste of summer strawberries.
If I’m sounding a bit smug, I apologise. But you won’t catch me eating strawberries in February. Why? Because they taste bloody horrible. I know it’s not always possible but eating seasonally is cheaper and healthier – and it tastes so much better. It’s obviously better for the planet too and a good way to support British producers.
British is best – in this case, anyway. My friend Avis always laughs at me because I once got very passionate about my preference for English strawberries. That’s about as Daily Mail as I get.
Now that summer’s here (don’t hold your breath though) we can enjoy sweet strawberries, rhubarb, Jersey royals and my favourite, asparagus. Next month, it’ll be broad beans and peas and I’ll be rushing down to Laura’s to get my fix.
Last week, feeling fat and fed up (it was Sunday night, after all), I rustled up a quick salad using some seasonal veg. The real star of the salad is the asparagus but the peppery radishes and soft, buttery potatoes work well to bolster the earthy and modest green lentils.
I’ll admit that I used green beans grown in some far-flung country but I got them reduced in Waitrose and we all know how much of a boon that is.
This dish is pretty filling as a main meal but a smaller portion would go well with salmon or a poached egg – for all you non vegans.
I hear that asparagus season ends in three weeks, so make this while you can… and use up any leftover asparagus in this summery salad recipe.
Lentil, new potato and asparagus salad
For the salad
200g green lentils
A bunch/packet of asparagus
A bunch/packet of green beans
A small bag of Jersey Royal new potatoes
A small bag of radishes
3-4 teaspoons of capers
For the dressing
2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard
2–3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (optional)
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or honey if you eat it)
The juice of half a lemon
Rinse the lentils and drain. Add to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt and boil for 30 minutes. After about five minutes, put the potatoes to boil. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Mix the mustard, olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Steam the asparagus and green beans for 4-5 minutes. Once everything is cooked, add all the ingredients to a large bowl, mix in the sliced radishes and the capers, and finally the dressing.