The weather has been just splendid and there is a lot to be said about living in the English countryside when the sky is clear and the temperature rises. I have finally managed to do most of my spring vegetable sowing, ready for planting out in a few weeks. The potatoes will be going in in the next couple of days, then I can sit down and relax and just watch things growing...the hammock has been put up too, making a very enticing cocoon in the shade of the plum tree, which is flowering just now.
All around me Nature is simply exploding, full of life and rising sap, birds nesting and hedgehogs scuttling. Despite all this inner action around me, I easily feel tired and almost guilty because of it. The Germans, pragmatic as ever, even have a name for this set of both physical and psychological symptoms associated with spring, Frühjahrsmüdigkeit or spring fatigue...it is good to know that I do not always have to feel in sync with the outside world.
On the other hand, I find that following a diet that includes as many seasonal fresh ingredients as possible is of great help, to both myself and the children. In a way it seems to accelerate the coming out of hibernation and the appreciation of the changing season. I also believe that it helps with lessening the heavy load on the liver, which needs to shed a few toxins after the winter, but this does not have any scientific foundation, so do not quote me on this.
Today I bought some free range eggs laid by happy hens roaming on the Broughton Gifford common, and dinner became just a matter of boiling some #JerseyRoyals, chopping home grown leeks and shredding some spinach from the Riverford veggie box...frittata is a spring/summer staple in Italy, one that can be put together in no time. All you need are eggs (preferably free range) and some vegetables.
Ingredients (enough for 2 people)
2tbsp olive oil
4 medium free range eggs
4-5 small Jersey Royals (or Charlotte potatoes)
2 medium leeks
knob of butter
200g baby spinach
2 tbsp parmesan, freshly grated
sea salt and black pepper
Get all the ingredients ready. In a large bowl crack the eggs and mix with a fork. Add the parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. Scrub and boil the potatoes in salted water until just done (about 10-15 minutes depending on size), drain and cut into wedges. Peel off the outer leaves of the leeks, clean from any dirt and slice in half lengthwise. Slice across in thin rings and sautée in a large pan (at least 24cm) with oil and butter until soft and sweet. Roughly slice the baby spinach.
Put all the vegetables and parmesan in the bowl with the eggs. Oil the pan used for the leeks, put on the hob and when the oil is hot pour the eggs and vegetable mix. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 5 minutes, until almost set. Now the tricky bit! When the top of the frittata is not quite set and still a bit runny, turn the frittata onto the inside of the lid with a quick movement, then slide it into the pan again, top side down, to finish cooking for about 2 minutes. The frittata needs to be just set, or it will dry and turn hard. It is pretty much the same as timing a quiche, too long and you'll have leather, too little and you have runny egg oozing from the frittata.