spring easterAfter the long, cold winter months, spring comes with warmth, color and an abundance of culinary delights. This is a wonderful time to spend leisurely mornings wandering around farmers’ markets, soaking up some inspiration along with a much needed dose of Vitamin D! It’s also the season to start planting an edible garden, no matter how small. I don’t have much space, but I do have various pots of herbs I hardly have to tend to. And, I’ve grown courgettes, tomatoes, spring onions, turnips and radishes quite successfully. If I had more of a green thumb (and space!), I would probably plant much more!
The following recipes are a great way to celebrate spring — and perfect for Easter, too.

The first one is a French classic inspired by the market in Boulogne-sur-Mer when one morning I purchased a kilo of the most beautifully bright green, dewy fresh peas. To me, they are one of the season’s joys. While I do buy frozen peas at other times of the year, I wouldn’t dream of cooking with anything but fresh ones when they’re in season. 
This French side dish is tasty and very easy to make. If you find podding the peas a tiresome chore, I encourage you to enlist the help of your children.They’ll love it!
petits pois
Petits pois à la française
Serves 4

  • 1.2 kilo fresh peas
  • knob of butter
  • 10 small shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 2 thick slices of bacon (about 1 cm thick)
  • 175ml chicken bouillon
  • salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
  • 1 little gem lettuce, in strips

Pod the peas. Melt the butter in a pan and add the shallots. Allow them to gently soften. Slice the bacon in small strips, add it to the shallots and stir. Add the peas, bouillon and stir again. Season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on the pan and allow everything to cook for 7-10 minutes. Add the lettuce strips, stir and serve. Delicious with a roast leg of lamb.

The second recipe is another perfect way to celebrate spring and serve with Easter, especially if you’re catering to a crowd. Marinate the meat well in advance so that it soaks up all of the lemony flavors. I like to serve it with bread and a simple salad, but roast potatoes and some green peas or asparagus would also be delicious. Multiply the recipe as needed.
lamb chops
Lemon & Herb Lamb
Serves 4

  • 4 lamb chops
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsps fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsps mild olive oil
  • salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper

Put the lamb chops in a tray and season with all of the ingredients. Rub everything into the meat using your hands. Cover the tray with aluminium foil and put it in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight. Take the meat out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking it so that it comes to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 250°C. Grill the chops for two minutes per side and transfer each piece to an oven dish where they will all fit snuggly. Cover the dish with aluminium foil, pop it into the oven and bake for ten minutes. Serve immediately.

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