Asparagus Soup (Traditional)

Preparing Asparagus soup starts by using the skin and woody ends of the asparagus with leek or shallot to make a stock. Since the stock is fairly bland and watery, you need to add additional flavour (the tips of the asparagus, cream, salmon and dill) and improve the consistency of the final result. The traditional way of doing this is by making a roux. You will get a nice, thickened soup with a velvety mouthfeel. It’s still a bit one dimensional so if you want a more complex soup, we suggest replacing the water by chicken or vegetable stock.

Another way of improving the consistency and enhancing the flavour is by adding asparagus to the soup and blending the result. In this post we will prepare the traditional version.

What You Need

  • The skin and woody ends of lots of White Asparagus
  • Shallot
  • Butter
  • Water (Chicken or Vegetable Stock preferred)
  • Five White Asparagus
  • 30 grams of All Purpose Flour
  • 30 grams of Butter
  • Cream
  • White Pepper
  • Pinch of Salt

What You Do

Peel and slice the shallot. Peel the five asparagus and cut of the woody ends. Add butter to a pan, glaze the shallot. Now add the skin and woody ends of the asparagus, coat with the shallot and butter mixture and add cold water. Allow to simmer for 30 – 45 minutes. If you cook the stock too long, then it will become bitter. Pass the liquid through a sieve. Squeeze to capture all the lovely asparagus juices. With the stock ready it’s time to make the (white) roux. Warm the butter in the pan, add the flour and stir. Keep on medium heat until you just begin to smell cookies. Now start adding the warm liquid, slowly at first, keep stirring and adding until you have used all the liquid. Taste, add some white pepper and a pinch of salt. Keep on low heat. Slice the five asparagus, add the slices to the soup and keep the tips. Stir every 5 minutes. After 20 minutes add some cream, slice the five tips lengthwise and add these to the soup. 5 more minutes and the soup is ready.

Asparagus Soup (Traditional) ©cadwu
Asparagus Soup (Traditional) ©cadwu

Farfalle with Saint George’s Mushroom, Oregano and Pancetta

Nearly the end of the season for the Saint George’s Mushroom (at least, where we live). So far it’s been a great year for this mushroom and the Fairy Ring Mushroom. Unfortunately, it’s been a poor year for another of our spring favourites: the morel.

Saint George’s Mushroom have a strong, not very pleasant aroma (it disappears when you heat the mushrooms) and a long lasting, earthy taste. Famous chef, author and mushroom expert Jane Grigson wasn’t a fan. In her classic book The Mushroom Feast she wrote “I have omitted one or two which our mushroom books follow each other in praising too highly. One of these is the Saint George’s Mushroom.” Obviously, we humbly disagree with her. It’s a bit of a puzzle to find the right combination of ingredients when one is the Saint George’s Mushroom but isn’t that part of the fun?
Earlier we wrote about an omelette with Saint George’s Mushroom and a starter with udon. This recipe is a combination of fat, moist, slightly sweet pancetta and earthy mushrooms, with the egg sauce and the oregano making it into a delicious dish.

Wine Pairing

We matched the rather intense flavours with a Pinot Noir, made by La Cour Des Dames. In general you’re looking for a red, medium bodied wine with aromas of berries, floral notes and delicate wood. The tannins should be soft or well-integrated. 

What You Need

  • 100 grams of Saint George’s Mushroom
  • 100 gram of Pancetta (slab preferred)
  • Fresh Oregano
  • Two eggs
  • Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Black Pepper
  • Farfalle

What You Do

Start by cleaning the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Slice. Dice the pancetta. We used pancetta produced by Fumagalli. Sustainable, organic, ecological etcetera. Use a heavy iron skillet and fry the pancetta on medium/high heat. No need to add olive oil. When nicely coloured transfer the pancetta to a plate, remove most of the fat and gently fry the mushrooms. After a few minutes transfer the pancetta back to the pan. Add fresh oregano leaves, bigger ones shredded. Add the farfalle to a pan of boiling water and cook until al dente. In the meantime, beat two eggs and add some parmesan cheese. When the farfalle is ready, taste the mixture in the pan, perhaps add some extra oregano and transfer the farfalle to the pan. Wait for a minute or so until the excess water has evaporated. Move the pan away from the heat, add the egg mixture and combine (like you would do with Spaghetti Carbonara). Add black pepper and some extra Parmesan cheese before serving.

Farfalle with Saint George’s Mushroom, Oregano and Pancetta ©cadwu
Farfalle with Saint George’s Mushroom, Oregano and Pancetta ©cadwu

Fairy Ring Mushroom with Udon

Spring brings us several edible or even delicious mushrooms, such as the Fairy Ring Mushroom, Morels and the Mushroom of Saint George.
The Fairy Ring mushroom is a very common mushroom in many countries. The name is not very helpful since many mushrooms grow in the pattern of a ring. The German and Dutch names (Rasen-Schwindling and Weidekringzwam) are more helpful; these refer to the fact that the mushroom grows in meadows and lawns.
It’s a small, very edible mushroom, available from early spring until late autumn. Its taste is a bit sweet and perhaps that’s why some people suggest using them to make sweet mushroom cookies. Hm, we think you can do better than that! Earlier we combined the mushroom with pork chops. Today we use the sweetness as a starting point of a vegetarian dish with udon, our favourite noodle.

Drink Pairing

Given the sweetness of the dish, the depth of the udon and the hint of spiciness (fresh ginger), we suggest a medium bodied, dry white wine. Could be a Riesling or perhaps a Grüner Veltliner. A well balanced, round sake will also be great with the dish.

What You Need

  • 100 gram of Fairy Ring mushroom
  • 2 Scallions
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Ginger
  • Oyster Sauce or Mirin
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Olive Oil
  • Udon

What You Do

Start by cleaning the mushrooms with kitchen paper. Remove the stems. Slice the scallions thinly, separate the white and the green. Add the udon to boiling water. The noodles will take some 10 minutes, which gives you sufficient time to prepare the mushrooms. Fry the caps in olive oil. After a few minutes, add the white of the scallions. Fry for a minute or so. Reduce heat. Add some grated ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. To enhance the sweetness of the mushroom, add some oyster sauce or mirin. Add a teaspoon to start with. Taste and adjust. Perhaps a second one? Be careful not to overpower the delicate flavor of the mushroom. When ready, add the udon straight from the pan to the mushrooms. Combine. Leave for a minute or two. Add a bit of stock. You’re looking for generous coated udon with shining mushrooms. Just before serving add some freshly grated ginger, a dash of sesame oil and the green of the scallions.


In some countries the mushroom is known as Mousseron, which sounds French, however in France the Fairy Ring mushroom is called Faux-Mousseron, to distinguish it from the real Mousseron, the mushroom we know as the Mushroom of Saint George. At least both are edible!

Fairy Ring Mushroom with Udon ©cadwu
Fairy Ring Mushroom with Udon ©cadwu

The Art of Sauces: Beurre Blanc

We love the classic ways of eating white asparagus, served with a nice white wine from the Alsace region in France (Pinot Blanc, perhaps a dry Muscat). We were talking about different ways of preparing them. We browsed through various recipes and found a combination new to us: white asparagus with scallops (Coquilles Saint Jacques). Some add a tomato and tarragon sauce, others mayonnaise or (even) a tapenade. Not combinations we would like to see on our plate. Why not serve with a sauce that supports the subtle sweetness of both the asparagus and the scallops? Could be Hollandaise or Kimizu, but these are probably too rich for the scallops.

Beurre Blanc is an interesting sauce: it’s basically a reduction of white wine, vinegar and herbs, thickened with very cold butter.  The more butter you add, the thicker the consistency, although it will remain thinner than an emulsified sauce. The benefit of beurre blanc is that it comes with that lovely velvety mouthfeel without being too rich. And the acidity works beautifully with the asparagus and the scallops.

What You Need

  • 4 tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar 
  • 4 tablespoons of Water
  • 1 Shallot
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaf
  • Black Pepper
  • Double Cream
  • 75 (or more) grams very cold Butter

What You Do

Chop the shallot and crush the black pepper corns. Add the wine, the vinegar and the water to a pan. Add the shallot, the black pepper, thyme and one bay leaf to the pan. Allow to reduce to 1/3. Pass through a sieve. In total you should have 3 or 4 tablespoons of reduction. Warm the reduction. Add a splash of cream and reduce to 1/2 or 1/3. Whisk regularly. Remove the creamy reduction from the heat and start adding small cubes of ice cold butter, one by one, whisking constantly. Keep adding butter until you have the taste and the consistency you want.

Asparagus and Scallops

We served the Beurre Blanc with steamed white asparagus and scallops sautéed in butter. We opened a bottle of Mâcon-Vinzelles ‘En Paradis’ 2021, produced by Château Vitallis. The wine, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes, is vinified in stainless steel tanks. It has just the right level of citrusy acidity, it is fresh with floral aromas, and comes with minerality and a touch of butter. In general, you’re looking for an unoaked chardonnay, with freshness and some acidity.

Asparagus, Scallops and Beurre Blanc ©cadwu
Asparagus, Scallops and Beurre Blanc ©cadwu

Wild Garlic Soup

Only a few days to go before the end of the Wild Garlic season. The season starts early February when the first leaves appear. Mid-April the star shaped white flowers appear, beautiful and also edible. When the flowers go to seed it’s the end of the season and the leaves become bitter and chewy.

Wild Garlic can be used to make pesto, it can be added to a dish with white asparagus and morels and it’s delicious when combined with fennel and potato. Preparing Wild Garlic soup is also a good idea. The first time we tasted it, at Zum Fliegenden Holländer in Potsdam, Germany, we expected the soup to be a bit simple, probably we would taste onion, touch of garlic and potatoes. We were wrong, the soup was much more complicated and sophisticated than expected. The flavour was mild, we could clearly taste the Wild Garlic, but very gentle, with some sweetness. The overall taste was pleasant and lasting. Perhaps the potato was too present, but that was a minor detail. Bärlauchsuppe proofed to be delicious, refreshing and very much a tribute to spring.

What You Need

  • 150 grams of Wild Garlic Leaves
  • 500 ml of Stock
  • 1 Shallot
  • ½ Garlic Clove
  • Potato Starch
  • Cream
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Nutmeg

What You Do

Wash and dry the leaves. Chop the shallot and the garlic. We were lucky, our bunch of leaves also contained a few flower buds. We chopped these as well. Warm a pan, add some olive oil and glaze the onions and the garlic (and the flower buds). After a few minutes add the stock. We used homemade quail stock, which brought additional sweetness to the soup. Leave to simmer for a few minutes. Coarsely chop the leaves, add these to the pan and leave for perhaps one minute. Be careful, you don’t want to discolour the leaves. Use a blender to make a smooth liquid. Pass the liquid through a sieve. Add one to two teaspoons of potato starch and mix very well. Add cream and leave for a few minutes. Just before serving add some excellent olive oil and black pepper, blender for 1 or 2 seconds and serve with some freshly grated nutmeg.


We use potato starch to remain close to the basic idea of the Bärlauchsuppe in Potsdam. Potato Starch has a neutral taste and a high binding strength. If you use a (starchy) potato, then peel and cube it and add it to the stock. Remove the potato cubes when they are ready, add the chopped leaves, leave to simmer and then blender. Mash the potato cubes, combine with some of the liquid, add the mash to the soup and whisk well. If you blender the liquid with the potato, you risk ending up with a gluey, sticky soup.


Both White and Green Asparagus are seasonal products. Waiting for the season to begin is part of the fun of enjoying asparagus.

Green Asparagus

Preparing Green Asparagus is simple. Wash them and cut off 1 or 2 centimetres or so from the bottom. You could steam or cook them but you risk getting soggy asparagus. Better to prepare them in a skillet or in the oven. They will only take 10-15 minutes. Great to combine with basil and black olives. You could also grill them, see below.

White Asparagus

Buying and preparing White Asparagus requires a bit more work, but once you know what to do, it’s not difficult at all.


Make sure the white asparagus are fresh. Just look at the bottom, where they have been cut off. If the cut looks dry, wrinkly or even moldy, then don’t buy them. If you want to be sure they are super fresh, then rub two asparagus together. If you hear a squeaking sound, then they’re super fresh.


Peel White Asparagus, using a peeler, as you would potatoes. In the old days White Asparagus would be peeled twice, but nowadays we like a bit of texture.
Cut off 1 or 2 centimetres from the bottom. If your White Asparagus are fresh, it’s just a matter of removing the original cut.


The most popular approach is to cook White Asparagus. Add the asparagus to a pan with plenty of cold water. Wait for the water to just begin boiling, keep it simmering for 1 minute, then transfer the pan to the work top. Wait for 10 minutes before removing the asparagus from the water. If you prefer them a bit softer, then leave them in the hot water for 5 more minutes.
Many add butter, sugar, salt, lemon and/or the skin of the asparagus to the water. We could imagine adding the skin. Adding sugar is a big NO for us.
You could use a special asparagus pan when cooking the asparagus, but actually there is no need for it. As long as the pan can accommodate the asparagus, you’re fine.


We prefer steaming White Asparagus for 20 minutes in our Russell Hobbs. The taste of the asparagus will be more intense and richer.

Wine Pairing

In general a Pinot Blanc, Riesling or Dry Muscat from the Elzas will be very nice with your asparagus.


Over the years we have prepared asparagus in many ways. Bon Appétit!


You’re probably aware of the side effect of eating asparagus, the typical smell when peeing. It doesn’t happen to everyone, and it also depends on the type of asparagus. The sulphurous by-products (the result of your body digesting the asparagus) that cause the smell, will disappear within a few hours. Could take a bit longer, but nothing to worry about, it’s perfectly harmless.

Potato, Fennel and Wild Garlic

So many names for this great plant: Ramson(s), Wild Garlic, Bear Leek, DaslookAil des OursBärlauchRamsløgAglio Orsino, Allium ursinum, it is one of the highlights of spring. Powerful, pure and tasty. It can be harvested from the wild, but fortunately some green grocers also sell Wild Garlic. The taste is a combination of onion and garlic, but much greener, longer lasting and with a touch of bitterness at the end. You can turn the leaves into a strong pesto, but better use it as herb with for instance potatoes or gnocchi. It is also great when used in a dish with white asparagus and morels. The flowers are also edible and are a great decoration for savory dishes and salads.

We combine Wild Garlic with potatoes and fresh fennel. The anise-taste and the light crunchiness of the fennel go very well with this rich, lightly onion flavoured potato mash.

What You Need

  • Potato
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Fennel
  • Wild Garlic
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt (optional)

What You Do

Dice the peeled potatoes and cook until ready to mash. Very finely dice some fennel, let’s say one tablespoon per one large potato. Add cream, butter and diced fennel to the mashed potato, mix and leave on very low heat. Remove the veins from the wild garlic leaves and tear the leaves, as you would do with basil. Add some of them to the mash, add black pepper and perhaps a pinch of salt. Leave for a few minutes, add more butter or cream if so required and more leaves. If you’re happy with the consistency and the taste, it’s time to add some more torn leaves to the mash. Serve immediately.


Other elements on the plate are Saucisse de Morteau, Frankfurter and petit farci. More about the latter in one of our next posts!

Zucchini with Oregano and Parmesan Cheese

Recently a friend who lives in Liguria, north-western Italy, gave us a Trombetta d’Albenga. This is a zucchini, shaped like an antique trumpet. What makes it interesting is related to its shape: the seeds of this kind of zucchini are in the bell of the trumpet only, meaning that most of the zucchini is free of seeds. Which makes it ideal for a salad or for frying, especially when it’s young. Older trombettas tend to be yellowish and firmer; more pumpkin-like.

It’s wonderful to prepare this starter with Trombetta d’Albenga, however they are hard to find outside of Liguria, so we prepared this dish both with a trombetta and with a young normal zucchini. The trombetta is firmer and its taste creamier, nevertheless in both cases it’s a healthy, very tasty, vegetarian starter, one to share and enjoy with friends. It’s crunchy, salty, full of flavours, soft and slightly bitter.

Wine Pairing

The most popular grape in Liguria is Vermentino, which is used to produce white wines. Don’t worry if you can’t find a wine made with vermentino. In general a glass of rosé or white wine will be nice with the zucchini, provided the wine is fresh, with a touch of acidity and notes of citrus or green apples.

What You Need

  • One Trombetta or Young Zucchini
  • Breadcrumbs or Panko
  • Dried Oregano
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Olive Oil

What You Do

Wash and slice the vegetable. If using a zucchini, drizzle with salt and mix. Let the mixture rest for two hours, allowing for the zucchini to lose water and become firm. Best way to do this, is by putting the zucchini in a sieve and let it rest above a bowl. Wash the zucchini.
If the dried oregano is not very fine, then use a kitchen knife to make the dried leaves smaller. Mix breadcrumbs or panko with a generous amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and Oregano. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil. Coat the slices of zucchini with the mixture and fry quickly until golden. When ready, leave for a minute or two and serve the trombetta warm.


Only a few days left before the end of the asparagus season on June 24th! So dash off to your greengrocer and buy some lovely asparagus, white, green, purple, it’s all fine and great, as long as they are locally farmed and fresh.

The classic way of preparing asparagus is to cook (or better: steam) them. You can pair the steamed asparagus with kimizu (the beautiful, light, golden Japanese sauce made with egg yolks and rice vinegar) Hollandaise, morels or scrambled eggs with shrimps. Classic way to serve them is à la Flamande (mimosa of egg, butter, parsley and nutmeg). You could add boiled eggs, ham and new potatoes to have a nice dinner. Or if you want to spent more money, then you serve them with summer truffle or with Sauce Périgueux.

Grilling the asparagus is also possible, simply serve them with excellent olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese.

Parhaps as a salad on a summers evening? Of course, with a delicious dressing made of white wine vinegar, olive oil, a touch of honey and lots of chervil.

A more exotic way of is to fry the asparagus with black olives and basil. Goes very well with lamb.

Wine Pairing

The obvious choice is a glass of Pinot Blanc, although we actually prefer a dry Muscat in combination with a classic preparation such as à la Flamande. Depending on the dish it could also be a Verdicchio, an Albariño or perhaps even a Portuguese Vinho Verde. Feel free to experiment; yesterday we enjoyed our asparagus with a glass of wine made of muscat and picpoul grapes. Delicious combination! The wine comes from the Pont Du Gard region (near Nimes, France) and is produced by Château Mourgues du Grès.
A more serious rosé is a perfect choice when you grill the asparagus, for instance a glass of Domaine Vico Corse Le Bois du Cerf Rosé 2021. This exceptional rosé from Corsica is made of grenache and sciacarello grapes. It is medium bodied and fresh with aromas of red fruit with a complex, long and fruity taste.
A pinot noir or grenache based wine is great when you fry the asparagus, depending on the preparation of the meat.

Asparagus ©cadwu
Asparagus ©cadwu

Artichoke à la Barigoule

It’s the time of year to enjoy artichokes: steamed, as a salad, in a pie or perhaps à la Barigoule. This is a rather intriguing recipe from the French Provence region. There are lots of variations, so we looked in books like La Cuisinière Provençale and La Cuisine Niçoise d’Hélène Barale to find the ‘original’ recipe.

Obviously you want to know what ‘barigoule’ means. According to Hélène Barale ‘barigoule’ means thyme, which is odd because she doesn’t add thyme to her Artichoke à la Barigoule. Is it perhaps derived from the Latin word mauruculai (meaning morel according to some and saffron milk cap to others) as the Larousse suggests? But what is the link between artichokes and mushrooms?

Three Versions

We found three different ways of preparing Artichoke à la Barigoule: cooked with onions, white wine and carrot, stuffed and preserved with lots of citrus. The stuffed one is probably the original version because the artichoke is stuffed with a mixture of mushrooms, thyme and garlic. Which makes the Larousse explanation more likely.

Preparing Artichokes a la Barigoule is quite a bit of work and the result, we must admit, looks like an old fashioned underbaked meatball. We could imagine you serve the artichoke halfway the recipe. If you do, best is to use smaller artichokes.

Wine Pairing

It’s not straightforward to pair artichokes with wine. According to various researchers this is due to cynarin, a chemical especially found in the leaves of the artichoke. When the wine and the cynarin meet in your mouth, the natural sweetness of the wine is enhanced, making it taste too sweet. So you have to pair artichokes with a bone-dry, crisp, unoaked white wine with clear, present acidity. For instance Sauvignon Blanc, Grüner Veltliner or Albariño. 

What You Need

  • Artichokes
  • Cooking liquid
    • Shallot
    • Carrot
    • Olive oil
    • White wine
    • Water
    • Thyme
  • Filling
    • Mushrooms
    • Egg yolk
    • Garlic
    • Shallot
    • 2 Strips of Bacon
    • Thyme
    • Black Pepper
  • Excellent Olive Oil

What You do

Remove outer leaves and stem of the artichokes. Add oil to a large pan, gently fry the chopped shallot and the chopped carrot. After 10 minutes or so add white wine, thyme and some water. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the artichokes to the liquid, close the pan and allow to cook and steam on low heat for 45-60 minutes or until nearly done. You could decide to stop here and serve the artichoke with the (reduced) sauce.
Let the artichokes cool, remove the leaves and the centre choke (the hairy part).  Use a spoon to remove the ‘meat’ from the leaves (bracts) of the artichokes. Set aside. In a small skillet heat some oil, add chopped shallot, glaze, add sliced bacon, mushrooms, garlic and thyme. Leave for 10 minutes until done. Add the artichoke meat from the leaves, stir, add the egg yolk and mix. Add freshly grounded black pepper. Use a food processor to make the mixture smoother, but not too smooth. Fill the artichokes with the mixture. It should look like an oversized golf ball on top of the bottom of the artichoke. You will probably have too much filling, which is fine. Gently transfer the artichokes to the pan with cooking liquid and allow to steam and warm for 30 minutes. Now transfer the artichokes to a warm oven (60 ˚C or 140 ˚F).  Add the reaming mixture to the liquid, use a powerful blender to create a sauce. Pass through a sieve and blender some more. Set the blender to low speed and add excellent olive oil. Taste and adjust. Serve the filled artichokes on a small plate with the sauce.