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Isn’t it lovely to be able to walk out into the garden, and say, ‘What’s for dinner?’

The broad beans have now finished, but as well as salad, young beetroot, strawberries and fresh herbs, we can now add artichokes to the list. They are growing in the garden where we are renting at the moment, and wow, what amazing plants they are… A member of the thistle family, they are majestic with enormous flower heads (the inside and base of which form the edible part) and when they flower, the blooms are an incredible vibrant violet purple. The bees can’t keep away and each flower is wide… about 10cm across and home to about 20 bees at any one time. Jack and I touch the springy narrow petals and the bees push against our fingers to get to the nectar. They really wedge themselves between the petals and then have to slowly push themselves back out…

Artichokes don’t really count as a whole meal, but they make a great entrée, and are fun to eat… I guess they look a bit scary as they can be very spiky and most people know there are bits you should remove, but they have a distinctive flavour and full of anti-oxidants (according to my internet research) so why not try one?

How to deal to an artichoke

Ingredients

one artichoke per person

big pan boiling water and a sieve or metal colander

butter, Hollandaise sauce or aioli (for those of us who are dairy-free)

a crusty loaf of bread

 

Method

  1. Give it a good wipe over. Trim off the woody stalk and cut off the tips of the petals if they will be too spiky to hold.
  2. Put the artichoke face down into a steamer. Steam for 30 mins or so.
  3. You can pull a petal off to check if it is ready. Hold the woody part of the petal with your fingers and then use your teeth to scrape off the fleshier part at the other end. A well-cooked artichoke should be creamy but not slimy.
  4. Start eating the artichoke petals from the outside and work your way in. The closer you get to the middle, the softer the petals will be, until the middle ones are entirely edible.
  5. Once the petals have gone, underneath there is an area of fuzzy stuff (the choke) that you can’t eat. But under that, there is the ‘heart’ attached to the stem, a great edible bit that is pale green and has the best flavour.
  6. Serve with melted butter, hollandaise or aioli (for those of us who are dairy-free), and perhaps some crusty bread. Enjoy!

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag #coromandelflavour – I love to see what you’ve been making and any feedback is really welcome.