- 100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 250g asparagus spears, each cut into 3 pieces
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves
- 3 large egg, lightly beaten
The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…
- 100ml milk
One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…
- handful pitted black olives
- 100g sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 100g Gruyère or Beaufort, grated
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Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Oil and line the base of a loaf tin (approx 22 x 10 x 5cm) with baking paper. Cook the asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 mins, drain, then cool quickly under cold running water. Pat dry.
Mix the flour and thyme with seasoning in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the eggs, milk and oil, stirring all the time to draw the flour into the centre. Beat for 1 min to make a smooth batter.
Reserve 5 asparagus tips and a few olives. Add the remaining asparagus, tomatoes, olives and two-thirds of the cheese to the batter. Pour into the tin, then put the reserved asparagus and olives on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 35-40 mins until the cake feels firm to the touch and is golden and crusty on top. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
Preparing and cooking asparagus
Rinse spears. Hold one at each end, then bend – it will break where the tough woody stem meets the edible tip. the best way to cook the spears is in about 5cm of boiling water in a wide, deep sauté pan. Green asparagus will take 3-5 minutes, depending on its thickness. Test by piercing a spear with the point of a knife – when cooked it will just slide in easily. White asparagus takes much longer to cook as it has a woodier texture. It needs 12-15 minutes – test as above.
When you break and trim asparagus, don’t throw away the trimmings and ends – they make a great stock for soups and risottos.