Is Asparagus an aphrodisiac?

Pasta with asparagus, lardons, mozzerella and basil.

Pasta with asparagus, lardons, mushrooms, onions, cream and scattered with parmesan

We are celebrating the arrival of our lovely garden asparagus again – a wonderful time of the year and in abundance in our vegetable garden.

There are so many recipes to try with it both fresh and raw, we have it in quiches, soups, salads, pastas – the list is endless. Our favourite is in pasta with mushrooms, lardons, onions and cooked asparagus thrown in at the last minute. Apparently in ancient times, asparagus was renowned as an aphrodisiac! Regardless of its powers to put you in the mood though, this savory vegetable contains a stimulating blend of nutrients, making this member of the lily family alongside onions, leeks and garlic a fantastic food for your health. We will have to let you know if it lies true to its ‘aphrodisiac’ reputation, (Brian insists that this is a fallacy – as with oysters and he’s eaten enough so he should know)!  but one thing we can vouch for is it causes stinky pee!  Scientists aren’t entirely sure why. Most evidence seems to suggest that not everyone can smell the odor and some scientists think that not everyone produces it. Either way, there are no harmful effects.

And so we will continue enjoying our harvest and sharing garden produce with our Clos des Guyons guests during their stay! Not sure if they will let us know about the asparagus aphrodisiac affects though!!! That would be telling wouldn’t it!!

The asparagus season has about another week to go and we’re now into cherries – and that’s another story!

Bon Appetit

Sheila and Brian

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A LOT OF ASPARAGUS!

Pasta with Asparagus, mushrooms and bacon a

Pasta with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Lardons

This is it!  The time we have been waiting for in our garden with the arrival of fabulous green shoots of asparagus to delight our tastes and we have a garden full of it!  Weeks late this year because of the worst Spring in living memory, it is now making up for lost time and every morning brings a profusion of new, succulent shoots.

Nothing delights us more than to eat this vegetable and so I thought I would share this photograph with you and a recipe I recently cooked which is so simple.

Just heat some olive oil in a large pan and cook a few lardons,( cubes of bacon), and fresh mushrooms, which, given that we live in the largest mushroom growing area in France, are easy to find, until just turning brown. At the same time bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook some multi coloured pasta for a few minutes.  After the bacon and mushroom are cooked, drain the cooked pasta and then add to the large pan of cooked bacon and mushrooms and mix together with some cream. Meantime you can cook your spears of asparagus for a few minutes either in a pan of boiling water or, alternatively, you can microwave them for a few minutes to keep their flavour.  Afterwards, place the cooked asparagus on the top of your pan of pasta, bacon and mushrooms and serve with some shavings of parmesan on the top.  Very easy and scrumptious!  It’s nice as a main course or a simple starter and one of my favourites!

And for a wine – funnily enough, I would recommend one which is generally of our least favourite, the rosé, Cabernet d’Anjou, which, however, if it has one use in the whole universe it is to go with aparagus, which is notoriously difficult to partner with wine.

Bon appetit!

Sheila

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Bonne Fete du Premier Mai!!

Bonjour to all our readers!

Mughet

Les Muguet, (Lily of the Valley) given as a gift on May Day here in the Loire Valley.

We are fast approaching May day. It’s the Fete du Travail or Fete des Travailleurs (National Labour Day) and a public bank holiday in France, but it’s also the celebration of the start of the Spring season.

A long standing custom here in the Loire Valley is to buy or pick sprigs of Lily of the Valley as a ‘Port-Bonheur’ (lucky charm) for your friends, neighbours and loved ones, and they call it La Fete du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day). 

These beautiful little bunches of fragrant spring flowers are on sale leading up to May Day in shops and supermarkets, either as cut flowers or as plants in little pots. They are indeed a perfect gift for anyone even though they are only last a few days.

We are so lucky to have lots of these delightful perfumed flowers in our garden at Le Clos des Guyons.

Muguet

Our Muguet patch. With a bit of luck it’ll be flooding the garden with its aroma by Mayday.

They fill the air with their aroma as you walk from the courtyard into the garden and soon and  I will be making pretty bunches for our neighbours in rue du Moulin and, of course, our gite guests too!!

Asparagus

Some Asparagus that Brian missed this morning – not to mention the string. Wait ’till I see him!

Another sign of Spring (albiet very late this year), is the masses of Asparagus that are growing at an amazing rate in the hot sunshine.  Brian clears the bed in the morning and the next day there is as much again.  They’re clearly making up for lost time.

And so in accordance with French customs (of which there are many),  here’s wishing you all a Happy May Day!!

‘Bonne Fete du Muguet’

Sheila and Brian

PS. A lovely balmy evening, sitting on “la terrace”  heavy with the aromas of our  Wisteria and Lilac trees. We have a chilled glass of Franck Bimont’s “Vente du Nord”‘  in hand and listening to a Nightingale singing  his head off from the top of a huge Walnut tree!  Heaven!

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