Shine Radio listener, Ann Saunders and local resident shares her light bite recipes with Noni Needs.

Full of inspirational eating for sharing food, safely outside for your party of 6.

Asparagus -seared and steamed

This is a way in which you can prepare several vegetables as well as asparagus. 

Prepare the asparagus by washing and breaking off the woody ends with your fingers,  and dry the spears on a clean tea towel. Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a wide saucepan  over medium to hot heat.   Carefully place the asparagus spears in the oil and turn with tongs or two long spoons to char the spears all round. Sprinkle with grindy salt and pepper. After approximately 5 minutes have 2 tbsp of water in an egg cup ready in one hand and the saucepan lid in another. Quickly throw in the water into the pan and immediately cover the sizzling contents with the lid. The spears will cook in the evaporating water and you will end up with tender charred glistening  spears with no water left. Place on a serving dish or individual plates to eat in the traditional way ie with your fingers. Check seasoning. 

Cheesy Wotsits

6 slices of good medium-sliced white bread, 2 days old preferably, crusts removed, if preferred

170g hard cheese such as Parmesan, cheddar, goat’s cheese) , finely  or medium grated 

2-4 tbsp mayonnaise 

Optional extras: finely sliced/chopped spring onions, cayenne, and paprika for dusting

Mix cheese, enough mayonnaise and any flavourings if using to make a spreadable consistency. Spread mixture onto slices of bread and cut each slice into 4 or 6. Place on oven tray, dust with paprika if using, and bake in oven at 190’C or Gas Mark 6 for approximately 10 mins till puffy and golden. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. 

Serve when not too hot to eat or warm through when needed. 

You can also prepare the wotsits a day or so before, once you’ve spread the mixture on the bread. On the day just cut into pieces and put in oven. 

Note: You can also use slices of a white baguette but a bit more fiddly!

Quick Pea and Mint Soup

1 tablespoon of olive oil and a knob of butter

2 shallots or 1 small onion,  chopped finely

One stick of celery, chopped finely

600 ml hot chicken or vegetable stock

400 g of frozen peas

10 g of mint leaves chopped roughly

Melt the butter and oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan Add the shallots and celery. Season, cover and sweat very gently without colouring for 15 minutes or until completely soft. 
Add the hot stock and bring to a gentle simmer, then add the peas and simmer for a further five minutes until the peas are cooked. 

Add chopped mint leaves and  liquidise or blend till smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste after liquidising. 

Serve hot or cold in bowls with a garnish of chopped mint and twirl of extra virgin olive oil or cream.