Spring Bouquet

Don't give me a bouquet of tulips.  Daffodils are all right.  Yes,forsythia is bold and bluebells are blue. If you want to get into my heart, a bouquet of purple sprouting broccoli is all you need.

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I love the stuff.  I would eat it and its better-known namesake every day. Some weeks, I do.  Nothing says spring to me like nibbling the buds of this tasty brassica!

When it comes to PSB, I am a fan of just lightly steaming it and eating it with a bit of butter.  Pure and Simple.

With broccoli (or calabrese, if we are being pedantic), I will allow someone to "mess" with it in a recipe, but I am a tough one to sway from the steam + butter routine. Over time there are really only two recipes that have managed to move me...

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Lin's Broccoli & Cheese Muffins from Baby Led Weaning
Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins
(I've adapted the orginal recipe to use wholemeal flour.)
200g broccoli (1 small - med head)
1 1/2 cups plain yoghurt
1/4 cup oil (olive or corn or your choice) (50ml)
1 large egg
100g cheese (blue or the stinkiest, fruitiest cheddar you can find)
2 cups brown/wholemeal flour (225g)
3t. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup skimmed milk if required. (50 ml)

Preheat oven to 190c/350F. 
Cook broccoli (boiled or steamed until tender). Chop finely
Mix yoghurt, oil & egg well together.
Add broccoli and roughly crumble in blue cheese.
Put flour & salt in a big bowl and mix together with a fork. Pour in the liquid mixture and begin to fold together.
Add just enough milk to make it all stick.
spoon into greased muffin tins.
Bake for 15 minutes until brown and springy

If you have it, an easy American version is to add broccoli and cheese to a box of jiffy cornbread mix...its a bit sweeter, but still delicious!!!
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Best Ever Broccoli Soup
Kev saw this on some TV programme ages ago.  I swear you will never go back to another broccoli soup recipe after this one!!!

Water to taste
Salt/Pepper to taste
2 large heads of very fresh broccoli
Olive Oil and/or Cheese to serve

Chop up stems and florets into even-sized pieces.  Add the broccoli to boiling, salted water.  Cook until the water turns green - 3-4 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove broccoli from water and place in a blender and fill half-way with cooking water (or if you have one of those wand things, remove most of the cooking-water from the pot and set aside).  Blend thoroughly, adding additional water to get to the right consistency. Add salt/pepper to taste.

Serve drizzled with olive oil and/or sprinkled with cheese of your choice (stinky blue for me!!!).  The freshness of the broccoli makes all the difference!

This soup is great with cheese biscuits/scones.

Basic Cheese Biscuits

1 cup unbleached flour
1/4t salt
2t baking powder
4T unsalted butter, cold
6T cream or yoghurt
1 cup cheese, grated (stinky cheddar, of course.  I think you can see what kind of cheese I like!)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C
Sift together flour, salt and baking powder
Cut the butter into small pieces and work into flour mixture until the mix resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the cream and the cheese, saving some of the cheese to go on top of each of the biscuits.  Mix gently.
I roll the mix into golf-ball sized balls and place on non-stick cookie sheet. Flatten slightly and add a bit of sheese to the top of each.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
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All of the above pass the toddler test in our house (though the child does eat everything)!!!


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