Sleepy Time – 5 Strategies for a Better Night’s Sleep for Your Toddler

There is almost nothing as truly terrifying as a toddler who has not had a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for many parents. While the sleepless nights are hard, the days following are even harder! You will be pleased to know that those days are now short-lived. Try out these options below for a better night’s sleep for your toddler (and you).

Go Natural

It’s time to put down the parabens, phthalates, and petrochemicals, and go natural! Did you know there are many natural sleep remedies for toddlers for a peaceful night’s slumber with no harmful additives? Do your research. Look for balms, bath washes, and essential oils. The best products are going to be those that are entirely natural and organic and will be gentle on your child’s skin.

Regulate that Routine

All it can take is a half-hour difference in your bedtime routine, and you can have a tantrummy toddler for the next week. The key to a well-rested toddler is one thing: routine. If you set a schedule and stick with it to within a quarter-hour, your nights will go off without a hitch. However, it’s not only the bedtime that matters but what’s around it as well. Time the bath before bed followed by a story. Your toddler will expect it, and their body will fall in with the balanced schedule that lulls them off to sleep.

Snack-Savvy

If your tiny terror has been bouncing off the walls for the last hour instead of sleeping, then you may be scratching your head and wondering why. It couldn’t possibly be that large glass of juice and slice of cake, could it? If you don’t want nap time to be like defusing a bomb, then get savvy with your snack choices. Opt for fruit, vegetables, and crackers instead of high-sugar treats. Even better, bypass the snack and opt for a glass of milk before bed instead.

Turn off the Tablet

There’s no denying that electronic devices can be your saving grace when you need a break from your children, but they can end up making bedtime far more challenging. The more you limit screen time, the more beneficial it will be for your child. If you are going to restrict their tablet time, you may also like to remove or restrict TV usage in their bedroom as well. Research shows that children with a TV in their bedroom score lower on school tests and have more health and educational problems.

Complete Darkness

You might feel like you’re doing the right thing by installing nightlights to stop your toddler from being afraid, but you may be disrupting their sleep. Any form of light pollution such as clocks and night lights can affect your toddler’s hormone regulation and immune function – resulting in poorer quality sleep.

If your tiny tot is afraid of the dark (and, of course, the monsters), then there are ways around it. You can introduce a “monster spray” (water in a spray bottle) to “rid” the room of monsters before they go to sleep, or you can turn off any lights once they doze off.

Almost every parent with a toddler is going to go through a zombie phase – a time when the tot gets no sleep, so neither do the parents. It’s the unfortunate reality of being a mom or dad! However, it can be a short phase by thinking a little outside the square. Try out natural products, make sure their routine is regular, alter their diet, and let them go to bed without lighting or technology.

Future Forward – 5 Important Things to Consider Before Retiring

Retirement is the beginning of a new phase of life. There will be changes, that is certain. In the years before you clock out for the last time, it’s vital to evaluate whether you’re ready to pursue the life of retirement you’ve envisioned for yourself.

Do you want to travel? Perhaps you hope to spend more time in your garden? Maybe you’re thinking about downsizing? Whatever your dream of retirement, it’s important you plan for it. Keep reading to find out several things you should consider before retiring.

1. Let Your Home Equity Work for You

Once you reach the age of 55, a couple of options become available to you that gives you access to the equity in your home. Equity release, reverse mortgages and other financial strategies allow you to leverage the equity you’ve built up in your home to support your lifestyle and lead a comfortable retirement. Make sure to investigate all options thoroughly to ascertain which, if any, are consistent with your long-term goals for retaining ownership of your home and/or bequeathing it to your loved ones down the track.

2. Your Retirement Budget

Your retirement budget is likely going to be different from the expenditure patterns you have right now. While some things like food expenses remain, vehicle, medical, insurance, clothing and other outgoings may all fluctuate considerably in either direction as you age. Don’t forget to factor in leisure expenses. With more free time on your hands, there’s a strong possibility that sports, recreation and other costs will increase. Forgetting to account for these can leave a gaping hole in your figures.

3. Getting Rid of Debt

Ideally, you’ll want to head into retirement as debt-free as possible. It’s best to work on getting rid of your high-interest debt first. Credit cards typically have the highest debt ratio followed by car loans. Leave your mortgage for last as it usually has the lowest interest rate of all typical debt. If you do run into short-term financial difficulties, many retirees may qualify for small cash loans offered by non-profit or community-based microfinance institutions. These may be worth researching as they can be a much safer alternative to high-interest credit cards or other predatory lending practices.

4. Your Health Insurance

Throughout your working career, you probably gave little thought to health insurance because your employer provided it and the premiums came directly off your paycheck. Easy-peasy, right?

Well, now that you’re planning to retire, you’ll have to consider your health insurance needs very carefully. You’ll qualify for Medicare at age 65, but will likely still need supplemental insurance besides. If you’re retiring early, you’ll need to make sure you have enough cash flow to pay for an individual health insurance plan on your own.

5. Your Housing Situation

If you’re planning a home renovation before you retire, consider adding things like lever doorknobs and faucet handles to make them easier to operate as you age. If you are remodeling your bathroom, think about a shower with a lower threshold as well as adding a shower seat.

If you’re planning to move, you may want to buy a home that’s all on one level to avoid having to traverse stairs in your golden years. Another option many seniors find appealing is downsizing since there’s less maintenance involved and since there’s not enough room, grown children can’t return home to live.

Retirement is the beginning of an entirely new lifestyle. There are many things to consider and prepare for the most-extended vacation of your life. Keep these factors in mind as you plan for your own impending retirement.

Things to keep in mind before renting a place in UK

Moving to a new place is full of hassle. From finding a good home to live in to dealing with the landlords, uh! It can be one exasperating experience.

And then what makes is worse is other issues like unavailability of the places that you liked or the landlords not being co-operative in some cases and what not? The world is a sea of countless possibilities, isn’t it?

Well, all in all, if you are planning to move to UK, you might have a hard time.

To help you ease things out for yourself, here we talk about some important things to keep in mind before renting a home in UK.

Things to remember before you rent a home in UK

Finding a home in UK is a task in itself and then to find the right one, there is a bunch of things you need to keep in mind. To know about those, read below.

1. Not the cheapest find

This is something we all know. UK is expensive. But how expensive is it actually?

Talking about the housing industry, the house rent and the deposit combined can drain your pockets out. Like literally.

For example, for a house that costs £1,200 per month you might expect to pay:

  • Deposit (usually around 6 weeks* rent): £1,662.00
  • 1st month’s rent (paid upfront): £1,200.00
  • Administration fees*: £200.00
  • Referencing fees*: £60.00

Adding these all up, the final amount comes up as £3,122.00.

So, if you are a little low on budget, you are going to have a hard time finding a decent property to live on in London.

2. One but many bills. Every month

You might be flabbergasted by the number of bills which you’ll need to take care of every month.

Don’t believe us? See the list below.

  • Gas and/or electricity,
  • Water bills,
  • Council tax,
  • Service charge (only for some properties),
  • TV license (if you plan on watching live TV),
  • Landline phone bill,
  • Contents insurance,
  • Digital TV or satellite TV subscriptions,
  • Broadband bill

Now, there is a turn. Some of these bills might be covered by your landlord. To confirm that, you will have to talk with your landlord.

As this will really be helpful, do checkout if any of your bills are to be covered by your landlord.

3. See what all is included

Before you move into a property, one of the most important things you need to find out is the list of items being provided in the price that you are paying.

Be it the electrical goods or just a mirror or cupboard. Make sure you know it all before actually moving in.

Some common household electrical items that you might ask or look for are as follows.

  • Kettle
  • Toaster
  • Microwave
  • Fridge
  • Freezer
  • Oven
  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher

Also, if any of the items being provided are in a poor condition, you can even try to negotiate the price with the landlord.

Do remember, it’s against your hard-earned money.

4. Check the paperwork

Although, this needs to go both ways, as a future tenant, you need to make sure that the property being rented to you is really owned by the person renting it/making the agreement.

It is highly important to know who you are renting the property from.

Also, check for any pending bills. If there are any, they have to be paid by the renter before you move in.

Apart from that, you can also ask the landlord for the landlord electrical certificate.

This is a certificate which is issued after proper checkups for electrical leaks and faults in or on a property.

Final words

Finding a home in UK is tough. England is costly as a whole and to sustain every month there are several bills you need to carry.

While getting to know about the moving issues at the time of shifting would result in chaos, we tried to tone things down for you. With this article we tried to talk about the things you should keep in mind before you rent a home in UK.

Complement and Contrast of the Wine and Food Matching

Wines are probably the best drink you can serve with food and there are 2 familiar ways to food matching. One is to do it in such a way as to create a complimentary effect and the second would be to create a contrast effect. The deciding factor in the pairing process is the ‘weight’ of the food and the ‘body’ of the wine.

The various ingredients going into the food like the sauces and spices constitute its weight. It is the alcohol content as well as the dissolved solids and tannins present that determine the body of the wine. A safe or traditional approach would be to match a light dish like poached fish with a delicate white wine. On the other hand if the fish is prepared in a creamy white sauce a full bodied white or even a light red would compliment it.

Experimenting and Discovering Striking Combinations

For a long time, this complimentary approach was followed diligently and it was only during the 80’s that people started experimenting with tastes. Soon food and wine so very diverse from each other were brought together like Sauvignon Blanc with an acidic after taste paired with some fish in creamy lemon sauce. Wine connoisseurs are of the opinion that there’s no need to get hung up on color either; there’s no hard and fast rule that red wine goes only with red meats.

A truly splendid wine that can be used to create a contrasting effect in food matching is the Muscat wine. It is a versatile variety that drinks well with complex and exotic tastes of Indian and Chinese cuisine. Try it with a sweet concoction like a crepe suzette or a pecan pie, ice cream etc. Its compatibility extends to other delicacies like oysters, herrings, and asparagus too. But the best combination would be along with goat cheese.

Cheese is another food item that sits well with wine. Depending upon the kind of cheese used the taste of the wine varies accordingly. Cheddar cheese which is quite hard in texture can soften the tannins in wine and make them lighter. This way, a fuller and fruitier flavor is derived. Another combination is the salty stilton cheese with a sweet port wine which is actually an age old European custom.

Tomatoes which are used as a base in many a cuisine, carry a tannic taste which is difficult to pair with wines. In case the wine chosen carries an equally tannic flavor the result would be overwhelming.  Try a rose wine instead which is bound to sit well. Though contrasting tastes are normally palatable, food matching a dry wine to a sweet dish would be a disaster. Sweet wines on the other hand can take the burning sensation left on the tongues from spicy hot Asian cuisine and in fact bring out the sweetness hidden in such food as in the case of sweet and sour sauces.

 

Acidity, Sweetness, Bitterness & Alcohol in Wine and Food Matching

Food matching can be done by taking into consideration the acidity, sweetness, bitterness and alcohol in a wine. These properties of wines are determined by various factors and when pairing food according to these characteristics of a wine we have to know about these factors.

Wine and food matching is done mainly to achieve a balance between the two and this can be done only if they compliment each other. Basically the wine should highlight the unique flavors and tastes of the food and vice versa. Neither the food nor the wine should overwhelm each other. The following guidelines should help in choosing the right wine for a particular food according to the basic properties:

  1. Acidity: An acidic wine will be most appropriate with a dish that contains lemon, tomatoes or vinegar. A light sweet wine will do for dishes with just a hint of sourness. But really acidic dishes can only be complemented with a heavy and acidic white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or any of the sparkling wines which too are quite acidic. The acid in the wine also reduces the saltiness in food. This makes these wines ideal as accompaniments with fish.
  2. Sweetness:All wines have some sugar in them after fermentation. This is called Residual Sugar and it gives a wine its sweet taste. The percentage of residual sugar varies in different wines. A wine with less sugar is called a Dry wine and those with higher sugar content are the sweet wines. Chenin Blanc and Rieslings are sweet white wines and Port, Sherry, Madeira and Ice Wine are sweet red wines. These wines could not be paired with sweet dishes. The best food to go with sweet wine, are the spicy foie gras or seafood with lots of cream sauces. Asian dishes like Indian curries can also be paired with wines which are moderately sweet.
  3. Bitterness: Tannins from the skins and stems of grapes and the effect of oak barrels are responsible for the bitter taste in a wine. This occurs in some red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Syrah. The food matching these wines helps to negate the bitter taste and include the more salty and sour dishes. Asparagus with its bitter taste and astringency makes an ideal match for bitter wines. Bitter wines with high tannin content are great with steak which has a high protein and fat content.
  4. Alcohol: A wine gets its body and weight from alcohol. A full bodied wine is one which has comparatively high alcohol content. Gewurztraminer is a white wine with high alcohol content which complements rich Asian food with lots of tomatoes and spices and rich pork preparations. Shiraz is a great match very peppery venison and lamb dishes. Foods with heavy cream sauces can also be paired with wines containing more alcohol. Wines with very low alcohol should be paired with light, simply prepared dishes.

To make this wine and food matching procedure effective remember that acid goes with acid and also reduces saltiness, fish and tannin hate each other, sweet likes sweet and alcohol with spice makes sparks fly.

 

A Basic Guide to Matching Wines and Food

Wine and food matching is a recent culinary phenomenon which has almost become an art today. Since ancient times people of different cultures paired local wines with local food. This has gradually evolved into a stage where you will find a specialist called a sommelier in many restaurants who can guide you to select the right wine for the food you order.

Tastes differ from person to person and there cannot be a definite rule for drinking only a particular wine with a particular cuisine. Yet there are certain guidelines of wine and food matching, that have been developed by wine connoisseurs, by following which you can greatly enhance your dining experience.

Food Matching with Sparkling Wine

The basic bubbly texture of light sparkling wines like Champagne makes them ideal matches for a variety of foods. A sparkling wine complements the taste of many cheese varieties like Baby Swiss, European Brie and mild Cheddar cheese.  It also goes very well with all types of salads, seafood appetizers like raw oysters, sushi, foie gras and some mushroom starters.

Wine and food matching reaches great heights when a light sparkling wine like Champagne is served with a light main course—one with no creamy sauces, like a seafood dish of lobsters or shrimps or a light chicken preparation. Light desserts like strawberries are also complemented by Champagne.

Food Matching with White Wines

Experts in the art of food matching suggest a strategy that serves very well in selecting the right wine to complement a certain food. This strategy pairs the wine and food according to their weights. So a light wine will anytime go better with a light dish while for heavy dishes with spices and cream sauces, a heavy wine will be a better combination.

Light white wines like Riesling, unoaked Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Muscat are very good with seafood like lobsters, shrimps or trout. They also complement chicken dishes and veal cooked in light creamy sauces. These wines should be avoided with spicy foods and sweets.

The slightly heavier wines like Pinot Gris are best served with turkey or veal with lots of creamy sauces. Spicy Asian foods, foods with a lot of tomatoes or ginger should ideally be paired with Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, White Burgundy or Oak-aged Chardonnay. These wines also go with pork dishes, foie gras and Swiss cheese but are strictly forbidden with light dishes.

Food Matching with Red Wines

Red wines are normally heavier than white wines but there are some light and medium red wines which complement light foods. Certain varieties of cheese like Brie and Camembert go very well with Burgundy, Cabernet or Beaujolais. A soup can be accompanied by a glass of Merlot, while pasta and noodles should be combined with light red wines like Pinot Noir.

Shiraz is excellent with foods with lots of pepper and combines beautifully with venison and lamb. Hot and spicy Indian food needs a sweet wine like Sherry or any other dessert wine to go with it. Heavily creamed food goes best with wines like Bordeaux. Port wine is best served after dinner and like most red wines combines excellently with chocolate.

These are not conclusive methods of combining wine and food but are merely suggestions to guide you. You can freely try out different combinations and do your own wine and food matching.

 

6 things customers look for in a fine dining restaurant!

A fine dining restaurant is always on every person’s bucket list. Be it a special occasion, or a candle light proposal or to just eat some good food in a good ambience, these restaurants are perfect to go for. They can be best described in two words, elegant and elite. But unlike what most people think, a great restaurant isn’t just made up of good food. There’s a lot more that goes into it.

Along with food, customers seek out ambience, excellent service and an overall high-quality dining experience. The restaurants which provide a fine dining along with top notch customer service are the ones which will be standing strong, even in the long run. And in case you want to visit one of the best restaurants in Bunbury, Best Western Plus promises you the best in hospitality and customer satisfaction. Along with serving good food, they offer you a perfect ambience, in which you can create memories with loved ones over great food and drinks.

Figure out what the customers look for in a perfect restaurant :

Every customer wants to have the time of his life and spend a great evening when they are paying for good food and ambience in a fine dining restaurant. Also, a very important requirement of the customers is that they hate to wait for food. And this issue is practically absent in restaurants which have highly skilled chefs who ensure to get the food piping hot and on time in front of you. And that’s exactly what happens when you visit the Lighthouse hotel in Bunbury.

Expectations interpreted well : Every new customer who enters the restaurant expects a specific kind of service, food, and décor. Whether they have found the place online or heard reviews from someone else, they have a set image in their minds. The restaurant has to ensure that there are no disappointments and they understand the customer’s needs without them saying it out aloud.

2. Remembering customers : It’s very important for the senior and mid-senior staff of the restaurant to remember the loyal and frequently visiting customers. The ones who are coming often, will continue to do so, if you make them feel special. Also, they should aim to remember the preferences of the customer over a time period.

3. Management approach : You have all sorts of people coming to a restaurant starting from kids to couples to oldies. The restaurant should treat all the different clusters with an efficient management approach. Couples should be left alone and not intruded much. While for big groups, they are so engrossed, they often need a dedicated server to take care of everybody’s requirements, both asked and unasked.

4. Menu reading : Whenever customers visit a fine dining restaurant, they want a service where they don’t have to do much. So, the restaurant should have staffs that are well-versed with whatever is on the menu. The server should be able to recommend and describe well the dishes to the customer so that he/she doesn’t have to read the entire menu.

5. Eye contact : It’s very essential that the servers can assess the needs of a customer even when he’s standing far from the table. He should make immediate eye contact with the customer. This will show the level of attentiveness of the staff towards customers and good mannerisms are what customers basically look for.

6. Decent goodbye : You can’t just forget about your customers once they finish their meals. The restaurant staffs need to bid them a decent goodbye and ask them to visit again. The customers should be made to realize that it was a pleasure to host them and the restaurant would love to do so again.

With so many things to look into, some restaurants often miss out on small things, and fail to create an impressive first impact on the customers. With these tips in mind, you as a restaurateur will never fail to provide a perfect dining experience to your customers.

Aioli in authentic Catalan style

Aioli in Catalonia means garlic, olive oil, a pinch of salt, that’s it. Not for nothing, we call it allioli: all-i-oli, meaning garlic-and-oil. Watch the video below, read the step-by-step instructions, and you’ll learn how to make this delicious and colorful homemade sauce in no time

Allioli is an essential sauce of the Mediterranean Catalan cuisine you can add to many dishes and foods, use as a dip with pieces of bread, and as a spread on a bread slice or toast.

Catalan aioli is indispensable with grilled meats, grilled rabbit, and outdoors costellades, which are meals based on lamb chops grilled in an open fire. In a way, costellades are the equivalent of American and Northern European barbecues, so in this sense allioli is a barbecue sauce.

In several fish dishes of the traditional seaside cuisine, you add aioli or broken allioli a moment before the cooking time is over. Typical examples are fish soups or seafood stews like suquet de peix with aioli, or this lamb chop recipe.

You can use allioli to top potatoes, vegetables, steamed mussels… As you can see, aioli has many uses in the Mediterranean Catalan cuisine.

My video focuses on showing the circular movement of the pestle in the mortar in order to bind the garlic and the olive oil that make Catalan allioli. In Catalonia we’ve always made allioli like this, and anyone can learn how to do it.

I make a point of demonstrating it as some people wrongly assert that it’s impossible to bind garlic and oil, so you have no choice but to add eggs. Adding eggs to allioli may distort the taste of a dish, particularly fish. Click play and enjoy the video!

 

Paella recipe with easy-to-find ingredients

This paella recipe is a delicious and accessible version of this famous Valencian dish. Below I show you step-by-step my own way of cooking paella

I am sure it’s one that will please my international gourmet-readers. Besides, the preparation is straightforward enough so as not to scare novice paella cooks.

This paella recipe combines tradition and innovation. It contains seafood, meat and vegetables, but all in moderate amounts.

This is a general rule for cooking paella: Don’t bury the rice in huge amounts of other ingredients. Paella is above all a rice dish.

If you have the conditions to cook this paella recipe outdoors, over an open fire, as it’s done traditionally, that’s great. But if you don’t, don’t give up, please, cook it in your kitchen on a gas burner. Use a gas diffuser if your gas burner is too small.

What you should try to get is a traditional paella pan. They are inexpensive and they will help you a lot to cook a real paella, not just any rice dish. Paella pans are now available online, so it’s easy to buy one, no matter where you live in the world. As a last resort, use the widest and shallowest pan you have.

Enough said. Are you ready for this Mediterranean diet delight?

Ingredients for this paella recipe

Serves 4 as main course

  • 2 cups (400 g) rice ï¿½ use short, round-grain rice
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 ounces (200 g) pork spareribs ï¿½ cut into small serving pieces
  • 7 ounces (200 g) rabbit ï¿½ cut into small serving pieces
  • prawns
  • 4 large shrimps
  • mussels ï¿½ cleaned
  • 7 ounces (200 g) squid ï¿½ cleaned and cut into rings
  • 2 small ripe tomatoes ï¿½ peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 small onion ï¿½ peeled and finely chopped
  • � cup (100 g) sweet peas
  • 8 threads saffron
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • Salt

Paella recipe preparation instructions

Cooking time: about 35 minutes.
Preparation time: about 30 minutes.

  1. Season the spareribs and the rabbit pieces with a little salt.

 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a paella pan. Add the spareribs and the rabbitand brown them. Remove and set aside.

 

  1. Add the prawns and shrimps to the same paella pan, and fry them briefly. Remove and set aside.

 

  1. Add the chopped onion to the same paella pan, fry for a few minutes, and add the chopped tomato. Cook for at least 10 to 12 minutes to allow this sofregit to caramelize. The paella recipe will be more delicious.

 

  1. When the onion and tomato are done, add the squid rings, and fry until they have lost all water.

 

  1. Now, add the rabbit, spareribs, and the sweet peas. Stir in the rice, and distribute evenly over the bottom of the paella pan with a wooden spoon.

 

  1. Add the boiling water, the saffron and salt to taste. Stir briefly. From now on you shouldn’t stir the paella any more, not once. If you feel it’s necessary to prevent sticking, shake the paella pan a little bit.

 

  1. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes over a high flame the first 10 or 12 minutes, and over medium heat the last minutes. The paella should cook until all water has evaporated and the rice is done.

 

  1. About 14 minutes into cooking the rice, add the prawns, shrimps and mussels. Arrange them carefully on top of the rice. Alternatively, add them noe and arrange them later, after removing the paella from heat.

 

  1. Cover the paella pan with 2 or 3 newspaper pages, and let it rest from 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t miss this step. It’s important for the success of this paella recipe. However, don’t wait longer than 10 minutes to eat it.

 

  1. Serve directly from the paella pan.

Suggested Mediterranean recipes and meal ideas

Paella is a rich meal, so my suggestion is to begin with a light appetizer. And as dessert? Well, either you don’t eat any dessert, or you round out this fantastic paella recipe with a delicious dessert dish. After all, paella is a festive meal to be enjoyed over two or three hours with your friends.

 

Asparagus casserole recipe

This asparagus casserole recipe is a little known gem displaying the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean spring. Wild asparagus are exquisite, but it admits green varieties too.

This quick and easy recipe is a brilliant example of the seasonal landscape cuisine that has been naturally kept in the Catalan Countries and across the Mediterranean basin.

Ingredients for this asparagus casserole recipe

Serves 4 as appetizer or side dish

  • 3 bundles asparagus ï¿½ chopped into 2 or 3-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh peas ï¿½ shelled
  • 2-tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized ripe tomatoes ï¿½ peeled and grated
  • 1 big onion ï¿½ finely chopped
  • bay leaves
  • 1-teaspoon flour
  • 1/8-teaspoon salt
  • 2-cups water
  • 4 corns black pepper

For the picada

  • 4 small cloves garlic ï¿½ peeled
  • 4 toasted almonds
  • A piece of toasted bread of about 2 inches
  • 1 small sprig flat Italian parsley ï¿½ leaves finely chopped

How to prepare this asparagus casserole recipe

  1. Cut and discard the hard stem ends of the wild asparagus. Although it varies a lot depending on their origin, you should chop at least 2 inches.

 

  1. Chop the asparagus into 2-inch pieces and steam them for five minutes with the 2 cups of water. Do not discard the remaining water from steaming, set it aside.

 

    • Steaming is the best way to cook asparagus, preferable to boiling as it ensures that the wild asparagus keep the freshness of the landscape where they naturally sprang up.

 

  1. Now it’s time for the sofregit or Catalan tomato sauce. This time cook it uncovered. Heat the olive oil in a casserole and add the onion.Turn heat to low and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the tomato and the bay leaves and stir. Cook 2 more minutes.

 

  1. Add the peas, making sure that the heat is low to prevent burning, and cook for 15 minutes stirring now and then.

 

  1. In the meantime prepare the picada.
    Pound with mortar and pestle, first the garlic, then the almonds and finally the bread and the Italian parsley leaves. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of the asparagus water to dilute and bind the picada.

 

  1. When the peas are tender, add the tablespoon flour and 1 cup of the asparagus water you set aside. Cook 2 more minutes.

 

  1. Add the steamed asparagus, pepper, salt and the picada. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Serve hot.