Petersham Nurseries

Asparagus love

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In May this year, following a memorable visit to London’s Chelsea Flower Show,  RHS Wisley, Hidcote, Daylesford and various theatre and gallery outings, we had lunch at Petersham Nurseries .  It was impressive – simple, seasonal, perfectly prepared and presented.  Paul and I ordered the asparagus starter – served simply with boiled eggs, a capsicum and chilli coulis and sprinkled with edibles.  So fresh and full of flavour … truly delicious.  Inspired, I came home and planted more asparagus in the garden.  You have to wait for a few years to get a good crop, but once established your crowns will deliver daily  delights each Spring for 20 years or more.  There is nothing like the taste of those spears cut early in the morning and poached quickly for the breakfast plate.  Just add butter.  Don’t mess around with asparagus … it’s paradise just on its own if picked fresh.  And then overnight, as if by magic, up they come again, little lovely fat spears waiting to be cut again the following day.  I’ll never forget one year at Country Trader‘s very swanky Christmas party there were giant bowls of asparagus in the most extravagant display I’d ever seen … voluminous bunches accompanied by Hollandaise sauce. Dip, sip, dip, sip.  Bollinger Champagne and fresh, warm asparagus … heaven!

So whether you’re growing your own or buying from the local Farmers Markets here’s what goes well with asparagus, as advised in Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion:

artichokes
bacon
breadcrumbs
butter
capers
chervil
chives
cream
eggs
gruyere cheese
ham
light soy sauce
mushrooms
mustard
olive oil
oranges
parmesan cheese
parsley
potatoes
raclette cheese
sesame oil
smoked salmon
spinach
tarragon
walnuts
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Petersham Nurseries visit

I visited London last May to attend the Chelsea Flower Show which was, as always amazing … but for me, an even more enjoyable highlight of this visit was a trip to Petersham Nurseries.  It had long been on my list to visit and I was keen to try the restaurant made famous by Australian chef Skye Gyngell.  As it turned out Skye had recently left and another Aussie girl was heading up the kitchen.  The food was sensational and the atmosphere of this unique venue is uplifting and inspiring.  These lovely old glass buildings have been converted into restaurant (still with dirt floor), chic cafe, gift shop and nursery.  It’s gorgeous.  Completely stunning.  Be sure to add it to your list when next you’re in London.   It’s not a garden persay, but so lavish in gardenalia it’s a must see for gardening enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates really clever retail and creative merchandising.

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