If I ever have cause to throw a big party with all my loved ones, one which involves flowers and champagne and beautiful food, it will undoubtedly be when asparagus and peonies are in season.
I spent Saturday morning helping a friend sell peonies from Martinborough at the Hill St Farmers' Market in Thorndon. They are joy in flower form!
I love a good market on a weekend morning - luckily my head wasn't too hazy from the woodfired pizzas and red wine and goss-swap catch ups with a gaggle of delightful ladies from the night before. Saturday morning the sun was shining, the coffee was great and the market was buzzing. These flowers seem to just make everybody happy - from the lady buying 10 to the young guy buying 'just the one'. Their amazing coral colour is currently dotted all around my house, which makes me very happy indeed, especially since they're only available for about 6 weeks.
For dinner on Saturday night it was my other seasonal favourite in the form of a very simple asparagus pasta. Cooking for one I was extremely lazy in its execution, but it was delicious - cook some spaghetti in some salted boiling water and grill some asparagus with olive oil while the pasta cooks. If your spears are thin, leave them as is, but if they are thick slice them into thin strips longways. Drain pasta, mix through the asparagus. Put on a plate, and grate over some parmesan, some lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of chilli flakes, or a drizzle of good chilli-infused olive oil, and some cracked pepper and salt.
Lazy plate of pasta for one, but a very tasty accompaniment to the fireworks. A quiet night in meant I was up early and fresh faced on Sunday morning for fresh bagel making...but more about that shortly!