Spring September 2021 TVO

I can smell jasmine, Jacaranda’s are on the way after these are frangipani.

As an adult, I look forward to the seasons changing for flowers as well as fruit & vegetables

Stone Fruit is on the way, snack-sized plums are ready along with strawberries jam-packed with flavour. Spring means getting salady, more fresh greens, and crunchy textures.

I’d love you to try this easy spinach salad and surprise yourself.

Strawberries go very well with fresh cheese, goats cheese, crumbled feta, ricotta & mozzarella, so choose your favourite.

For 4 as a side salad or 2 as a meal, you’ll need,

300 grams of fresh spinach leaves, rinsed and gently dried

200 grams of soft fresh white cheese crumbled.

1 bunch of fresh mint leaves, picked off the stem

250 grams of sliced strawberries

50 ml of balsamic vinegar or warmed honey

100 grams of toasted chopped hazelnuts

Freshly ground black pepper.

Layer the ingredients on a platter as listed. I don’t think it needs salt, or oil, but each to their own.

Plums go really well with cheese, remember deep fried camembert with spicy plum sauce in 1986? I do.

The easiest upgrade would be to add fresh sliced plums to a cheese platter.

If you have perfected your focaccia over winter, here’s a bright spring upgrade.

Plum, Gorgonzola & Pancetta Bread


2 1/ 2 cups plain flour

1 packet instant yeast (7.5 grams)

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil


100 grams thinly sliced pancetta

4 plums, pitted and cut into wedges

125 grams blue cheese, coarsely crumbled

A sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

Olive oil, as needed

Flaked sea salt, to taste

Black peppercorns, freshly ground, to taste

Crushed Chilli Flakes (optional)

A handful of fresh rocket


To make the dough, add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until smooth ball forms. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450˚F. Place pancetta on a baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes, shake a couple of times, or until mostly cooked through. Keep the fat!

Once the dough has rested, stretch it into a rectangle on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and crushed chili flakes if using. Press the seasonings in with your fingers to really get it into the dough. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden brown.

Remove dough from the oven and top with pancetta & the juices, plums, and blue cheese. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes or until the pancetta is very crispy.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Top with roughly chopped rocket and serve.

Loves a sunset and a Pinot Grigio or Pale Ale.