While Jason’s favourite vegetable is asparagus mine is artichoke. Preserved artichokes are fine and my old school friend Charlotte makes a lovely dip by blending them with olive oil, lemon juice and grated pecorino. I was spoiled in Rome where I used to live as the Romans love to cook the little violetta artichokes in a variety of ways – the most exotic being the old Jewish method of deep frying an artichoke whole so that it opens out into its full thistly bloom.
Artichokes are a notoriously difficult wine match but work well with a mid-weight, unoaked, aromatic white such as a Northern Rhône Marsanne-Roussanne (like Alain Graillot’s white Crozes Hermitage) or a Corsican Vermentino.
Soft berries are just coming into season and are best served as simply as possible. I love to make a Nigel Slater cheese cake with an almond biscuit base, marscapone topping and sliced strawberries laid on top. If there are any it’s nice to add some of the wild strawberries that grow like weeds in our community garden. A sweet (but not tooth achingly so) Vouvray or Jurançon Mœlleux will lift and compliment this deceptively easy dish.
By: Pippa Goldfinger