Monday, May 19, 2008

Barrie's, Everyday Italian

I published the picture of Barrie's Asparagus Farm yesterday. I was fascinated to read, in the article, that they have 35 acres of asparagus and one acre of rhubarb. That's a lot of asparagus. I don't think even I could put much of a dent in that amount. Yesterday's picture also showed the machine they use to pick the asparagus, I had naively assumed they did it by hand. The man in the centre of the picture is their lead hand, Lam Tram. The crate of fresh asparagus shown at the front of the picture makes me drool. I want to reach out and grab some. Apparently the current owner, Tim Barrie, is a third generation asparagus farmer and the farm used to have a contract with Campbell's Soup. I wonder why they don't now, probably not cheap enough any more. The beauty of the asparagus from Barrie's is there is no waste. Most asparagus you buy has to have the ends snapped off, never from the farm. Do you know what's really sad, I don't have any at the moment *g*.

I have been having some problems with one of my cook book programmes which wouldn't open for me after I had wiped my hard drive and re-loaded everything. I had to prove that I had bought the programme in 2005 in order to get help opening it again. However, I have finally done that and now can use it once again. Very frustrating as I had a lot of recipes from Giada de Laurentiis of Everyday Italian which I would have hated to lose. We frequently watch her programmes and I get the recipes from the Internet if it is something I want to keep. She did a super looking cake from Venice the other day, but I refrained because I shouldn't really eat the stuff. A small slice probably wouldn't hurt, but keeping to one small slice, is very difficult to do. Years ago in England I used to make cakes and Matt would come home from work "for tea" and then go back again. We would have some cake, but by the time he came home for supper, there wasn't too much of that cake left. I never did figure what happened to it, but every time I went into the kitchen it seemed to be smaller. Must have been the dogs.

However, you might like to make the cake so here is the recipe:

Almond, Pine Nut, Apricot Crumb Cake
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Show: Everyday Italian
Episode: Venetian Holiday

1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted, plus 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, plus 1/4 cup
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Combine the whole almonds and 1/4 cup pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse the machine until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer the nuts to a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer beat the eggs and the sugar until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. Add the butter, and milk. Stir in the almond extract and apricots. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle the top of the cake with sliced almonds and remaining 1/4 cup pine nuts. Bake until the cake is cooked and a toothpick comes out clean, about 50 to 55 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Use a knife to loosen the edges. Turn the cake out, slice, and serve.

Have a great day.


  1. As first year students at Uni we had to eat rhubarb as punishment. So will therefore know how I feel about it.
    Asparagus, though, that's another story. It's asparagus time here now and I just adore the look of the bunches we can buy now at our open-air markets.

  2. How on earth can anyone feed rhubarb as a punishment. Or did you just look on it as punishment? Where was this Marilyn? In my cookery group, most of us adore the stuff and we have heaps of recipes for it.