Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Cottage Cooking Club…Asparagus Pizza…and Arugula, Fennel and Lentil Salad

Join us! 

Awhile back (I think is was March), Andrea at The Kitchen Lioness asked our French Fridays group, to join her in cooking through River Cottage VEG, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.  He is a well-known British chef, TV personality and food writer. I wanted to join the group, mostly because I have such a fondness for Andrea, and wanted to support her in this endeavor. She is sweet, thoughtful and writes a terrific blog. I also thought it would be great to incorporate more veggies into our diet! 
I signed up for the group, and went immediately to Amazon to order the book. That was way back in March. I waited about two weeks, and decided to check the status of my book.  At that point, I realized the book was coming from the U.K. Ok…no big deal!  It should be here soon. We weren’t starting the cooking until May, so I had plenty of time, right? 

Arugula, Fennel and Lentil Salad
Days came and went and still no book! I decided to send the seller a note. She asked me to hang in there, assured me it had been shipped, and should arrive "any day now". That was about three weeks ago. I finally canceled the book from that seller, and ordered another one from a seller in the U.S. It should be here this week, however not in time for this post. I was quite fortunate to have one of my blogger friends send me the recipe for Asparagus Pizza. Thank you, Mary!

 Just plain delectable 
Quite a few of the recipes that were picked for our first month, have been published and are available online.  I found a wonderful recipe for Arugula, Fennel and Lentil salad while searching.  I adore lentils and this sounded incredibly delicious to me.  Once the lentils are cooked, you could enjoy this salad for several days.  That’s what I did!  The dressing is a very simple mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon mustard…soooo good! A handful of arugula, some chopped fennel and the lentils. A wonderful lunch or side! I even added some avocado to the mix. I loved it!  

The Pizza is quite easy, whether you opt to make your own dough, or buy it from the store. My grocery sells fresh pizza dough that is not frozen. Sometimes I opt for the easy way out! If you have the time, home made dough is a wonderful option! Once the dough is made, it takes little time to put together this amazing pizza! Caramelize the onions, sprinkle them onto the rolled out crust, and layer on the asparagus and cheeses. Pop it into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes! This was an extraordinary pizza! I’m looking forward to making it for my friends!  My hubby does not do asparagus, so this one was all mine. I had a piece for lunch today! Delicious!

I’m looking forward to receiving my new book, browsing all the wonderful recipes, and checking out some great new ways to serve my veggies! Whether it will be salads, pies or pizza; I think this book will be a winner in my house. So why not go over to Andrea’s blog and check out some of the other recipes? Think about buying the book and joining us at  "The Cottage Cooking Club”!!  

Asparagus Pizza…so good!

OMGosh the caramelized onions…heavenly!
I ate this salad three days in a row and each time enjoyed it more!! 


 Arugula, Fennel, and Green Lentil Salad from 'River Cottage Veg'
2/3 cup (125g) French green lentils
1 bay leaf
1/2 small onion
A few parsley stems (optional)
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
2 to 3 ounces (75g arugula) or arugula mixed with a few other peppery leaves such as mizuna
For the dressing:

1/2 cup (120ml) canola or 
olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
A pinch of sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Put the lentils in a saucepan and add plenty of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for a minute only, then drain. Return the lentils to the pan and pour in just enough water to cover them. Add the bay leaf, onion, and parsley stems, if using. Bring back to a very gentle simmer and cook slowly for about half an hour, until tender but not mushy.

Meanwhile, to make the dressing, put the oil, lemon juice, mustard, lemon zest, and sugar in a screw-topped jar, season with salt and pepper, and shake until emulsified.

When the lentils are done, drain them well and discard the herbs and onion. While still warm, combine with a good half of the dressing. Leave until cool, then taste and adjust the seasoning; you could add a little more salt, sugar, pepper, or lemon juice if needed.

Trim the fennel, removing the tough outer layer (unless the fennel is young and very fresh). Halve the bulb(s) vertically, then slice as thinly as you can, tip to base. 
Divide about two-thirds of the lentils among wide serving bowls. Scatter over the arugula and fennel and trickle over the rest of the dressing. Scatter the remaining lentils over the top and serve.                                 

Asparagus Pizza 
Recipe from River Cottage Veg by the author Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Makes 3 pizzas, each serving 2 or 3

1 recipe of magic bread dough or you could buy pizza dough already made
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a little extra to trickle                                                                                                     2 onions halved & thinly sliced                                                                                                                     Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 12 ounces slender asparagus spears, trimmed
2 balls of mozzarella (about 4 ounces each)
A little grated Parmesan, hard goat cheese, or other well-flavored hard cheese
Prepare the dough, leave it to rise, then punch it down according to the magic bread dough recipe.
Preheat the oven to 500°F, if it goes that high, or to at least 425°F. Put in a baking sheet to heat up.
While the dough is rising, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the onions. Once sizzling, decrease the heat to low and cook gently, stirring from time to time, until the onions are soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
After punching down the risen dough, leave it to rest for a few minutes, then cut it into three. Roll out one piece as thinly as you can.
Scatter a baking peel ( if you have one) or another baking sheet with a little flour and place the rolled out dough on it. Spread one-third of the onions over the dough, then arrange one-third of the asparagus over the top. Tear up the mozzarella and distribute one-third of  it over the asparagus. Scatter over a little grated cheese, some salt and pepper, and add a generous trickle of oil.
Slide the pizza onto the hot baking sheet in the oven if formed on a peel, or, if formed on a baking sheet, simply lay the baking sheet on the hot one in the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crust is crisp, the edges browned, and the asparagus tender. Repeat with the remaining dough and topping. Serve hot, cut into slices or wedges.


  1. Beautiful post Mary and that pizza looks so scrumptious!

  2. Both your salad and that pizza look just wonderful Kathy. The pictures of the pizza are so enticing!

  3. What nice this Cottage Cooking Club Kathy and I love the salad and the pizza!!

  4. These were two of my favourites from the ones I made for this month. Just looking at your photos is making me want to make them again!

  5. Gorgeous photos Kathy! Everything looks fabulous. I loved the magic dough, and the pizza was scrumptious.

  6. Oh my! Your photos of that pizza are amazing!! Then again, so do those of the salad. I'm with you, I love making lentils and then composing salads over several days. I didn't get to this one - yet!

    I thought this was a lot of fun.

  7. Both salad and pizza are fantastic, Kathy, esp. that need to bake this ASAP!

  8. Dear Kathy, now this is one fabulous, delicious, pretty looking Asparagus Pizza! I am so glad that you were so happy with this recipe - isn´t it simply fabulous?! Love, love your pictures! And the Lentil Salad looks fantastic too - I have tried a different lentil salad recipe from the book and was completely taken with it as well, it is in the fall lineup for the CCC. Thank you also for your wonderful comments about my blog, I truly appreciate your support and absolutely adore cooking along with you!
    Thank you, again, for your wonderful post and for joining us!

  9. I just got this cookbook and haven't cooked anything out of it yet, but you've got me all excited to start! That pizza looks amazing.

  10. Lovely photos Kathy. I agree with you, that the pizza was fabulous! My favorite so far. I am going to have to make the salad soon, everyone else that made this, has enjoyed it. And I do love arugula.

  11. This pizza looks so good, I have never used arugula before! I am all in for this delicious dish :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Both of those recipes look wonderful. I do love both veggies. Lentils are perfect with salad and the pizza looks great.
    Have a beautiful weekend. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  13. Kathy - it is so much fun to see what others are making form the book. I have to say your pizza looks better than Hugh's! :) I look forward to all the future CCC posts! ~ David

  14. What a wonderful meal! And, how fun to join a new group. I love your asparagus pizza and will have to try it as John & I often have pizza for dinner on Friday nights.

  15. Hum! That pizza looks very tempting Kathy.

  16. Oh, Kathy, your book saga is too funny (not to you, I am sure). I ordered this book long ago when Andrea first started cooking from it and had quite the time figuring out what to otder. It's confusing. I'm so glad that she finally made the on-line group a reality because I hadn't cooked a thing from it until this month. I LOVED the pizza as did the front-office staff here at The Gant. I took it down to them piping hot and cut into squares and it was inhaled. Many of you made the arugula, fennel and green lentil salad to rave reviews. I'll have to make it this Summer. On to June...... Andrea has posted the recipe choices. This is fun, isn't it?

  17. What beautiful dishes. Here it is lunch time and the salad is staring me in the face. What do I do now?

  18. Pizza is my weak spot. I can eat the whole thing, especially if it is as perfectly made as this one!

  19. These look delicious Kathy! I may have to think about joining up, especially with summer veggies season coming. I have always thought about doing an online cooking group...

  20. Kathy, the salad looks so tempting, healthy, and delicious, and the pizza is amazing. The dough is superb; checked out the dough recipe and saving it. I adore the beautiful asparagus topping, which I want to make real soon!

  21. I hope your book finally arrived! Mine came pretty quickly but I accidentally ordered the one with metric measurements. Oh well. I still think it's going to be a winner. You hit both ends of the spectrum--really healthy and less healthy--but both recipes were great. I'm glad you enjoyed them.