Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Labour of the month: March

My Labour of the Month for PPPs in March is a ritual that for me marks the beginning of Spring and the season when I can walk out into the garden and harvest ingredients for lunch; and what's even nicer is that these ingredients reappear each year without any hard labour on my part.

Picking Hop Shoots
For a lunch-time omelette served with
a chive and bitter-cress side salad.

An established hop plant will send up
an abundant quantity of new shoots;
leave 5 or 6 strong shoots to grow up
the pole or support and snip off the others.

– don't waste them! they are as prized
as the first cut of English Asparagus;
the flavour of hop shoots isn't strong
but they have a slightly astringent bitterness
which is pleasantly refreshing.

Fresh green chives make pretty edging to
the vegetable beds – and there's more than
enough to use in the kitchen every day.

Here's a pesky little weed – Hairy Bitter-Cress,
pull it out before it fires its seeds all over the plot!
However it's not all bad, those young green leaves have
a great peppery kick to them, so they make a
lovely side salad to wake up the taste-buds.

Fry some sliced mushrooms;
add the washed hop-shoots to the pan
and cover until they wilt;
pour in lightly beaten eggs;
gently cook and stir until the egg sets.

Sprinkle with crumbled Wensleydale cheese,
season with ground mixed pepper and
finish off under a hot grill.

Wash the Bitter-Cress and chop the chives,
mingle them together.

When the top of the omelette is browned and bubbling
serve with the salad and some wholemeal bread.



  1. Stop posting like this or I shall be coming to you for lunch !

  2. That looks delicious, and I had no idea you could use hops like this! Beautiful post. Keep 'em coming!

  3. i didn't know that about hops shoots! that is so cool. i can't wait to try some later this spring.

  4. All that's missing is a photo of you collecting the eggs :) Hops is one plant totally off my radar!

  5. That looks yummy. I didn't know about hop shoots and my neighbour's hop throws loads of shoots up my garden - I shall definitely try this.

  6. Delicious!

    I knew that warm weather was too good to last!!


  7. Ah! Hops...how I miss them.
    If this hammering rain has not washed away my chives I'll slosh out and snip some for our pancetta-egg breakfast...

  8. Looks amazing! I always use dandelion greens as my first Spring veg - but hop shoots looks good too!

  9. divine Celia!... a garden omlin is the best thing in the world... and double so for you as the eggs come from the garden too!... nice work my friend!

  10. Eating bitter cress seems like the perfect revenge given its rampant self seeding habits. Will have to try it. I'm now feeling very hungry...

  11. crikey I've got all these ingredients in abundance - why haven't I been eating them before?!

  12. Oh Celia that looks delish! are the eggs yours as well? (or the Undergardeners should I say?)

  13. Hi Frances - you may come to lunch if you give me one your hats!

    Welcome to PPPs DtheS and Emily - do try hop-shoots, but be quick they'll soon be too tough!

    Hi Terry - Nutmeg was making such a fuss in the nest box the photo-shoot was aborted!

    Hi Su - don't waste those hop-shoots, they're full of nutrients!

    Hi Jeanne - we have to enjoy the sunny intervals!

    Hi Moreidlethoughts - that breakfast sounds delicious!

    Welcome to PPPs Gumboot Goddess - dandelion greens sound great too.

    Thank you Dom!

    Hi Janet - you may as well get something back from the nasty little Bitter-cress!

    Hi Chrissie - go for it!

    Thanks Carrie :-)

    Hi Maria - yes fresh eggs from the under-gardeners and Spice Girls (tried to get a photo but Nutmeg was laying and made such a fuss when I opened the door and Tarragon was getting protective... decided to leave them too it!)



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