Spring and Summer Specialty

Spring and Summer Specialty

Garlic Focaccia with Asparagus, Chilli Hummus and Poached Eggs

By Leah Itsines


2 soft poached eggs
3 asparagus spears, trimmed
1 piece of Turkish bread, toasted
3 tbsp. spicy hummus
1 tbsp. spicy dukkha
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp. olive oil

TIP #1: The asparagus tastes amazing raw, but you can cook it too! Once peeled, pan fry it with a small amount of olive oil and salt for 3 minutes (no need for longer as the strips are so thin!)
TIP #2: If you want to make your own spicy hummus place the below ingredients into a food processor and BLEND!
Makes 2-3 cups: 2 cans of chickpeas (800g soaked), 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, ½ cup olive oil (more if needed), small handful of coriander (optional), sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Pre-heat grill to high.
Cut Turkish bread in half horizontally.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together the garlic and olive oil. Using a basting brush, brush the Turkish bread with the mixture and place under the grill. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!
Heat a small saucepan of water until it begins to simmer. Use a spoon to create a whirlpool in the water and carefully crack the eggs into the centre of the whirlpool.
Turn the heat right down and let this sit for 3-4 minutes for a soft egg or 6-8 for a hard poached egg.
While the eggs are poaching, grab the asparagus and a peeler! Peel the asparagus into super thin strips.
On a serving plate, layer the toasted garlic bread with hummus, peeled asparagus and the poached eggs. Sprinkle the spicy dukkha over the top and enjoy!  


Springing Into Season: Australian Asparagus

Nothing says spring like the sight of luscious Australian-grown asparagus on supermarket shelves. With ideal growing conditions and increased plantings, asparagus lovers are in luck – the season has officially kicked off and it's on track to be the biggest crop on record. When it comes to choosing your bunch, Australian asparagus grower and President of the Australian Asparagus Council, James Terry shares his advice for ensuring you pick the most crisp, moist and juicy spears.

'Look for firm, bright and smooth spears that are uniform in size with closed, compact tips. And, to keep them fresher for longer, store them similar to fresh cut flowers. Stand the spears upright in a container with 1cm of cold water, cover and place in the fridge," said Mr Terry.

Not only delicious, the vegetable also packs a nutritional punch says Accredited Practising Dietitian Glenn Cardwell.

'Being a versatile vegetable, there are many ways to easily boost your nutrition by adding asparagus to your everyday meals. Simply cook on the BBQ, toss it through a stirfry, roast in the oven, blanch, steam or boil. Eaten raw or cooked, it is also a tasty addition to soups, salads, pastas, pizza, wraps and dips."

Health tips from Accredited Practising Dietitian, Glenn Cardwell:

Energise yourself: Asparagus is a good source of B vitamins, which help the body convert fuel from your diet (such as carbohydrates) to energy. They'll keep you active and feeling energised. Vitamin B6 also helps you metabolise foods.
Grow like a pro: Asparagus provides 20 per cent of our daily folate needs. Folate is important for normal cell division and tissue formation. Folate consumption is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke as it helps maintain healthy levels of homocysteine.
Fighting fit: Vitamin C isn't just found in fruits! One serve of asparagus provides a quarter of our daily needs of vitamin C, which helps protect our cells from damage and strengthen immunity. It also helps the body absorb iron.
Help your heart: Asparagus contains potassium, which is essential for a steady heartbeat and healthy blood pressure. Potassium helps restore a fluid balance in the body.
Blood boost: Asparagus is a source of iron, which assists the body to pump oxygen around the body.
Anti-inflammatory powers: Asparagus contains rutin, which reduces oxidative damage and helps your skin stay healthy.
Goodness from the roots to the tips: The tips of spears contain the most rutin, while the stem of the spear has higher levels of protodioscin.
Stress less: Asparagus has one of the highest glutathione levels of any vegetable and far more than common fruits. Glutathione plays a big role in our cells antioxidant systems and helps protect them from oxidative stress.
No weight worries: Asparagus is low in kilojoules, without fat or cholesterol. It's also a source of fibre, which is great for digestive health.
Did you know? On the third spring after planting, the vegetable will rapidly grow the edible spear that we eat, one to two cm per hour! All Aussie spears are harvested by hand in the early morning when they are the perfect length and packed that day to hit shelves as soon as possible.