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March Cottage Cooking Club, Bruschetta with Broad Beans and Asparagus


Welcome to our March gathering Cooking Along with the Cottage Cooking Club, a place where our online international cooking group monthly prepares foods from the cookbook: River Cottage veg everyday! by author and British TV cooking entertainer, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall.


At the close of February our group had collectively reached the 100 recipe mark preparing dishes over the past eleven months from this vegetable centric cookbook, and as you might imagine, that’s a heck of a lot of vegetables! To celebrate this special occasion, our fearless leader, Andrea at The Kitchen Lioness, Notes from a very small German Kitchen sent unique boxed gifts, specially delivered from Bonn, Germany to each of our members. I was so excited and just so loved and appreciated each of the special items contained within. As another special treat in the month, Andrea also announced that March would be our “make-up” month meaning that in March we could choose to prepare any recipes from among those over this past ten months that perhaps we had not had a chance to give a try on any given month.


So I set to it, Bruschetta with broad beans and asparagus. However, with no fresh broad beans available at the market, these delicious bites were prepared simply using the other called for recipe ingredients: asparagus, scallions, and goat cheese. Delicious. With a quick text to my next door neighbor to open her garage door, this little board of colorful tasty appetizers made a nice little delivery surprise. The tasty bites were a hit among all.

Be-bopping along in the Bruschetta preparation, I then began thinking on the dish selections earlier contemplated for the month. What had I decided? Well it was anyone’s surprise on that count, for it was then that I realized in the midst of taking care of and preparing food for so many people over the past six weeks that I had literally forgotten to write in on our monthly CCC list-up, oops. Well, even that wasn’t as bad as the lovely 50th birthday card I sent to my youngest sister in Florida last week- including an expressed tender sentiment, and forgot to sign my name! OMG. I so need a break.


So after a call from the little sis, and her further inquiry on my earlier promised visit to Florida since the first try got a bit triangulated, I set to checking the calendar on open dates, easily readjusted dates, how could Easter come upon us so quickly this year?  There is no easy magic on this one, but there is on another of this months River Cottage veg selections called the Magic Bread dough. This time around, formed and fried up as flat breads, this dough also has the magical properties of serving as pizza dough, pita bread, white bread, bread sticks, or soft bread rolls. Fundamentally, this makes me give thought to the miracle of bread and its place in history, flour, water, salt, yeast, in this case a bit of oil.


The image of the Magic Dough in it’s flatbread form took me back to a place in time, perhaps instilling a bit of homesick sentimentality for those years I lived in Arizona. The dough giving a similar appearance though puffy versions prepared by the Native American women throughout the state from Indian reservations to many daily local venues. With this thought in mind, when preparing the Refried Beans Foldover, rather than cannellini beans, I chose small pink beans, smashing at least half of the mixture during cooking to sort of resemble a more AZ-Mex version of re-fried beans. The combination with jalapenos, red onions, cheese, tomatoes, and avocado provided a simple but big comfort.


I kind of felt as if I were cheating by preparing the White beans with artichokes mainly because this combination is one I have presented  out of my own kitchen for many years, in warmer months setting out antipasta trays or large salads topped with these both ingredients. The variation of preparation was in warming the beans and artichokes, for otherwise I always serve these room temperature, separately seasoned beforehand with olive oil, salt, pepper, and additional chopped garlic and parsley in the beans. Hugh’s version was really tasty, assuring us that same as in all things, it never hurts to keep an open mind, try something new, and explore, so I am pleased I did so.


Speaking of keeping an open mind, I wasn’t sure the Spring onion galette was going to be a fav of mine among the River Cottage veg recipes, and after giving it a try, it wasn’t. Being a scallion/small green onion lover and constantly using this ingredient in everything from Tex- Mex chopped, to Asian dishes sliced lengthwise, one question I pondered was the scallion standing alone on the puff pastry, well, along with some shredded cheese.While the lovely cookbook photo displays fuller pieces of finished whole bright green scallions, I couldn’t wrap my brain around the needed cutting once baked, and perhaps a stronger intensity of flavor in its just picked state. On the flip side, I’m still in awe of February’s Store- Cupboard Suppers selection: Cheesey peasy puff turnover also using puff pastry, and the brilliance of using peas and cheese in its combination. To date I’ve prepared the ‘peasy puff’ at least a half dozen times, giving it a special status of hardly any recipe, ever. But alas when it comes to the galette, though preferring other ingredient versions than the scallion, I’m still happy to have given it a try.

First Photos 084

In concluding March, and our make-up selections from the cookbook River Cottage veg everyday, I extend a big thanks and shout out of appreciation to our talented, and  fearless leader, Andrea, of The Kitchen Lioness for all of her hard work and thoughtfulness in monthly coordinating the many details involved,  and for her generous spirit that insures each of our group members to have a lot of fun while developing friendships at this unique shared table.

Wishing Happy Spring and a Blessed Easter or Passover to all those in the group and their families as we share this month’s selection. Big Hugs to all and I’m looking forward to seeing you again in April. To see what our Cottage Cooking Club members have prepared this month click here.

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  1. Candy
    Posted March 28, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    All of your dishes look delicious!! Since I actually DO still live in AZ, I did skip the bean foldover – though yours with the fresh ingredients sounds really good. I happen to love the spring onion tart, and am with you on the cheesy peasey turnover! Everything you made looks so good! Happy that you enjoyed your recipes!

    • Posted March 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      Hi Candy, I didn’t know you lived in Arizona, I’ll have to check with you on what city you live in. The bean foldover made me want to hop a plane to one of my most special places in the world, San Xavier del Bac in Tuscon, have you been to this mission church on the Indian reservation? I visited and lit candles there before each of my children came from Korea. I love the Indian women’s grilled breads, both stuffed and with honey. Thanks for stopping by, had lunch with friends today, and a birthday party this evening so I’ll be checking in on all the posts shortly. See you soon!

  2. Mary Hirsch
    Posted March 28, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Mary Hirsch · Iowa State University
    What a nice Post. Interestingly, I have made the Refried Beans Turnovers and loved, loved, loved. Sorta a different take on things I make. Then the White beans with artichokes, did that also. Since making them, I always keep the ingredients in the pantry. That was a winner for me. Now, in defense of the Spring Onion Galette. I really liked this and it was a gorgeous presentation. My onions were a big bigger (in the Co-Op Box from Talley Farms) and just pulled (dirt on them) so maybe that made the difference. I also would leave less green than I did. Two inches is the magic number (I left more.) Please go back and try again because it’s really a nice and easy lunch or snack. As for the Magic Dough. What is wrong with me. I have tried that in High Altitude. A Fail. I tried it here in California, a Fail. Getting a little paranoid because all of you are having successes with it. CCC and The Lioness are simply the best, right.

    • Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Hi Mary, Thank you. Seems we are agreed on the refried beans turnover, and in my case, that transformed Arizona- southwestern style using the pink beans made it a real comfort dish, everyone in my family loved it too, all gone. Your co-op onions from Talley Farms sound lovely and with good fresh flavor, perhaps a perfect match for the galette, and agreed, the presentation is quite pretty complementing well the background of puff pastry and cheese. I’m not sure anything is wrong with your process in the Magic Bread Dough, as Zosia seems to have had the same challenge. As I mentioned to her, though the rolling did cause the dough to spring back, I took the dough as it was, simply another type of dough preparation, it did grill/fry well on my cast iron skillet, providing a good dough flavor for its purposes. My question of thought is if a thinner dough for pizza or pita bread might be accomplished running the dough through a pasta machine. Either way I’ve not yet decided if I shall prepare another pizza dough recipe I use when preparing from the wonderful combination of ingredients on the Pizza recipes that River Cottage veg offers. Loved the photos of your family and the vegetarian story! See you in April and Happy Spring!

  3. Posted March 29, 2015 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    What a delicious array of food! You’ve reminded me of some of the recipes I need to revisit. The asparagus bruschetta looks so beautiful and vibrant and I remember loving the white bean and artichoke salad – so simple but so flavourful. Hugh seems to have a knack for taking what seems to be a basic recipe and adding a little twist to it to make it special.
    zosia recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – March 2015My Profile

    • Posted March 29, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Hi Zosia,Thanks so much. The asparagus bruschetta was very delicious, and though I prepared it without the broad beans, these not being available, with asparagus season coming into swing I may prepare this the same way again, given it went over quite well as such. Yes the white bean and artichoke salad was lovely and Hugh does have a real knack for adding interesting twists between simple ingredients, really in every given category. Another great month on the Cottage Cooking Club. Happy Spring to you and see you soon!

  4. Posted March 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, great selection of recipes. I’ve made the cheesy peasey turnover several times myself, one of my favorites out of Hugh’s cookbook so far. Your pics and presentation are beautiful, hard to believe we are already halfway through. Have a great week!
    cheri recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club March Three RecipesMy Profile

    • Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cheri, I just got off your site jumping on as it popped into my inbox! Oh that cheesy peasy turnover just seems to be a fav among us all! I know it’s hard to believe we are already halfway through the cookbook, but I was taking some time out going through River Cottage veg everyday and we actually still have plenty ahead to keep us busy preparing, tasting, and testing. It has been quite a lot of fun. Wishing you a Happy Spring, see you in April!

  5. Posted March 29, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Love Bruschetta! Here in NYC there are so many places that serve it and make it differently. This version with asparagus looks delish! Can’t wait for real Spring to get here!
    Phil recently posted…Snow, Selfies, Fires, Sniffing Glue – Another Week in NYC!My Profile

    • Posted March 29, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Phil, I love bruschetta too, one of the world’s great creations, it does have so many possibilities in variations with ingredients, still love the classic tomato version during the summer months too. If you like asparagus, you would much enjoy this version. Loved your latest snow, selfies.. etc. post, great points. See you soon, and here’s to warmer spring days ahead…very shortly!

  6. Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    The onion galette is my favorite. I don’t like green beans at all. But the asparagus component of the bruschetta sounds great! I’m guessing I might use a crushed spring pea as a “sauce” with the asparagus as texture. Nevertheless. everything looks great! I still think it’s such a fun project. Hope your days are becoming less intense. Have a great week, Peggy!
    Kelly recently posted…Best Loaded Veggie Soup EverMy Profile

    • Posted March 30, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, how about that on the onion galette? A lot of the group are with you on that one too and it cannot be more simple topping off with the cheese on the puff pastry and baking. I love any type of green beans but certainly did not miss them in this bruschetta, blanched asparagus stirred through with lightly sauteed scallions, the ‘binding’ is actually tumbling the goat cheese bits into the mixture and warming it slightly, stirring together just before the finish and it does a pretty good job keeping things on top the baguette slices (well, a few pieces falling off when biting in- but not too bad.) The Cottage Cooking Club is such a fun project and as always, so wish you would join us! It was a lovely weekend and seeing friends, a bit of shopping yesterday too, making life seem so much easier, thanks so much for your kind thoughtfulness. Have a good week you too as the final days of your graduate classes wrap up! I’ll be thinking of you, Good Luck and Hugs. See you soon

  7. Posted March 29, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Because I never seem to make ALL the recipes I want to, I enjoy hearing about them vicariously from the other CCC members. The bruschetta with asparagus looks wonderful. And your mention of the easy-peasy turnovers reminds me that I must make those too. As always, it’s fun to check in on what you’re making. We have such a lovely group of bloggers working on this project.
    Betsy recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club: MarchMy Profile

    • Posted March 30, 2015 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      Hi Betsy, I know what you mean about vicariously hearing about some of the recipes that one never seems to find time to prepare in our monthly CCC. There are many choices though and I think you, and all of the group do a terrific job tackling most of them- even collectively. Please do make the easy peasy- you can make it like a snack or a meal, it is very quick and versatile! We are having terrific weather in Philly area today, sunny and 55- the wing is howling like a banchee- but I’ll take it- hope you are beginning to get a couple of days like this too, it’s heading our way! Happy Spring and see you soon.

  8. Posted March 30, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    delicious eats!
    Kelsey @ Snacking Sq recently posted…Protein Shakes and Chocolate MuffinsMy Profile

    • Posted March 30, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelsey, thanks so much. River Cottage veg everyday! is a terrific cookbook for all sorts of vegetarian and just plain fresh vegetable combinations!

  9. Posted March 30, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    All your dishes look scrumptious! I really enjoyed the easy peasy turnover – and the green onion galette looks wonderful – though it may not have been a hit with you, I think I would like to give it a go. I like your idea of running the dough for the foldover through a pasta machine; I wish I had thought of that. I had such a hard time with that dough for this recipe. Have a beautiful week ahead!

    • Posted March 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Cathleen, great recipe selections among all this month though I’m feeling a little pressure on maybe having to give the spring onion galette a second grow around. Can I bear it, lol?! So maybe the magic dough can use a little twirl through the pasta machine, we shall see if we have time to go back on that one. Have a great week and Happy Spring!

  10. Posted April 2, 2015 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    What a great post and you made some fantastic selections this month. It’s been so wonderful working through the book with all of you and Andrea has made the experience very special. I hope you have a lovely holiday weekend!
    Teresa recently posted…Vegan Easter Dinner with a Ricardo Cuisine RecipeMy Profile

    • Posted April 6, 2015 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi Teresa, thank you so much. It was a lovely holiday weekend and I saw you prepared a lovely fingerling potato and fennel dish as part of your holiday meal. I have been wondering where you were on the Cottage Cooking Club and am happy to see (well not happy you lost your book during some home repair work) but happy you have now resumed. The stir fry was quite good and I do like Chinese five spice. I was also wondering why there was no option for commenting on your CCC page and so was happy to drop a line on your vegan dish this morning! See you in April.

  11. Posted April 2, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I am loving seeing photos of the different gifts Andrea sent everyone. I need to post a photo of mine too. We are so lucky to have Andrea as a leader! As for the recipes, I’m very impressed by how many you made, and they all came out looking great. I’m sorry you didn’t like the spring onion tart more. I remember liking it, but then again I would probably enjoy dirt if it was on top of puff pastry.
    jora recently posted…CCC MarchMy Profile

    • Posted April 6, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jora, thanks so much! The gifts from Andrea were so lovely and greatly appreciated and we are so lucky to have our fearless Kitchen Lioness Andrea as our leader for River Cottage veg everyday! What a group! I’ve so enjoyed many of the recipes in this cookbook, and have never cooked through any cookbook as this before, so quite a fun experience sharing it with others! I’m sure you liked the onion tart as did everyone but me which now makes me chuckle. Looking forward to April. See you soon Jora. Happy Spring!

  12. TheKitchenLioness
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Dear Peggy, you have outdone yourself again, writing such a thoughtful and wonderful blog post that is such a joy to read. I marvel at all your selections and hope you enjoyed the month of March and all the dishes you prepared – I totally agree with you on the Turnovers, a must recipe to make again and again but I do happen to like the Spring Onion Tart as well (but I am the only one in the family it seems – hard to eat I was told). The Bruschetta was a real treat too – very pretty presentation and the Refried Beans count as one of my kids´ favorites. You are also so right about the appetizer ease of the Artichokes and White Beans – such a flavorful, easy way to serve up a little something with grilled bread slices…I will have ot make them again…
    Thank you for making such a wonderful array of dishs and thank you for being such a kind and absolutely wonderful member of the Cottage Cooking Club.
    Hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful Easter weekend!

    • Posted April 8, 2015 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Hello, Andrea, of the Kitchen Lioness, our dear Fearless Leader of the Cottage Cooking Club. Thank you for all of the terrific leadership you provide to our group, your hard work and coordination in the extensive efforts, and those too details unseen. We all loved your delivery packages and appreciate such thoughtful generosity, along with celebrating the collective sharing of one hundred recipes marking preparation among the diverse dishes from River Cottage veg everyday! I’ve loved the group and so many of the wonderful dishes we’ve prepared, well, all except that Spring Onion Tart, where everyone keeps reminding me as to their fondness on such, lol. See you soon, sending Big Hugs your way!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.