A fresh approach

chicken risotto

In the show on Saturday 23 May, Lisa Holloway shared some recipes making the most of fresh seasonal produce, with asparagus the main ingredient in two of the dishes she talked about.

Then lo and behold, the Girls Around Town‘s second guest Katharine Maxey arrived bearing gifts – bunches of asparagus, freshly picked on the farm that morning, for June and Sue. Guess who will be making either the soup or the risotto here this weekend?!

The Velouté (a posh name for soup!) is from a recipe by Wesley Smalley of Charlotte’s Bistro in Chiswick, while the Risotto is by food writer, recipe developer and author Yvonne Ruperti.

Lisa puts her own twist on the recipes, replacing the wild garlic in the soup with spring onion sometimes and, for the risotto, leaving out the peas and using a whole bottle of white wine instead of most of the broth!

And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you’ll also find Lisa’s very own recipe for Elderflower Cordial…

Asparagus, Wild Garlic and Potato Velouté

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 500g asparagus stalks, peeled and washed
  • 2 large onions, roughly chopped
  • Half a leek, roughly chopped
  • I stick of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 100g wild garlic
  • 100g spinach
  • 400g peeled new potatoes
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • Half a litre of milk
  • Half a litre of double cream


  1. Place the onion, leek, celery, thyme and bay leaf in a heavy-bottomed pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, vegetable stock, milk and cream and cook until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Add the asparagus and cook until tender.
  4. And the wild garlic and spinach and allow to wilt.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, then blitz in a food processor until smooth.

Chicken Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus and Peas

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 whole small chicken, about 3lbs
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into thirds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 225g asparagus, ends trimmed, cut into 1″ lengths
  • 300g frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 300g short grain rice, such as arborio
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon zest
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 50g chopped parsley


  1. Peel and quarter one onion. Place the chicken, celery, onion and 2 teaspoons of salt in a stock pot and just cover with water (8-10 cups). Bring to simmer over a medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone (about 1 hour).
  2. Transfer the chicken to a plate, strain the broth and return it to the pot. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and shred into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Bring the broth to a simmer over a medium heat. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender (about 2 minutes). Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Add the peas to the broth and cook for 30 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the broth from the heat but keep warm (you should have 6 to 8 cups of broth).
  5. Finely chop the remaining onion. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft (about 6 minutes) then stir in the butter.
  6. Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in 1 cup of the broth – continue to cook, stirring, until the broth is almost completely absorbed.
  7. Continue to add the broth, 1 cup at a time, and stirring, until the rice is tender but retains a slight bite – it should have the consistency of a creamy, thick soup (about 30 minutes). Add extra water if there isn’t enough broth to cook the risotto sufficiently.
  8. Stir in the peas, asparagus, chicken, lemon zest and half a teaspoon of pepper. Stir in the Parmesan, season to taste, then stir in the parsley and serve immediately.

Elderflower Cordial


  • 30 heads of elderflower, full and dry
  • 1800g granulated sugar
  • 2.5g citric acid or 3 lemons, just roughly cut
  • 2.5 pints boiling water


  1. Put all in clean bucket and stir twice a day for 5 days.
  2. Strain and bottle.

You can add more lemons, maybe less sugar, to make to your own taste.

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