A taste of spring

These three delicious dishes are full of the joys and flavours of the new season

Stuart O'Keeffe

It finally feels like spring and, at this time of year, I like to use seasonal fruits and vegetables in my food. My spring onion soup can be made using scallions and white onions and all kinds of vegetables can be added to my chicken pot pie. And with lemons in season, it's time for lemon tart.

Spring Onion Soup


>3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

>5 bunches scallions, cut into 2.5cm pieces

>5 large leeks, thinly sliced

>1 onion, finely diced

>Salt and pepper

>700ml sauvignon blanc wine

>500ml heavy cream

>5 carrots, diced

>350ml buttermilk

>75g goat's cheese


>In a large pot, heat oil and add scallions, leeks, onion, salt and pepper.

>Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add the wine and cook for a further 10 minutes.

>Add 700ml water and heavy cream and bring to a light simmer. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Season.

>Working in batches, blend the soup.

>Add back to the pot and toss in carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes.

>In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and goat's cheese together.

>Spoon soup into bowls and drizzle goat's cheese mixture on top.

Chicken Pot Pies

Serves 6


>1 package frozen puff pastry

>1 onion, roughly chopped

>2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into quarter-inch pieces

>2 celery stalks, cut in 1cm pieces

>2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces

>7 tbsp butter

>400g button mushrooms, cut in quarters

>150ml white wine

>4 tbsp all-purpose flour

>900ml chicken stock

>300g frozen peas

>500g cooked chicken


>Thaw pastry (20-30 minutes).

>Season onion, carrots, celery and potatoes and cook in 3 tbsp of butter for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

>Add 1 tbsp of butter to pan and cook mushrooms for 5-7 minutes.

>Add wine. Reduce by half and transfer to bowl of vegetables.

>Melt remaining butter in saucepan, add flour and mix until a roux is formed. Whisk in chicken stock. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5--7 minutes.

>Add back in all vegetables and peas.

>Remove from heat.

>Roll out pastry and, using a ramekin, cut out six circles, set aside.

>Add shredded chicken to vegetable mixture, mix well.

>Spoon mixture into ramekins, place pastry on top. Set on baking tray and bake at 220°C for 20 minutes.

Lemon Tart

Serves 6--8



>100g all-purpose flour

>50g confectioner's sugar

>Pinch salt

>120g unsalted butter, cubed


>170g cream cheese

>50g sugar

>Zest from 1 lemon

>Juice from 2 lemons

>2 large eggs


>2 cups whipping cream

>1 tbsp vanilla extract

>150g icing sugar


>Preheat oven to 350°F.

>Pulse crust ingredients in a food processor until they form a dough.

>Roll out on a floured surface, place on a 20cm prepared tart pan with removable base.

>Press pastry into the pan, trim excess. Chill for 15 minutes.

>Pierce a few times with a fork (this will prevent pastry from rising too much), then use baking beans to bake blind for 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.

>Mix the filling ingredients with an electric whisk or mixer until well combined (it is okay to have a few lumps from the cream cheese).

>Pour into crust and bake for 15 minutes more.

>Let cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour.

>Whisk topping ingredients until you obtain stiff peaks.

>Using a piping bag, pipe topping in dots until you completely cover the surface or serve with a dollop of topping on top of each slice.