Making the most of Artichokes

Artichokes are a thing of beauty. When everyone else is thinking of asparagus, we're thinking of artichokes. They both namely in season at the same time.

Classically served boiled or steamed with melted butter or a vinaigrette, this most luxurious of vegetables always evokes a sense of celebration.

We particularly like the baby violet artichokes. We trim the stalks and remove the hard outer leaves, cleaning it up to be left with the beautiful heart. Keep them in a bowl of lemon water to stop them discolouring. Then halve them, remove the choke (the hairy middle bit) and you're ready to go.

We take a clove or 2 of garlic, still in the skin. Place in a pan with a good glug of white wine and boil to reduce by half. Then add a good amount of olive oil, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper and top up with some water. Add the artichokes, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper and simmer gently until tender, around 15 minutes but this depends on the size of your artichokes. Allow them to cool in the liquid. Delicious served as a vegetable accompaniment or on crostini.