It felt like spring was in the air yesterday. The sun was shining, slender crocus buds peered skyward out of flower beds - there was even a light peppering of Hawthorn shoots among the hedgerows on Highgate Lane. These young leaves were known as 'bread and cheese' back in the day, and are great nibbled straight off the hedge or gathered and tossed into a spring salad. For a moment I completely forgot about warming soups, thick stews and brooding winter sustenance, raiding the fridge in search of something quick and zesty. Today it's raining.
Artichoke and pancetta ciabatta
Serves 4 as a light lunch
1 Large ciabatta
A pack of marinated artichoke hearts
8 Rashers of smoked pancetta
A handful of rocket leaves
Salt & pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve
Brush a piece of ciabatta with olive oil and place oil-down on a hot griddle pan. While the ciabatta's toasting, fry the pancetta for a couple of minutes until crispy and transfer onto kitchen paper. The rest is essentially an assembly job; artichoke hearts, broken pancetta splinters and a scattering of rocket leaves. Finish with parmesan shavings, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice.