Chilled Asparagus Soup with Ricotta Dumplings

This month we are using some of the finest British ingredients available in April. This chilled soup's bright green colour is definitely reflective of the flourishing trees around us!

Serves 6

16 large spears English asparagus
  500ml chicken stock (500ml of which white chicken stock)
1/2 bunch chervil picked & chopped finely
200ml double cream
Juice 1 lemon
50g butter
50ml olive oil

1. Place a pan of water on to boil and season with salt.
2. Take four of the asparagus spears and slice them very thinly crossways on a mandolin or if you don’t own a mandolin you can slice the spears very finely, keep all the trimmings for the soup.
3. Peel four more spears and cut a piece of the base off, as it is tough.
4. Firstly, cook the strips in the water they will take about 30 seconds to cook then plunge them into iced water.
5. Cook the remaining eight whole spears for 2-3 minutes to cook and again put in iced water when cooked.
6. Chop the remaining asparagus finely, then heat up a pan on a medium heat and add the butter.
7. Place cream in a saucepan and boil, add the asparagus, including the trimmings, add seasoning cover with a lid and cook for 3-4 minutes.
8. Then add the stock, bring to the boil and then add chervil into the soup.
9. Puree in the blender and then pass through a fine sieve into a bowl, let cool or alternatively place the soup bowl in another bowl of iced water to cool quickly. 
10. Place the strips of asparagus in a bowl with the oil a little salt and some lemon juice. pour the soup into the bowls then the asparagus and drop the ricotta dumplings in.

Ricotta Gnocchi

500g Ricotta cheese
100g Parmesan
50g 00 flour (pasta flour)
2 egg yolks
1 whole free range egg
1/2 bunch of picked & chopped chervil
Maldon sea salt & fresh milled white pepper

1. Mix the ricotta with the flour and the eggs, add the chervil and season.
2. Bring a pan of seasoned water to the simmer then drop a spoonful of the ricotta mix in to the water.
3. Then when they rise they are ready place these into iced water to cool.
4. leave for a minute and then remove, as they will fall apart if they are left to long in the water.