The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

My cherished second hand asparagus steamer

asparagus steamerEver since Gilbert told me that the easiest way to cook perfect asparagus is to use a steamer, I’ve wanted one.

Until then I suspected that they were a bit faddish. Just another bit of kitchen equipment that we could do without. Gilbert thought the same until his sister sent him one for his birthday. To be polite, he thought he’d give it a whirl and was instantly hooked.

It’s a well designed bit of kit. All you need to do is rinse the asparagus and snap off the woody ends. The asparagus stands upright in the steamer, with the tips well away from the water. Even chubby stalks cook perfectly. The basket makes it so easy to lift out the asparagus when it is cooked. Gilbert had fetched his steamer from the kitchen rack for me to examine.

“It’s great Gilbert but we just don’t have the space for another pot.” Danny was firm.

“But this little one is so slim and makes you perfect asparagus, every time.” He gave me a surreptitious wink. “I use it for sweet corn, salad potatoes, and calabrese. In fact it’s my favourite pot.” He lifted it gently from the table and returned to the kitchen.

Our cottage is small, with very little storage space. Danny has few possessions. As I have many, one would imagine that this would be a perfect partnership on the possessions front. Wrong.

Danny has slowly come to accept that I’m a hoarder. Occasionally he has benefited. When he needed dress studs, cuff links and thermal vests I was able to provide them in an instant. Unfortunately I have been unable to find the parcel tape dispenser that he craves. One day I will unearth it in the barn. Sometimes I wish that I had never mentioned it.

The white elephant stall at the church fete is a great source of useful kitchen equipment. Someone in the village always seems to chuck out exactly what we need. Tablecloths one year, a wine cooler the next. This year I spotted an asparagus steamer complete with basket. For under a pound it was a bargain. I snapped it up.

Danny didn’t even flicker when I rushed back to the punch stall with the pot under my arm. At the moment it is living on the top of the stove until I can clear out the saucepan cupboard and give it a proper home.

The next challenge is to grow perfect asparagus or any at all. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.


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4 Comments

  1. Really enjoyed reading this post. Like you I am a hoarder and my husband has few possessions! The asparagus steamer sounds great as does your church fete. Good luck with the asparagus growing. A great vegetable growing site that can help with growing tips is topveg.com
    Sara from farmingfriends

  2. Joanna

    Your post struck many chords – only here we’re both hoarders, which makes for mountains of chaos. Good bargain – I was particularly pleased with the cookbook stand I got for 20p a couple of weekends ago at the village jumble sale (so far it hasn’t held a book, but it’s a useful place to put all the recipes I collect in Waitrose and out of the newspaper, or print off my blog!)

    Joanna
    joannasfood.blogspot.com

  3. Amanda

    I love finding bargains like that. Sounds like an essential piece of equipment though, you couldn’t have passed it by! I’m a hoarder too, as is my husband.

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sara,
    Glad to know that you are a kindred spirit vis à vie hording stuff. Thanks for the veg site tip, much appreciated.

    Hi Joanna,
    You are so lucky to live with a hoarder.

    It is in my gene pool. When my aunt died 15 years ago, she had kept everything. Original Bryant and May matches and an early freezer the size of a sofa with a one foot square compartment. And the receipts for everything.

    Hi Amanda,

    A houseful of hoarders. My idea of bliss! Although D has become a bit of a hoarder (trainee rather than management level).

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