You know how there are things you used to eat when you were a kid but don't anymore? Either because they're really quite disgusting, or because eating pasta that's in the shape of the alphabet doesn't quite do it for you anymore. Well I used to eat a lot of different food growing up in France. Even though there are a lot of similar things now between France and the UK, and we're all part of Europe bla bla bla, I'd never eaten baked beans until I turned 23. That says a lot I guess. And butternut squash, well the French don't really bother growing it, so I've discovered the joys of all these root vegetables that I didn't even know existed until recently. The flip side of that is that I used to eat stuff which simply isn't available here. Ok it might be if you go shopping in Harrods, but funnily enough, that's not my thing. Yeah, I'm funny like that.
So you'll never know how I felt when I saw someone selling globe artichokes at the market in Cambridge a couple of weekends ago. I know they're not that rare in the UK, but I can't find them in my local supermarket. And my local market certainly does not stretch to exotic fares such as the much loved artichoke. I say much loved because I absolutely LOVE artichokes. Mum used to prepare them quite regularly. We'd have them cold, as a starter, with some vinaigrette. You just can't beat it. So I didn't have to be told twice that it was ok to pay £1 per artichoke (it's not really, it's a rip off, but what can you do!). I got them all ready at home and I was so proud because actually, it's not that straight forward. You can't really tell if you've cooked it properly until you get to the middle, the part where you have to remove the hair to reveal the beautifully delicate heart.
Mine were spot on. Am I proud? Hell yes!! I'm afraid there are no photos of the hair and the heart because by that point, I was in total heaven, and I don't take cameras to heaven, sorry ;-)
So all I can say is this. If you walk past one of these beauties, jump at the opportunity to enjoy one, it's simply amazing. Each and every single leaf will be a culinary explosion. Or it might not for you, and I'm sorry if it's not your thing, but for me, this is the food of my childhood and I will forever cherish it.