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For many years we have been growing artichokes in the garden and every year they flower the most beautiful purple. Today I was inspired to finally do something with them before they flowered. The Artichoke is not something I am familiar with nor have really grown up eating so it was a case of being out of my comfort zone.

To be honest I had to watch a few YouTube videos to understand what to do. With four lovely artichokes freshly cut from the back garden I was ready.

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Lemon in hand (due to the quick oxidisation) and knife I tackled what is actually a thistle. It was not the easiest of processes and quiet messy but I got there and the result was well worth it. I am sure that any expert artichoke peeler would have been appealed at my first attempt. Those YouTube videos make it look so easy.

Once the stem is trimmed and outer leaves plucked off, you cut the top off and then cut what remains in half as pictured below. The inside is very beautiful. You then need to remove what is the 'choke', the white hair like part and then you get to the heart. The part of greatest desire.

The hearts were placed in a bowl of water and lemon juice. Once I had dissected all the artichokes I placed then in a saucepan with bays leaves, lemon juice and lemon, thyme leaves, salt and a quartered onion. Simmering for about 15 minutes until the artichokes hearts were soft.

Today's recipe is out of Ottolenghi's Plenty More, globe artichoke and mozzarella with candied lemon. Whilst the artichokes are cooking I peeled a lemon and finely cut lengths of lemon rind placing then into some sugar and lemon juice to simmer for 15 minutes. I actually had to redo this process as I left the first batch on the stove for too long and ended up with toffeed lemon rind!

To assemble the salad I used cos lettuce cut width-ways, a large ball of bocconcini, parsley, mint, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Then drizzled with the candied lemon and syrup.

The artichoke was really delicious, I was pleasantly surprised, combined in the salad it was spectacular. The herbs and candied lemon just bring this all to life.

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So the scary looking artichoke has won me over. I look forward to the next crop in the backyard being ready to harvest for there is another Plenty More recipe waiting for me to try out!