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Garganelli with Dandelion Pesto, Sorrel Soup with Spot Prawns and Rhubarb Cobbler with Pistachio whip creamDeborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

One of the things I love about the spring is the abundance of early herbs and vegetables growing in the garden. All perennial, they lighten my mood and my attitude toward food. These ingredients can be combined to create wonderful dishes such as the three detailed below.

Lemony sorrel, a favourite for making pungent soup, makes a sensational starter paired with the sweetness of fresh spot prawns.

Dandelions – planted separately, not picked from the grass – have a bitterness that intermingles with the heat of chilies, the saltiness of pecorino and the mellowness of a pasta to create a full-flavoured main course.

Finally, luscious rhubarb, my favourite, cooks down into a thick, syrupy sweet-and-sour mass. Combined with gingery shortcakes, this is pure decadence on a plate.