What’s in Season This Month
Eating seasonally and when possible locally, suggests eating food that is at its prime in terms of taste and nutritional contents, while at the same time cutting down on those food miles.
Every month, I hope to publish on my blog a guide to what’s in season the main points are going to be about fresh and locally produced (specifically British) foodstuffs.
As the spring sun warms the soil, we can look forward to an abundance of wonderful ingredients coming into season over the next few weeks. Instead of rocket, try watercress it works wonders in simple salads, sophisticated salads, with fish and with cheese.
Don’t fancy watercress? Other foods good this week include purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, rhubarb, kiwi fruit, wood pigeon, John Dory, and salmon not forgetting the first of the Jersey royal new potatoes
The first herbs are appearing now, allowing us to add some fresher flavours to our food. Look out for wild garlic, chives, sorrel, and rocket.
Fruit and Veg;
From Abel and Cole (Abel and Cole, the Organic Source for London) we have been getting;
Bananas (Fairtrade), Carrots, Celeriac, Celery, Green Lettuce, Leeks, Mandarins, Oranges, Potatoes, and White Onions.
Abel and Coles Blog on Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Purple sprouting broccoli, like asparagus, blood oranges and strawberries, is one of the big treats of the organic food calendar. Unlike our tender friend asparagus, the season for PSB (as we affectionately call it) thankfully runs a little longer making this tasty veg a welcome splash of colour, after months of pastel-hued root veg. Philip le Maistre grows these regal-tipped, tender stems on Manor Farm on the island of Jersey. The farm has spectacular views. Phil says his PSB can grow enormously tall. He bets some of the stems can see clear across the Channel, over to France.
His purple broccoli comes in all sorts of varieties. Claret is very pretty, almost fluorescent pinky-purple in colour. Then, there’s Rudolf, and Red Spear. They’ve all got different characteristics. Some may have a large head, like normal broccoli, with only a few smaller shoots, while some will have lots of smaller shoots with a less dominant head. This, Philip, says keeps the season interesting. Every batch of PSB is unique. We urge you to give it a try, that is, if you haven’t already.
And On the Market Stall in Tachbrook Street, They Are Showing;
Broccoli (at its best), carrots, cauliflower (at its best), chicory, cucumber, kale, leeks, onions, potatoes (main crop), purple sprouting broccoli (at its best), radishes (at its best), rhubarb (at its best), rocket, salsify, spinach (at its best), spring onions, watercress
Meat, Poultry and Game;
Our local butcher (Wyndham House Butchers) has been getting in beef, chicken, spring lamb, pork, rabbit, veal, and wood pigeon. I have to say that the current lot of pork is superb as is the beef, which is well hung and very tasty.
We had some of their English lamb chops last night and the flavour was really intense, just about the best yet.
Fish and Shellfish;
The local fishmonger (Jonathan Norris, Fishmonger of Pimlico) has been getting in cockles (at its best), conger eel (at its best), crab, eel, john dory (at its best), lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters (Whether you regard them as food of the gods, or spawn of the devil, oysters are a unique culinary experience, and April is the last, best, month to eat them), prawns, salmon (at its best), sea trout (at its best), shrimp (at its best), skate, whitebait (at its best), winkles, again almost all Jon’s fish is from around the Cornish, Devon and Scottish coasts.
And you should be finding
· Wild nettles, basil, chervil, chives, coriander, dill, mushrooms (cultivated), parsley (curly), parsley (flat-leaf), sorrel Artichokes, Chicory, Chives, Dandelion Greens, Grapefruit, Greens, Horseradish, Leeks, Lettuce (leaf and head), Oranges, Parsnips, Rhubarb, Shallots, and Jersey royal new potatoes
· Crab, Haddock, John Dory, Lobster, Mackerel, Monkfish, Prawns, Sea Bass, Sea Salmon, Trout, Turbot
· Beef Steaks, Chicken, Sausages, Spring Lamb (spring lamb is traditionally served with the Easter roast. The taste is milder than summer or autumn lamb and it is deliciously tender).
Recipe for April
Spring Lamb Cutlets with a Wild Garlic Crust
Serves / Makes: 2 servings
Prep-Time: 10 minutes
Cook-Time: 15 minutes
You Will Need;
4 small or 2 large lamb cutlets
For the crust:
50 grams, white bread, torn into chunks
2 tablespoons, wild garlic leaves
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Knob of butter
Pre-heat the oven to 220°c.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy frying pan until foaming but not coloured and pan fry the cutlets for a few minutes on each side until browned.
Meanwhile, in a small blender whizz the bread, garlic leaves, rosemary, thyme and salt and pepper. Press the mixture onto each cutlet, and roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve with new potatoes and buttered curly kale and Enjoy!
If you go down to the woods today, it’s likely the smell of wild garlic (ramsons) will fill the air. This wild relative of the chive can be eaten in many ways, both raw and cooked – in soups, salads, or taking basil’s place in pesto. In this month’s recipe, it partners traditional rosemary to flavour some equally seasonal spring lamb.