Spring is here, and I don’t know about you but I’m starting to feel excited about food again. I do like a bit of stodge now and then, but the long winter of pies, chilli con carne and root vegetables has got me craving clean, fresh flavours. Beautiful vegetables will be coming into season thick and fast from now on, Easter brings with it the spring lamb and we start to see hints of the summer red berries.
Here are some of the best foodie delights to look out for this spring. If you can, buy from your local farm shop or market – the price is usually cheaper than the supermarkets, and the quality, taste and ethics are far superior.
(April – June)
All jokes about wee aside, British asparagus is in its prime during spring, so you will find some big juicy stalks in the shops rather than the weedy imports the supermarkets insist in selling in December.
Asparagus is more versatile than you think – you can roast it with other spring veg, mix it through a risotto or eat with poached eggs and bacon. My favourite way is the French though – dipping the stalks into melted butter or hollandaise.
It’s a warm welcome back to this tree-wannabe in all its forms – purple sprouting is also back from April. The health benefits of broccoli have brought it back into vogue by Joe Wicks and crew, but I’ve always liked it as a quick and easy way to bring greenery to a dish. If your not a fan of boiled broccoli I recommended steaming or dry frying – if you catch broccoli slightly it has a gorgeous nutty flavour.
Spring means Easter, and Easter means lamb. Slow cook a leg studded with garlic and serve with olives and halloumi for a Greek style lunch, or fry pretty cutlets for a special dinner. There are lots of options for this versatile meat, and buy local for the best flavour.
Follow up your lamb with a yummy rhubarb crumble – pair it with cherries for a delicious mix of sweet and tartness. Rhubarb is really easy to grow, so if you hang around your local allotment for long enough you’re sure to find someone with a glut of the stuff desperate to give it away. If you want it to be pink you need forced rhubarb (grown in the dark) – the regular stuff tastes the same but is more of a gooseberry-green.
Early British fruits – Cherries, Peaches, Strawberries
Just writing this my brain is wandering off thinking of strawberries dusted with sugar in the sunshine, of Wimbledon, of strawberries in Pimms…I do like a strawberry. From June the summer fruits start coming into season, so get your pinafores on and go picking!