Monthly Archives

March 2017

Seasonal Stomach

What To Eat This Season: Spring

March 29, 2017

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.

Asparagus
(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.

Broccoli
(from April)

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.

Lamb
(from April)

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.

Rhubarb
(April-May)

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
(from June)

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!

 

I’d love to know your favourite spring recipes – I hope to feature some of mine (read: Dan’s) this season.

Simple Self

Hello To Spring!

March 26, 2017

The last month and a half have seen me be in not such a good head space – stressed, chaotic, anxious about everything. I was hoping that that the change of season would bring about a change in my chaos, but the fact I’m writing this today, and not on the first day in spring, really rather shows that it didn’t.

I feel different today though. I weekend of sunshine and the clocks changing feels more momentous than the rainy first day of spring was. I have a lot of life changing planning and decision making coming up this season, the results of which you’ll see here in the not so distant future – I’m a little scared to say it out loud just yet, but I will do soon.

So in the spirit of change, of ridding emotional baggage like old skin, of blossom and babies, this seasons theme is ‘New’. Definitely not an original Spring theme, but it feels more than apt for my life right now.

We’ll be trying new things (including an interesting bonus instalment of The Tea Journey), eating fresh produce and introducing some new themes to Simple & Season.

Simple Pleasures

5 Simple Blogs About Comfort

March 17, 2017

As you know, this winter on Simple & Season was all about comfort. But of course, concepts and ideas about comfort differ wildly from person to person. So I invited some of my favourite simple bloggers to write about comfort on their own blogs. Here are some of my favourite posts they created…

A Hand Rolled Beeswax Candle DIY by Gathered Threads

Janice has a beautiful blog and Instagram, she has a real way with images and an aesthetic I just love (not to mention old furniture to die for). I love this post about making beeswax candles for a lot of reasons – the fact that it’s so easy, Janice’s sensory descriptions, and the fact that her daughter nonchalantly has her face painted as a cat throughout like it’s no big deal. However, I especially love that it’s a craft perfect for these days of March where it’s not quite winter and not quite spring, perfectly bridging the seasons.

A Comforting and Seasonal Soup by The Freckled Field Notes

I ate soup for lunch every day for about 6 weeks in January and February. There’s something about stirring a silky handmade soup with a wooden spoon that makes me feel giddy. Sian’s Broccoli, Almond and Mint soup looks like it ticks all the decadent boxes.

DIY Knitted Slippers (For Beginners) by Happy and Hygge

If, like me, you’re a wannabe knitter, then Emily promises that these slippers are ludicrously simple to make (and they look perfect for prancing about in too!). This post also has some really good tips for getting a little more comfort into the office and your desk, for those of us who seem to spend more time in our office chairs than our own homes.

What I’m Reading And A Date With The Blind Date Book Club by Mascara and Mud

Cerys perfectly sums up the difference between idealised comfort and the comfort of reality. One thing that is for sure, however, is that curling up with a good book is the ultimate in simple cosiness. She also introduces us to The Blind Date Book Club, which sounds like the best idea.

A Creative Challenge for 2017 by Chaos and Coffee

Clare had a refreshing attitude to New Year’s Resolutions, vowing not to ask too much of herself, nor to try and change herself just because it was January. Instead she decided to do a creative challenge to try more crafts this year and do the things she’d wanted to for years. Very inspirational, and I can’t wait to see how she gets on!

Simple Self

Monthly Simplify – Noticing the Seasonal Change

March 6, 2017

Each month I pick one easy thing we can do to simplify our homes, diets and lives. This month, it’s looking out for signs of spring.

March is a funny month, with one foot in winter and the other in spring. It starts with chilly winds and heavy rains and ends with daffodils and the possibility of going out without a coat. It’s a month where a lot changes in the blink of an eye, and before you know it it’s Easter. My mum always told me to appreciate the blossom when it’s here, as it isn’t around for long. So this month I intend to.

For this month’s simplify, we’re going to mindfully appreciate this changing of the guard, to watch as winter hands the baton over to spring. We’re going to make more of an effort to step outside in these lighter evenings, to feel how the weather changes, to look out for the blossom, to count the daffodils and spot the first baby lamb.

For our ancestors, I imagine this month was always a sigh of relief. I can see them smiling as each evening grew lighter, as they used one less log on the fire and saw the world coming back to life. It was a month to signal that they’d survived another winter, that good times were to come, and they could begin to start afresh. Let’s do that too.

Here are some ideas of ways to appreciate the first signs of spring:

  • Seek out spring flowers in parks or your local National Trust property – watch how snowdrops and crocuses give way to daffodils and bluebells
  • Find a blossoming tree near home or work and every time you walk past make a point of standing under it few a few moments. Smile at the dainty blossoms, breathe in the aroma and note how it changes every day
  • Feel the way the wind blows on your face, and how that changes through the month
  • Look out for nest building birds – encourage them into your garden with a box or a pile of bread to build up their strength
  • Smell the garlic – if you’re wandering somewhere damp and shady keep your nose open for the wild garlic that will come out this month (and forage some for a yummy pesto!)

 

Do you have any rituals moving into spring? What signs of spring do you like to look out for?

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