Seasonal food is important for extra freshness, value and flavour, find out ‘what’s in season’ this month and how to make the most of seasonal flavours from our Farm shop.
The most well-known bitter orange is the Seville, only around for a few weeks in January. They are too sour to eat raw, but are great for marmalades and jams as they have a very rough skin. Use the zest and juice for baking, sauces or marinades also great for cooking with game, chicken or fish.
A popular mild-flavoured saltwater fish mainly found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. A white fleshy fish and is succulent, flaky, firm and lean but it has commonly been considered inferior to other types of fish most probably because it was overcooked and, for many years, plentiful and good for you. Perfect for fish pies, fried covered in batter or simply grilled.
Scallop is a common name that is primarily applied to any one of numerous species of saltwater clams or marine bivalve mollusks in the taxonomic family. Juicy scallops are the ultimate seafood treat undercook rather than overcook. Grilling or frying should be done at medium heat, so they do not dry out and become tough. All scallops give off liquid when heated; the very white, treated scallops will lose much more if heated excessively.
A popular Christmas dinner veg, Brussels sprouts are thought to have been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century, hence the name. Although they’re related to cabbage (they even look like a miniature, compact version) they have a sweet, nutty flavour that some people find bitter. Stir-fry in oil or butter with onions and bacon lardons, add to cooked chestnuts at Christmas, or boil until al dente not to be over cooked!
The unsung hero of the vegetable world, knobbly, odd-shaped celeriac has a subtle, celery-like flavour, with nutty overtones, try it as mash, or great for soups or used sliced as a baked dish.
A favourite winter vegetable served hot with roasted game birds but equally good as a colourful and gratifying addition to any hot meal. It is usually long cooked with bacon and spices, commonly also with apple. Braised red cabbage is a traditional accompaniment to Christmas dinner, can also be served raw as a type of coleslaw or found simply pickled in vinegar with few additions.
A member of the cabbage family, the swede is often confused with the turnip, though they look quite different. It’s also known as yellow turnip, Swedish turnip and Russian turnip. Swede has a round shape and a purple-green skin, and the flesh is yellowy-orange, with a sweet, earthy flavour. It disintegrates fairly easily if overcooked, so always keep to cooking times.
The parsnip is a member of the carrot family, it looks just like a big carrot aside from its creamy white colour, it has an earthy but sweet flavour and is great used in hearty winter roasts, soups and stews and delicious roasted or mashed.
Cauliflower is incredibly versatile as you can see from our wealth of recipes – from curries, to soups to the comforting cauliflower cheese. Inexpensive and local, it ticks all the right boxes, so don’t skimp on this classic British vegetable.
Fresh from our own herd, new season Lamb has the sweetest of flavours. Many different cuts of lamb are available, which you buy depends on how you want to cook it. For roasts, the best cuts include leg, breast, best end of neck (also known as rack of lamb), shoulder, saddle, rump and loin this time of year. Lamb is also available minced (good for shepherd’s pie) and you can also buy lamb offal (mainly the kidneys and liver but also, less commonly, the heart and the sweetbreads), which is quick to cook, cheap and nutritious. Our butchers cut any size to suit…
The cabbage, or brassica, family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white or green varieties with tightly packed leaves, to cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts as well as pak choi, popular now in cookery. The round, crinkle-leafed Savoy cabbage and the pale, lozenge-shaped Chinese leaf are considered to be two of the best to cook with. The flavour of cabbage varies from type to type, ranging from savoury to gently sweet, but one thing they all have in common is a rank smell if overcooked, so brief cooking is key.
The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root vegetables around – a result of its sweet flavour, which means it can be used raw or cooked, in sweet or savoury dishes.