Lighten your menus and lift the mood with exciting food that simply screams springtime! Chargrilled scallops with watercress & orange, spring lamb with asparagus and Jersey Royals...combinations that always impress.
recognised as the best apple for cooking, Bramley apples are unique because they contain a higher acid content and lower sugar levels to produce a stronger, tangier tasting apple whose flavour is retained when cooked, and whose texture literally melts in the mouth. Crumbles, pies, sponges, or simply baked with sugar and spice. Just add proper custard!
incredibly versatile with many culinary uses, rhubarb adds contrasting sharpness to cakes and desserts, and is the perfect pearly pink filling for pies and pastries. It also sets well in jams, is piquant in pickles, offers colour and its unique tang to sauces and can even be used to make wine.
Strawberries (late spring)
in addition to being utterly delicious, low in fat and calories, strawberries are naturally high in fibre, vitamin C, folate, potassium and antioxidants. Try them tossed into some lightly stewed sweetened rhubarb for a perfect springtime compote.
whether flat leaf or curly, parsley is a classic addition to so many British dishes – try adding lots to cod fish cakes and serve with a buttery hollandaise for a fresh spring treat. Parsley butter is great served over hot beef, cod or salmon.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli (early spring)
is delicious simply steamed with a little seasoning or combined with some fried garlic, lemon zest and toasted flaked almonds.
baby new carrots should be eaten raw or lightly steamed to preserve their sweetness. Serve whole, they add colour texture and bags of taste.
Kale (early spring)
is one of the few green vegetables that is more abundant and flavourful during the coldest months of the year. It can be substituted for cabbage or spinach and makes a fine side dish when blanched and sautéed with garlic (a little soy and a sprinkling of chopped, roasted nuts is a lovely addition). It also makes an excellent ingredient in hearty, warming soups such as Scotch Broth.
Cucumbers (late spring)
chilled soups, garlicky tzatziki, or Thai cucumber salad. Be creative –cucumbers can do more than adorn a plate or fill a sandwich.
Radishes (late spring)
add a fabulous crunch and crimson burst of colour to a salad or crudite selection. The French serve them raw, dipped in to sea salt.
Spring Onions (late spring)
can be used for so much more than just adding to your Peking Duck pancakes. When raw or very lightly cooked they impart a wonderfully vibrant yet mild flavour where normal onions would be overpowering. Make champ by folding chopped spring onions into creamy mashed potatoes - add some grated cheddar if you like. Or combine with ginger to form the soul of a number of classic Chinese and Japanese dishes.
Asparagus (late spring)
seasonal fresh asparagus is a taste sensation. Its crisp stalks are primed with sugar which when grilled turn sweet and tender.
Watercress (late spring)
makes a fresh, colourful and highly nutritious soup. Serve hot or cold with a blob of crème fraîche and some snipped fresh chives.
supply is not particularly seasonal, but this is a great time while the days are still chilly, to try a classic roast with some really good apple sauce and crispy roast potatoes.
late spring is the perfect time for new season lamb. Spring lamb is milk fed and the animal is usually 3-5 months old when killed and is known for providing really tender meat. Best roasted or cooked fast, not ideal for slow braising.
is one of the most abundant fish found in large schools in the North Atlantic. They can be eaten raw, pickled, smoked or conventionally cooked. Quite delicious they are an excellent source of vitamin D and omega 3 oils.
is a rich source of omega 3 oils and quality protein. Coat in sesame seeds and grill until just cooked. Do not over cook or it will become dry.
is an excellent low fat source of quality protein. Use as the basis of a fish pie or fish cakes, poach in milk or simply steam. Add plenty of fresh parsley!
considered an aphrodisiac; really the only way to eat fresh oysters is raw with lemon and a dash of Tabasco sauce.
Clams & Cockles
are delicious steamed in a little stock, white wine and cream. Add plenty of parsley and toss through hot fresh pasta.
Mussels (early spring)
can be baked with a topping of garlicky breadcrumbs. This makes a change from moules moules marinière but try both whilst they are at their meatiest best.