what's in season: january

As I said to the man who stood at the
          gate of the year:
"Give me a light, that I might tread safely
          into the unknown!" 

M. Louise Haskins

I am by now thoroughly fed-up with Christmassy food (in particular loathsome turkey) but fortunately despite January's bleak midwinter demeanor, there are still a few things around that are good to eat. 

British root vegetables are in season to turn into hearty warming dishes. Today I had a wonderful pub lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire puds. It was accompanied by a sublime and peppery parsnip purée . . . and that is definitely how I like my parsnips . . . buttered and creamy. They're pretty good roasted too of course.

There are stores of fruit such as apples and pears. Flat fish are particularly good right now and I am determined to eat more game this year, such as venison and pheasant.

And while I may be suffering the post-holiday doldrums, there is Burns' Night on 25th January to look forward to. Mmmmn, haggis (Macsween's for me) and neeps. While Seville oranges are not British, they brighten up the cooking year and it is certainly traditional to make marmalade or orange curd as soon as they are available. One of my friends recommends drinking the juice in a gin and tonic for an extra fillip. Another way to chase the gloom of January away.

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:
artichokes (Jerusalem), beetroot, broccoli (purple sprouting), Brussels sprouts, Brussels tops, cabbages (various green varieties, red and white), carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, chicory, endive, greens (spring and winter), kale, kohl rabi, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, spinach, squash, swede, turnip

fruit and nuts:
apples (pippins), pears, rhubarb (forced)

meat and game:
beef, chicken, goose (farmed and wild), hare, mallard, mutton, partridge, pheasant, pork, turkey, venison

fish and shellfish:
cockles, cod, crab (brown, cock and hen), haddock, herring, lobster, mussels, plaice, oysters (native and rock), scallops, shrimps

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