what's in season: january

cobbles and puddles!
To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June.  
Jean-Paul Sartre 1905-80

Not such a bleak mid winter this year although we've had our fair share of wind and rain. I know for certain that the seasons are all a bit havey-cavey as I have a summer hollyhock in flower in my north London garden! But despite the milder weather, I still love comforting winter food and of course there are still fresh seasonal foods that are good to eat.

British root vegetables are in season to turn into hearty warming dishes such as a traditional beef and ale stew or a pie served with a mountain of mashed potato and buttered greens.. Or what about a soothing potato and cheese pie?

Winter suits my urge to make soup. Or perhaps it's the other way around. But either way, I find soup making very therapeutic - a very good way to get rid of winter blues and post holiday angst! Nothing like chopping vegetables and giving food a blitz in the blender to grind out all my seasonal anguish. My favourite soup of all time is probably a knobbly celeriac with Stilton cheese (although most blue cheeses will do). I love the comfort of homemade soup, especially if it is accompanied by some homemade sourdough bread - try out the spicy parsnip soup for a bit of a taste kick too.

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; which sounds like a fabulous 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

4 comments:

  1. Love all your suggestions for heart warming winter meals.
    Even if wintery weather hasn't arrived...yet,the days are dark and short and we need all the comfort we can get to come out healthy (body and mind) at the other end. xxx...x

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  2. You're so right! At the moment, London is so grey that I am need in a big bowl of cheesey mash with some kind of stew - guaranteed to cheer me up!

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  3. I enjoy a what's in season update because it's a gentle reminder. The weather is to be embraced this January after the ice age we had to endure last year!

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  4. Even in Portugal where the sun is shining, the nights are cold and comfort foods like hearty pies and mash are a joy.Thank you for reminding me about the marmalade must get to work.Our Seville orange tree hasn´t borne so much fruit this year,Still enough for a few jars though.Your seasonal updates are alovely reminder of days back home.Thank you.

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