what's in season: february

snowdrops in my garden
When the cat lies in the sun in February
She will creep behind the stove in March.

(Traditional English saying)

Clearly whoever came up with that saying had never met my cat; a cat so indolent that she never gets out of bed for anything less than nuclear fusion. (She spends an awful lot of time in bed!)

This morning was beautifully sunny. Definitely cold, but you can almost smell
spring is on the horizon. So if you want to put the drab, dark days of winter behind you and put a little colour into your culinary life, then it is the right time to celebrate rhubarb.

February sees the Rhubarb Festival in Wakefield, heart of the wonderful "Rhubarb Triangle" (weather permitting, again)..And if you think rhubarb is just for puddings (crumbles or perhaps a trifle), then think again. Stewed rhubarb makes a stunning accompaniment for roast pork or lamb.

And while in the mood to celebrate, we've got St Valentine's Day and Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras) on 12 February.

February definitely feels like a soup month. Nothing to heavy, in order to ward off those memories of Christmas gluttony, but soothing enough to scare aware the winter blues. A nice spicy parsnip soup will do nicely I think or perhaps the charm of a celeriac, pear and bacon soup.

Fish are most definitely still going strong in the cold months, delicious poached in a splash of white wine, or a hearty version with chorizo and chickpea stew, served with buttery mashed potato and some leafy greens. Very comforting. And don't forget that mussels are relatively cheap at the moment,as well as being very quick and easy to cook.

And talking of leafy greens, it is the season for kale and various cabbages, as well as leeks and Brussels, which can be easily turned into a satisfying soup or added to mash for a cheerful bubble and squeak, perfect with a leftover roast. Winter root crops are still in season and there are stores of potatoes, apples and pears.

vegetables, herbs and wild greens:

artichokes (Jerusalem), beetroot, broccoli (purple sprouting), Brussels sprouts, Brussels tops, cabbages (various green varieties and white), carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, chicory, endive, greens (spring and winter), kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, potatoes, shallots, spinach, squash, swede, turnips

fruit and nuts:

apples (pippins and russets), pears, rhubarb (forced)

meat and game:

beef, chicken, guinea fowl, hare, mutton, pork, turkey, venison

fish and shellfish:

cockles, cod, crab (brown, cock and hen), haddock, halibut, herring, lobster, mussels, oysters (rock), shrimps


Caroline - All That I'm Eating said...

Lots to look forward to in Feb! I like the saying about the cat.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

Cheers me dear! I nearly posted a picture of the cat (a cat which I might add isn't mine, but my neighbour's, which has adopted me whether I like it or not!) Sadly the cat looked so disgruntled at being woken up that I didn't want her grumpy moment recorded for posterity!

stowell said...

Excellent list of delicious things.Rhubarb is such a good thing and I use it too rarely.

Marmaduke Scarlet said...

I don't use rhubarb often enough either (note to self!) Although a recent attempt to make a delicately flavoured pale pink rhubarb cake was a failure - the flavour was so subtle as to be totally absent and the beautiful pink icing I'd intended was a peculiar shade of mould! Back to the drawing board!