Spring is on the approach, and rather than spout all the “new life” and “new beginnings” nonsense that everyone seems to be telling me, I’m panicking. Panicking because it now feels like the end of warming roast dinners, drinking absurd amounts of red wine, Burns’ Night, Christmas…they are all very much in the past to me now.
So to calm myself down I decided to have a look at my must haves for the new season. These are the things that become my essentials. I am also trying desperately to keep a more seasonal kitchen this year, so I wanted to look at the yummy things I could get in without that guilty feeling.
I don’t know why, but I feel weird eating bagels in winter. Something about it just feels wrong. Maybe they’re just a bit too doughy and cold untoasted, and then I find them too crunchy when toasted…I don’t know, it’s probably just me, but I don’t eat bagels in winter. Winter is a time when my life quite literally revolves around when I’m next having a crumpet.
Now that winter is coming to an end, bagels, like weird circular migrating birds, are flocking back to my cupboard, and I couldn’t be happier. These are my fall back for lunches, brunches, or late night snacking, and I’ve become particularly partial to the classic cream cheese and smoked salmon bagel.
2. Citrus fruits
This time of year in the UK is very difficult for fruit. Nothing seems to taste quite right, everything is flown across the globe, and vitamin D is hard to come by.
To that I say – thank God for citrus. At this time of year I need all the healthy vitamins I can get to fight off the lingering flus and colds that haven’t quite gone away, and citrus fruits are a huge help to this. The added bonus is that they’re still just in season; they go wonderfully in a gin and tonic (gin is always in season); and who doesn’t love to treat themselves to some freshly squeezed orange juice when they have the time? There are definitely lots of greens, yellows, and oranges in my kitchen at this time of year.
3. Homemade salad dressing
It is not the time for salad unfortunately, and I try my best to adhere to seasonality with my cooking. I’m afraid to say though that sometimes laziness does win out and I buy a little bag of mixed salad to make up my five a day. I have never managed to find an affordable salad dressing that I absolutely love to go with my salad unfortunately, so I now make sure I always have my own waiting for me in a jam jar in the fridge.
My go to homemade salad dressing is usually a combination of English mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar, the tiniest tiniest dash of olive oil, some lemon juice, some lime juice, and the usual salt and pepper. I’d love to tell you the quantities and the secret ingredient, but I’m on oath to my grandma to keep them until I’m on my deathbed. So you’re not getting another peep out of me. Sorry.
As a kid I absolutely loathed this. Could not stand it. Why would anyone spread something weird green and mushy on toast and enjoy it? Why would anyone go to the lengths of trying to peel one, de-stone it, and slice it for a strange slimy fruit? Why did my mother insist on ruining a nice tomato and mixed leaf salad with this messy outrage?
Then I grew up. I almost want to apologise to ten year old me, because if she saw me now she would be disgusted. I can’t help it though, I see spring as the time to start having long drawn out brunches, and is brunch even possible without mashed avocado on toast? The added bonus here is that I’m told later winter and early spring is when avocado’s are in season. so whenever I eat one I can give myself a pat on the back.
Again I am trying my hardest to keep my kitchen seasonal (beetroot seems to be an all year rounder according to the Vegetarian Society), and isn’t beetroot wonderful? The colour alone is enough to earn beetroot a place I think.
Later in the year I like to have them in a salad, but right now a beetroot and cheese tart made with puff pastry is perfect for making me look forward to summer, and warming me up in the evenings.
I couldn’t leave protein off the list now could I? Perhaps like me you’re still desperately trying to actually achieve something in the gym, and that means a healthy affordable protein source is a must. Salmon also has the added bonus of all those healthy oils.
This fish is pretty much abundant all year round, but there aren’t as many others that are in season at this time of year, so it really is an excellent fish to use at the moment. You certainly won’t find my fridge without smoked salmon in it at the moment, or my freezer without some frozen fillets.
So there you have it, 6 things without which my kitchen would feel incomplete right now. If like me you’re trying to be a little more seasonal with what you’ve got in, then have a look at Direct Seafoods and the Vegetarian Society for a few pointers.
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