With Imbolc (the signal of winter coming to an end) passing by in the early days of February, it’s time to start thinking of Spring. For many, this means warmer weather, and traditionally, it brings about planting, first fruits, berries, the last of the cured meat, and honey. Before mass production, Spring calving meant an influx of dairy products and fresh ingredients. So why not welcome Spring 2018 by introducing these influences into your diet.
Create Spring antipasto course with light cheeses like mozzarella and Red Lester with fresh cherry tomatoes, ciabatta bread and olives. Introduce cured meat with traditional pepperoni and salami, and mix it up and buy capicola too. By mixing in some outside ingredients to an otherwise Italian dish, can make it much more personal to you and your local surroundings, so experiment with fresh and light food and find the perfect mix for you.
At this point in the year, people would be still working through last year’s grain, waiting for the harvest at the end of the summer. And so they would be trying to make what flour they had last, and use seasonal flavours to give it some life. You can do the same by baking fruit bread or banana bread.
Speaking of fresh fruit, Spring brings an influx of berries, so what better time than this season to start making your own preserves. Jam and marmalade are delicious additions to any pantry and are so easy to make and gift to others.
We Americans are known to love our pies. And why should now be any different? Swap pumpkin pies for an apple or blackberry pie. Or try your hand at creating a strawberry tart.
Start thinking of warmer days, and even tropical destinations with a mix of fruit in your smoothies. Combine banana and berries with a layer of mango and pineapple. Again, you’ll find a recipe that is perfect for you, but it’s so much fun trying out the different ideas before you find the right one for you.
For the main course, turn to the Mediterranean for ideas. Roast an array of veg in the oven; shallots, red onion, carrots, courgette and peppers, then create a sauce out of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, coriander and mixed spices. Add chicken or sea bass to the mix with some pasta, and you have a gorgeous dish that everyone will love.
It sounds simple, but during Winter we crave hot, thick drinks like cocoa. And then through Spring and Summer, it’s all about light and refreshing. So get a head start with infused water. You can prepare a jug of it to keep in the fridge or buy a bottle that holds the fruit in a compartment for easy changes. Either way, use different combinations of fresh ingredients to flavour your water. It will be refreshing and will give you the nutrients leached from the fruit.