February is a peculiar month, just as nights are getting noticeably shorter we have our shortest month of all. It’s time to celebrate the coming of Spring, do a bit of early spring cleaning and look forward to Valentines day (or not).
Vegetables: Continuing the trend from January we still have classic winter veg available in the shape of cabbages, leeks, parsnips, cauliflower, celeriac, turnips and forced rhubarb. Added to that we have chard, spinach, swede and chicory
Fish: Availability is pretty much the same as January, except that Whiting might not be at it’s best at this time of year.
Game: February sees the close of the shooting season for a lot of game. You’ll still be able to obtain pigeon, hare, rabbit and venison though.
Ideas: I’m sticking to winter warmers but I’m also trying to make things a little lighter. I’m doing that by introducing the classic meat and three veg dishes back onto the menu, reducing the pies, hot-pots and stews and re-introducing pasta and rice. I’m using Charlotte potatoes for their flavour alongside other vegetables. Today we had pan-fried beef medallions with a touch of Worcestershire sauce and a bit of spare ale. Last week I did some tomato topped chicken breast – oven cooked chicken breast, sliced, topped with chopped tomato, coriander and mango chutney server with pilau seasoned basmati rice with peas.
However, it’s at this time of the year that anyone who enjoys cooking can put their talents to use and cook up some tasty treats for their loved ones. I’ve recently received a copy of Chocolate Box thanks to one of my brothers and there’s a recipe in there called Brownie Bottom Cheesecake that I think will go perfectly with the heart-shaped tin I have. The only problem I have is preparing it in secret, especially if there’s chocolate involved 😉 Other ideas are peppermint creams, truffles, fudge and chocolate dipped fruit.
Planning Ahead: At the moment I have my eye on purchasing a rather nice looking book about ice creams and one about preserves as I’m thinking about spring and summer. I would welcome any suggestions if you know of better books than these. I’ve already got some ice-lolly moulds which I use with Cola, Ribena, Vimpto or orange juice and plenty of old ice cream tubs lying around (always handy for storing food in the fridge). I’m thinking of picking my own fruit in the spring/summer months, I might make some jams or syrups, or juice a whole load, or just make some nice puddings …. I’m going to stop writing there as this is making me hungry, apart from that I’ve got a nice cup of tea to attend to.