Minty March


Continuing the theme of monthly availability I’m looking ahead to March.  It’s one of those months that just seems to pass just as quickly as February for me.  It’s the month when I start looking at camping trips and walks in the hills, which are usually associated with packed lunches and eating out.

Vegetables : Winter vegetables start to give shelf space away to spring vegetables in March with the introduction of fresh Mint, Beetroot, Parsley, Broccoli, Sorrel and Watercress.  You can still get hold of quality cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and rhubarb for a while yet so there’s plenty to choose from.

Fish: Halibut, Herring, Sardines and Lemon Sole are good at this time of year, you can still find the usual fare though you might find it difficult to get quality Haddock or Cod.  March is the time of year when some fish start to spawn so this can affect quality and availability.

Game : Not much change here from February, best waiting for April/May to come round for better quality Pigeon and Quail.

Ideas : Minted Lamb ….. but you’ll have to buy from abroad (the UK season isn’t until May) but it’ll taste a lot nicer with fresh mint.  I love sardines, but I tend to either just have them with a BBQ, on toast or just served up next to a jacket potato topped with butter and cheese.  When I do sardines on toast, I don’t just do toast with sardines on top.  I put the sardines in a bowl, boneless preferably, add a little vinegar and some tomato sauce and mash it into a paste with a fork whilst the toast is cooking.  Meanwhile slice some salad tomatoes, add some parsley and keep a sprig for decoration.  Once the toast is nearly ready you can spread the sardine paste on one side and add the tomatoes and cook a little under the grill for a minute or two.  If you’re going to grill it then do it when the side you’re grilling isn’t quite ready otherwise you risk burning the crust.  Top with the sprig of parsley and a slice of lemon, and serve with fresh iced water or fruit juice.

How does this one sound? … Boiled potatoes lightly tossed with a little melted butter, chopped mint & parsley served with grilled sardines on a bed of grated beetroot.  Sardines and mint go quite nicely with beetroot, so you could do a sardine and beetroot pate, or a beetroot and mint salad.  I have to admit I don’t do a lot of cooking with beetroot, so March might just be an experimental month for me.

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