If you’re making an effort to eat more seasonally this year, then this is the blog series for you. Each month I’ll try to demystify ‘seasonal eating’ with some simple info on what to eat now, and share some recipes and ideas for how to cook it.
This month, my home cooking is all about stews, soups and British comfort classics; on restaurant menus, I’ve been looking out for root veg, super-sustainable mussels, and hearty venison dishes.
SO WHAT’S IN SEASON IN THE UK IN FEBRUARY?
Look out for UK-grown Apples, Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Celeriac, Chicory, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Pears, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Salsify, Savoy Cabbage, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Squash, Swedes, and White Cabbage.
On the fish front, go for sustainably sourced Mackerel, Oysters, Clams, Mussels, Pollock, Bream and Whiting. I had ‘Moules Mariniere’ for lunch a couple of weeks ago and had almost forgotten how delicious it can be.
Wild Duck, Hare, and Venison are also at their best at the moment; I tried venison with wild mushrooms and celeriac at farm-to-table restaurant The Nutbourne in London(see below).
I felt bad for my husband who wasn’t at dinner with me, so ordered a few steaks for the freezer from Pipers Farm and made my own celeriac gratin. It was almost as good as eating out!
Spotlight on Venison
I’ve chatted to a few meat-eaters who said they would be mortified at the thought of eating ‘Bambi’ for dinner. I wanted to get into that a bit in this month’s post.
Thanks to human interference, deer no longer have any natural predators in the wild (e.g we no longer have wolves in the U.K.). As a result, regular culls have become an essential management tool. If deer numbers get too large, they are bad news for crops – but particularly for woodlands too, as they eat the young new shoots and tree saplings before they have time to establish. This means that British venison is a truly free range meat, unlike the vast majority of animal products eaten in the UK, which is factory farmed. What’s more, studies suggest that venison carries a carbon footprint up to 38% lower than beef.
There is one thing to watch out for though; a decent percentage of the venison sold in Britain is imported from farms in New Zealand – so it’s important that you do check the provenance before you buy.
SIX SEASONAL RECIPES TO TRY THIS MONTH
I’ll be having a go at some of these in my kitchen:
- BBC Good Food’s Mussels with Tomato & Chilli
- My Welsh Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Leeks & Kale
- Riverford’s Linguine with Mushrooms & Parmesan
- My Simple Spiced Squash Soup with Chickpea Croutons
- Olive Magazine’s Venison with Stir Fried Sprouts
- Lazy Cat Kitchen’s Vegan Bourguignon with Celeriac Mash
What seasonal ingredients / dishes will you be cooking this month? Will you consider cooking with venison this month?
Let me know in the comments below, or come for a chat on social at @hungrycityhippy.