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Leeks rhubarb and seasonal seafood

Sun, 17 February, 2019

Christmas – long forgotten; Valentine’s Day has been and gone; it looks like winter has given up – now what? The air smells like Easter should be coming soon, soon, very soon but this year is contrary: we have now well over two months to wait for any kind of holiday. Or for spring food.

One harbinger so far of the new season is forced rhubarb so let’s make some rhubarb compote for a week of fruit and oats breakfast bowls; don’t let the ‘summer’ in the recipe title put you off. And rhubarb really makes the best ever fruit fool, if you’re in search of dessert this week.

But there is quite enough seasonal produce to choose from if you want to, even in bleak February, so I just completely don’t understand why would you need to pick up (air-flown, wrapped in plastic to boot) South American asparagus. Wait for the local ones for goodness' sake; they’ll taste incomparably better.

Some vegetables are around all year – mysteriously to me, a townie born and bred. I saw a field of leeks the other day, looking perky and ready for picking in the middle of February. That reminded me that I must make the leek and mushroom pasta bake soon – and you could too. Or use leeks unconventionally raw in a slaw/salad, to go with pork katsu for instance.

I always forget that seafood is seasonal as well: if you find some red mullet at the fish stall you can’t fail to get it; grilled red mullet is absolutely gorgeous. And if the letter ‘r’ is still in the name of the month, mussels should be eaten: grilled with black pudding for example or simply curried.

Last not least, meat dishes for those who do meal prep at the weekend: chicken and mozzarella parcels could be tempting for you. Prep, pack up and freeze or chill if they’re to be cooked the next day. For those who are far too spontaneous to prep, stir fries are an ideal solution. Crispy minced pork with noodles is ready in 20 minutes; sizzling beef in 15 and any leftover rice can be transformed into vegetable fried rice on the next day.

Bring on spring; I want a hot cross bun. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter: cheddar beer bread rolls and baked rice with mushrooms coming soon!