April Food

Hello there! It is April and that means real spring is here. Anybody in Scotland or Northern Ireland, of course, will be most bemused by that last sentence. Real spring means that there is plenty of wild food beginning to pop out, though cultivated fruit and vegetables are still a bit thin on the ground. It’s also the end of the game season – there’s really just rabbit and wood pigeon around, though some places have extended the game season for venison.

This month I’m going to try and concentrate on the Fish chapter – I have recently discovered an excellent company called The Fish Society. They sell all the fishy things you’d expect, plus some things that are hard to get hold of. I have made full use of this and received a big order of bloaters, smoked sprats, pike and smoked cod’s roe amongst other things. This is not to say that I have stopped going to Out of the Blue, my favourite fishmonger’s shop, it’s just that some things are not in demand.

Anyways, here’s the list of seasonal foods for April:

Vegetables: broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower, spring and winter greens, lettuce, radishes, sea kale, sorrel, watercress.

Fruit: rhubarb.

Wild greens and herbs: alexanders, chickweed, chives, cow parsley (wild chervil), dandelions, fat hen, hogwood shoots, hop shoots, meadowsweet leaves, nettles, sea kale, sea spinach, sorrel, watercress, wild garlic, wild rocket.

Wild flowers and fruits: primroses

Fungi, nuts and saps: morels, St. George’s mushroom

Fish and shellfish: cockles, crab, oysters, pollack, salmon, sea trout

Game: woodpigeon, rabbit, venison.

March Food

White rabbits!

Yes, the days are getting longer and I have seen sunlight outside working hours, all this must mean it is spring. We had a nice cold winter, but now we’re all a bit sick of it now. The in season list is getting a little more interesting now there are some green things finally appearing in the hedgerows. In particular, I want to try and get my hands on some sea kale, not sure how I’m going to get hold of some. Advice please!

Vegetables: broccoli, cabbages, chicory, spring and winter greens, leeks, sea kale.

Fruit: forced rhubarb.

Wild greens and herbs: alexanders, chickweed, chives, cow parsley (wild chervil), fat hen, nettles, watercress

Wild flowers and fruits: primroses

Fungi, nuts and saps: birch saps

Fish and shellfish: cockles, crab, oysters, pollack, salmon, sea trout

Game: hare

February Food

February is a suitable month for dying. Everything around is dead, the trees black and frozen so that the appearance of green shoots two months hence seems preposterous, the ground hard and cold, the snow dirty, the winter hateful, hanging on too long
Anna Quindlen
Cheer up, love. It ain’t that bad.
Here we are in February. Already. January is famous for taking ages to lug itself through its thirty-one days, not this time though; it has whizzed by and now I find myself in the final winter month before things start picking up for spring. I’ll see how many I can get through this month Grigsoners, but I am busy, busy, busy with the old PhD at the minute. I do have some interesting things up my sleeve though – I just need some spare time!!

Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, Brussels tops and sprouts, cabbages, chicory, endive, spring and winter greens, kale, leeks, lettuce, onions, potatoes, swede.

Fruit: forced rhubarb.

Fish and shellfish: cockles, cod, crab, oysters.

Game: hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, venison, woodpigeon.

Happy New Decade!

Well here we are in a brand-spanking new year, Grigsoners. I hope it is going okay for you so far and that it will continue to do so.

New years and decades mean we think of ways to improve ourselves and this year is no different for me. I have several things that I want to do, but the important one for the blog is to try and empty the cupboards and freezers of all the things I have in store – mallards, hares, bones and carcasses, spice mixes, herbs, cherries, dried apricots and goodness knows what else in the backs of the drawers. I keep buying things – I can’t help it – either in case I need them later, or have bought and used them once and never required them again. I shall report on this, natch.

Here’s my list of seasonal fruit, veg and game as per usual, this time for January of course. It’s getting into the bleak midwinter now so the food shall be hearty.

Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, Brussels tops and sprouts, cabbages, celery, chicory, endive, spring and winter greens, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, swede.

Fruit: pears, forced rhubarb.

Fungi and nuts: chestnuts.

Fish and shellfish: cockles, cod, crab, mussels, oysters, whiting.

Game: goose, hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, venison, woodpigeon.

December Food

Well December is upon us and that means that it’s Crimbo time. It also means I’m bloody freezing cos those wintry northerly winds have already started a-blowing. I don’t mind it really as long as the weather a cold and dry as opposed to cold and wet. Although the in-season list is looking pretty slim for December there’s loads to look forward to that aren’t on the list – dried fruits, preserves and chutney reign supreme at the time. I must admit I wasn’t very prepared this summer and only made some mincemeat, but never mind. After the success of the steak and oyster pudding last month, I might try some more oyster-related recipes.

Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, brussels tops and sprouts, cabbages, carrots, celeriac, celery, endive, spring and winter greens, kale, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, swede, turnips.

Fruit: apples, forced rhubarb.

Fungi and nuts: chestnuts.

Fish and shellfish: cod, crab, mussels, oysters, sea bass, whiting.

Game: goose, grey squirrel, grouse, hare, mallard, pheasant, rabbit, venison, woodpigeon.

November

Well here we are in November, would you believe. When did this happen? I still keep thinking that 2009 happened recently, and now it is nearly over. November, though not full of vibrant fruit and vegetables, is still chock-packed with many of my favourites: the apples and pears are in abundance, and there are many, many varieties. Game is now probably at its very best now. I have bought some hare and mallard already for recipes this month, but at the game stall at the Farmers market at Hoghton there was grey squirrel. I didn’t buy any, but maybe next time.

FYI: The game man, who does allsorts of fantastic stuff, and has been very good to me by getting pheasant giblets for me. His company is called Shaw Meats and they are doing five-bird roasts for Christmas as well as other exciting things. He’s based in Cumbria, but does deliver. Check out the website.

Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, brussels tops, cabbages, cardoons, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, chicory, endive, spring and winter greens, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins and squashes, salsify, swede, turnips.

Fruit: apples, medlars, pears, quince, raspberries.

Wild greens and herbs: nettles, watercress.

Wild flowers and fruits: rosehips, sloes

Fungi and nuts: chestnuts, hedgehog fungus, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, walnuts, blewits.

Fish and shellfish: cod, crab, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, whiting.

Game: goose, grey squirrel, grouse, hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant rabbit, woodpigeon.

October Food

Here we are in Autumn proper, and although there’s still a decent ‘in season’ list, many of the really summery fruit and veg have started to dwindle. However, there is a plus – the fish and game is on the increase, and I really intend to get through a fair few recipes that involve them. I really wanted to cook eel last month and didn’t get a chance, so that is top of the list. I’m off to a farmers Market in a week or two as well – hopefully I’ll bag me a grouse!

Vegetables: beetroot, borlotti beans, broccoli, cabbages, cardoons, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chard, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, peppers and chillies, potatoes, pumpkins and squashes, rocket, salsify, spinach, tomatoes, turnips.

Fruit: apples, grapes, greengages, medlars, pears, quince, raspberries.

Wild greens and herbs: nettles, watercress.

Wild flowers and fruits: bullace, crab apples, damsons, juniper berries, rosehips, rowan berries, sloes

Fungi and nuts: chanterelles, chestnuts, hedgehog fungus, horse mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, parasol mushrooms, puffballs, shaggy inkcap, summer truffles, walnuts, blewits.

Fish and shellfish: cod, crab, eels, lobster, mussels, oyster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, prawns, salmon, scallops, sea bass, sprats, squid, trout.

Game: goose, grey squirrel, grouse, hare, mallard, partridge, rabbit, woodpigeon.