Good Food blog
What’s in season: February
Let’s forget the January diet, it’s cold out and there’s no better way to warm up than to give yourself a food hug with the seasonal foods that February has to offer.
Here's what foods are in season and the best way to eat them.
Get stuck in to cabbages; great cooked with butter, a little water and served with James Martin’s slow-cooked pork shoulder or stir-fried with bacon and garlic. Cauliflower is also at its best, nothing beats smothering with cheese but why not add something more? Try bacon and mustard in a cauliflower gratin, spice in Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian aloo gobi or go all out with a cheese and bacon tart.
Kale is plentiful in February, make a warming winter salad with a simple soy and ginger chicken stir-fry or roast the green leaves and serve with lamb shanks in sherry. The last of the brassicas is swede, an underrated vegetable which is so very versatile, instead of potatoes why not try mashing with carrot for a side order to your sausages or I love this roasted swede wedge recipe sprinkled with thyme and parmesan. Pass the mayo.
We normally associate rhubarb served with custard in a crumble but there’s so much more to the fruit, you could make an easy rhubarb pudding, try a pie, add it to a tart, bake some muffins or even make a trifle - the possibilities are endless! Blood oranges are also in season, tangy and juicy with deep red streaks, they are delicious eaten straight from the peel or why not try Thomasina Miers’ simple recipe of thinly sliced blood oranges caramelised with star anise or an easy granita.
Hardy vegetables such as parsnips and carrots are great during the winter months and ideal for filling dishes that are good for you too. Make a warming winter carrot and ginger soup or if you have a few going spare, why not make a carrot cake too! Parnsips are great baked in the oven, you can make chunky roasted spicy parsnips or even crisps for your lunchbox.
Get your greens
Chicory is like the winter version of a lettuce and just as adaptable. The strong flavours hold their own in this blue cheese, pecan and cranberry salad, the leaves are great eaten raw with hummous for a healthy snack or why not indulge in a ham and chicory gratin; the ultimate in comfort food. The trusty leek is perfect in February, simply sauté in butter for a veggie side dish or add to the mash on top of the Hairy Bikers’ cottage pie, make a risotto with smoked haddock or try Rick Stein’s luxurious yet inexpensive leek cannelloni with lemon thyme.
In February clams, cockles, mussels and oysters are all at their best; get them while they are plentiful and cheap. Oysters are best served in their most pure state with a simple dressing, these oysters served two ways are perfect. Mussels are very easy to cook with; the best way is Raymond Blanc’s moules mariniere – great served with a crusty bread roll to mop up the wonderful juices. Gary Rhodes’ quick and easy linguine with clams and courgettes makes a great midweek meal while you can take your time over Valentine Warner’s cockle and bacon chowder at the weekend.