R A RO E Y
G & GRO
Chit ea rly potatoes. WINTER SA L A DS A ND SPROUTING SEEDS If you are short of salads from the garden a great alternative is sprouting seeds. Mung beans, broccoli, fennel and sunflower seeds are all a healthy and tasty bonus at this time of year. Sow lettuces and salad leaves thickly in trays to harvest as cut and come again or as micro greens. CHITTING POTATOES Chit your potatoes to get them ready before planting. Put them eye-ends up in a tray, egg box, or shallow box in a light room and watch them sprout!
It's a good time to think about what you want to grow and where it is going to go this year and to order your seeds.
FROM THE G A R DEN beetroot, Brussels sprouts,
PER ENNI A LS Now until March is the time to prune and plant any fruit trees and bushes. Also, divide perennials to make new plants. Many herbs will divide like this e.g. comfrey, marshmallow, rhubarb and raspberries. To propagate plants from root divisions you wait until all growth has stopped, then dig up and divide the root, making sure each piece has bud(s) and a bit of root skin, then replant.
FROM THE STOR E carrots, celeriac, onions, potatoes,
This time of year you can prepare your veg beds for their future crops and build any new or repair damaged infrastructures like compost bins, water butts, greenhouses, beds and paths.
cabbage, chard, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, parsnips, winter salads (claytonia, corn salad, lambs lettuce, land cress, endive), spinach, turnips pumpkins/squash, apples FROM THE FR EEZER broad beans, broccoli, French
beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HER BS bay, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley
If you have foods in store, check on them and compost any damaged ones.
swede, chard, leeks, kale, beetroot, celeriac, cabbage, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, Brussels sprouts, parsnips
JERUSA LEM A RTICHOKES are easy to cultivate. Experts suggest adding a teaspoon of lovage seeds to your recipe to avoid the natural consequences of eating them!
M A R M A L A DE This is the time of year for Seville oranges. Buy them now and freeze for later. It helps to break down the peel so it's easier to make marmalade! Put them on a tray in the freezer and, when hard, place in a bag so you can take out as many as you want to make marmalade.
FISH crab, mackerel, hake, langoustines GAME roe deer doe, hare, mallard (wild duck)
• use in a winter salad, thinly sliced, raw and mixed with lemon juice, chicory or radicchio and some Anster cheese • steam with a little olive oil, garlic and salt before puréeing for a tomato free pizza topping • roast whole and unpeeled with olive oil.
PA R SNIPS are a veg box staple...so it's a good idea to make friends with them! • steam for 10 mins then oven roast - drizzle a dressing of sesame oil and honey over before serving • grate in a soufflé or bake layered with orange juice • make a spiced soup with cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg.
TRY IT K A LE is a super food rich in vitamins A and C, as well as calcium manganese, iron and copper. Curly, ragged jack, asparagus or black kale (sometimes called Cavolo Nero) are all equally cheap and nutritious. • finely shred in stir fries • steam with a soft poached egg on top • sauté with onion and garlic, sprinkle
with cheese for a pizza • add cream, mustard, juniper and caraway.
Traditionally sea kale is used for this, which is available January to March, but curly kale will also work well. Boil for a few minutes first and then refresh in cold water.
FR ESH MUSSELS The West coast produces excellent sustainably farmed mussels which are so good at this time of year. In the cold of winter, steamed briefly, they are the ultimate fast food.
250g sea kale or curly kale 3 tbsp light olive oil tsp whole grain mustard tsp white wine vinegar pinch caster sugar
Rope grown mussels just need to be rinsed in cold water and you need to remove the little "beard" with a small knife or potato peeler. Any broken or open ones should be discarded.
Wash and trim the sea kale and cut into pieces or cook the curly kale (tough stalk removed) if using. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together and then whisk in the oil to thicken. Season with salt and pepper, toss in the kale and serve.
Sweat a few chopped onions in the pan first with a teaspoon of turmeric then add mussels and cook with a little white wine. Finish with cream.
Prepare your tomato bed with well-rotted manure or compost. Weed beds for asparagus crowns. Now is the time to order or buy onions sets. There is still time to order seed potatoes and other seeds too. Swap seeds with other gardeners. broad beans calabrese summer cabbages (Greyhound) pak choi celery chard perpetual spinach (aka leaf beet)
GER MINATION Lots of plants you sow at this time of year will need to germinate somewhere indoors. Once they have germinated you can prick them out and move them into a protected place outdoors before planting them out.
You can force rhubarb and chicory now. For rhubarb: cover the plant with a plant pot or special forcing pot to exclude light and encourage the succulent first growth. COME AG A IN?
Lettuces can be sown as early as February if you have some cover for them. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from. Cut and come again varieties are great! You can take a few leaves off each plant over a nice long period rather than cutting a whole lettuce.
lettuce peas (Ezethas Krombek Blauwschok) early salads (chervil, mibuna, mizuna, rocket, sorrel)
SUCCESSION SOWING Succession sowing means sowing seeds of the same kind every few weeks. It is most useful for quick growing things like beetroot, salad, spinach and radish. It needs a bit of organisation but, if you can do it, it's brilliant for having a consistent crop and fewer gluts!
FROM THE G A R DEN Brussels sprouts, chard, kale, leeks, parsnips, winter salads (claytonia, corn salad, lambs lettuce, land cress), sea kale, turnips FROM THE STOR E beetroot, carrots, celeriac,
potatoes pumpkins/squash, apples FROM THE FR EEZER broad beans, broccoli,
French beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HER BS bay, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley PR ICKING OUT
Pricking out is moving seedlings from the pot they have germinated in to another larger pot to get bigger. You want to do this when they have set their first leaves. Loosen the soil and pick the individual seedlings up really gently without touching the stem and replant in its new pot or tray.
parsnips, leeks, kale, kohlrabi, chard, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes, rocket, cabbages
ROCKET is peppery and iron rich. • try a pesto style dressing with garlic, oil, and cheese • makes a delicate soup finished with crème fraîche • toss over pizzas still warm from the oven.
FISH mussels, oysters, crab, haddock, hake, langoustine, mackerel GAME rabbit, roe deer doe, mallard, pheasant
TUR NIPS/SWEDES are both delicious winter veg. • • • •
mash with potatoes for a nice peppery edge roast with a drizzle of honey dice or grate raw into salads make smooth soups for warming and nutritious meals.
A PPLES that have been stored may be getting a bit soft so they are best cooked.
go a s can e c u a en or ve s creati up any gre , y t s ta ning A few to live y a w long bles... egeta root v
• add to a potato based soup with curry flavours • sprinkle with sugar, roast and serve with pork • remove the cores, fill with raisins, sugar and a little ground cinnamon and bake
A PPLE R INGS core and slice your apples and thread onto a piece of dowling the width of your oven. Allow to dry in a cooling oven or when something else is cooking, or fix the dowling to cuphooks attached to the ceiling. Make sure the slices are well separated to prevent mould and store in an airtight container. LEEKS are a very versatile vegetable. • thinly slice and fry with onions and use as a base for soufflés or the filling of an omelette • sauté and add with grated cheese to a round shortcrust pastry base for a quick and easy flan • use instead of onion in any recipe • good in a soup or risotto, quiche, or omelette, especially with potatoes or chicken • a classic leek and potato soup is always a winner! Make enough for two days - serve one half chunky and blend the other half to freeze for later.
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start. Whisk 1 egg yolk with a quarter tsp mustard and a tsp lemon juice, until well combined. Then whisking all the time incorporate 100ml olive oil in a thin stream. Season with salt and pepper. You will get a thick spoonable sauce to which you can add all sorts - e.g. crushed garlic, chopped herbs like parsley and tarragon or try chopped capers and parsley for a salsa verde.
COCK-A-LEEKIE Leeks go very well with chicken. If you keep hens and can bear to eat one that has stopped laying, make a traditional cock-aleekie by boiling the bird in a leek broth. Use the leek trimmings and place in a pot with the chicken. Cover with cold water and cook for 2 hours until the meat falls from the bone. Strain the stock into another pan and simmer the rest of the washed and diced leeks for 15 minutes. Add the chicken in pieces and a few dried prunes to sweeten. Season with salt and pepper.
Carrots and parsnips, are fussy! They need a fine, weed-free seed bed. Lots of raking but definitely worth it! If you have broad beans that are ready to plant out harden them off in a sheltered place. French beans celeriac pak choi summer and winter cabbage kale (Nero di Toscana, Ragged Jack) Brussels sprouts
You might have lettuces and peas that are ready to harden off and plant out too.
If you are planting new asparagus crowns now is the time - they need the soil really well weeded! globe a r tichokes onion sets early potatoes, chit maincrop sea kale
Before leaf burst which often happens in March it is the last chance to plant and prune fruit trees and bushes like apples, plums, autumn raspberries and blueberries. Also plant perennials like Jerusalem artichokes and comfrey. HUNGRY G A P From the end of March most autumn fruit and veg that you can store over winter will be used up or have gone off, new crops are on the way but most are not ready yet. This time of year is traditionally known as the hungry gap and is much later in the year than most people realize. Wild food can be a good filler at this time.
FROM THE G A R DEN chard, kale, leeks, parsnips, radish, salads, sea kale, spring greens FROM THE STOR E carrots, celeriac, potatoes FROM THE FR EEZER broad beans, broccoli,
French beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HER BS bay, chives, rosemary, sage, thyme,
parsley WILD H A RVEST nettles, ramsons (wild garlic), sorrel, wild violets, chickweed, dandelion leaves
radish summer salads and herbs (chervil, mibuna, mizuna, rocket, sorrel coriander, dill) spinach tomatoes
spring greens, radish, leeks, carrots, beetroot, chicory, spring onions, carrots, potatoes, onions
WILD G A R LIC or ramsons make a great addition to salads and soups, chopped into fish cakes or pies. You can also use the bulb as a garlic substitute but you will lose your source! SPR ING GR EENS have a central stalk, so when preparing think of the central stalk and the leaves as two separate parts. The stalks need to be finely chopped and will take longer to cook, the leaves will cook very quickly. • • • •
WILD G A R LIC PESTO Finely chop the tender leaves (don't be tempted to blend it), then mix in olive oil, salt and pepper, finely grated cheese and finely chopped pine nuts or sunflower seeds. Store in a jar in the fridge and it will keep for a few weeks.
FISH crab, mackerel, hake GAME roe deer doe
add Chinese flavours and caraway cook in a stir fry with garlic and ginger finely shred and stir through soups, cooking the stalks first use as a substitute for seaweed in Chinese dishes.
WINTER SA L A DS can be eaten every day. A simple homemade salad dressing will enliven the dish. • grate raw root veg like beetroot, celeriac, carrot and cabbage • lightly blanch greens, serve with a dressing and top with toasted seeds or crunchy croutons • mix together a few radishes, finely sliced, 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt, quarter red onion (or spring onions) finely diced, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and season to taste. C A R ROTS that have been stored need to be finished up. • • • • •
cut into chunks and roast with olive oil and a little honey use in soups with a little orange, ginger or caraway eat with dips, raw or lightly steamed mash with swede grate with toasted sunflower seeds and sesame oil.
Take 3 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp wine vinegar, quarter tsp mustard, salt and pepper, put in a jam jar and shake to combine. You can increase quantities and keep in the fridge for a few days. Try it over thinly sliced raw vegetables, or drizzle over lightly steamed veg like spring greens, carrots or leeks. VA R I ATIONS • substitute one part of oil for a highly flavoured oil such as sesame, or a really good virgin olive oil • use a whole grain mustard for a different texture • use a little balsamic vinegar for sweetness • try lemon juice in place of wine vinegar • add some crushed garlic, or a teaspoon of herbs or a little honey (mixed first with the mustard).
M ACKER EL Try wrapping a whole fish in foil with a few herb stalks, a bay leaf and lemon juice. Bake for 20 minutes in a hot oven – delicious hot or leave to cool so that the skin and bones are easy to remove, and scatter over a winter salad. Or mash up the flesh with some yoghurt to make a delicious pâté, serve with toast. Note: mackerel is also great in a stir fry with chard or kale and leeks
Cover your French bean patch with rotted leaf mould or compost. Plant out French beans - be wary of late frosts.
courgettes pumpkin and squash cucumber basil nasturtium calendula
Be careful of a late frost for salads, peas and beans! Sow lots of flowers to attract beneficial insects - poppies, marigolds, cosmos, flower seed mixes.
salads (chervil, mibuna, mizuna, rocket, sorrel, coriander, dill)
You can probably get away with sowing most of the crops that we put in 'sow' last month.
Prick out Brussels sprouts, cabbages and kales, harden them off for a few days outside before planting them out. Protect your young brassicas from the Cabbage White butterfly by covering the young plants with a net. Prick out anything you have sown as soon as it's ready: celeriac, celery, chard, tomatoes. You can put straw around strawberries to keep them off the ground. Now is the time to net your strawberries, cherries, currants or other soft fruit to keep off the birds.
FROM THE G A R DEN chard, salads, spring greens, sea kale, sprouting broccoli, rhubarb FROM THE STOR E celeriac, potatoes FROM THE FR EEZER broad beans, broccoli, French beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HER BS bay, chives, lovage, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme WILD H A RVEST nettles, ramsons (wild garlic), sorrel, hedge garlic, ground elder, hawthorn leaves, violets, chickweed, Good King Henry
Plant out globe artichokes. Plant out perennial herbs like thyme, sage and marjoram.
carrots runner beans
turnips French beans (Eva, Crystal Wax), for drying (Cherokee Trail of Tears)
PROTECTING C A RROTS Early carrots can get really badly munched by carrot root fly. Cover them with a fleece or build a wooden frame at least 50cm high around the plot and then nail the fleece to it to form a wall. This way you can check on them and weed easily.
peas, drying peas (Carlin)
early salads, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, radish, carrots, potatoes, onions
C AULIFLOWER can be steamed, don’t overcook - leave some bite. Try adding a little grated nutmeg once drained. • bake a classic cauliflower cheese with Anster cheese • add strong oriental spices like curry, cumin, chillies, paprika, and ginger • deep fry in a spiced batter • add to a vegetable curry in the last 10 minutes of simmering.
YOUNG NETTLES need to be picked while wearing rubber gloves! Pick the tips, wash thoroughly and use in place of spinach e.g. in a soup - it's delicious and full of iron!
FRUIT rhubarb FISH crab, lobster, mackerel, langoustine GAME roe deer buck
R A DISHES are a delicious wee vegetable, low in calories and cholesterol. • add to a stir fry towards the end • slice with cucumbers and add a spicy dressing • add to a salad with lightly cooked peas or mange tout with a crème fraîche dressing • roast with small potatoes • add to coleslaw with grated carrot and celery then mix with mayonnaise and yoghurt for the dressing. R HUB A R B can be sliced into small batons in salads. A basic compote will keep in the fridge and has loads of uses. Cut into batons and cook gently with a little brown sugar and orange juice or fresh ginger or vanilla essence. • use in place of cranberry sauce with game dishes • use in sticky cakes with a bit of cinnamon • eat with yoghurt • mix with crumbled meringues and whipped cream or custard for a rhubarb Eton mess.
PUR PLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI should be treated like asparagus - lightly steam and serve with an easy butter sauce...
4 large stalks rhubarb 50g brown sugar 2 tsp wholegrain mustard Cut the rhubarb into 2.5cm pieces, wash and shake dry. Place in a pan with the sugar and mustard, stew gently over a low heat until the rhubarb begins to soften, stir occasionally until a textured relish is formed, season with salt and pepper. You can add herbs such as dill which go well with fish like grilled mackerel or trout. Or let it go cold and serve with cold meats.
A QUICK BUTTER SAUCE A very simple buttery sauce can be made by boiling a couple of tablespoons of water in a pan and then whisking in chunks of butter (115g) away from the heat, piece by piece, allowing each bit to incorporate before adding the next. As it cools return to the heat a little and continue to whisk in the chunks, but don’t allow it to get too hot or else the sauce will separate. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste. You will have a delicious creamy sauce for any green veg like asparagus, broccoli or sea kale.
Thin out carrots. Leave the strongest-looking plants with plenty of space. Thin out your leeks if they look overcrowded. Hoe and thin out your parsnips leaving the strongest seedling per group. broccoli (9 star perennial) cauliflower (Maystar) kohlrabi There may still be time to sow things you missed from last month. PLANTING PUMPKINS AND SQUASH You can plant courgettes and pumpkins/squash on last year's compost heap, they love the warmth given off as the compost breaks down.
beetroot carrots kohlrabi spinach salads (chervil, mibuna, mizuna, rocket, sorrel, coriander, dill) turnips French beans runner beans
Prick out and plant out anything that is ready: runner beans, chard, parsley, peas, cucumber and basil. Plant out courgettes and pumpkins/squash. They like a good amount of manure on the bed before planting. Plant out your tomatoes in a sunny patch, ideally under cover to help them ripen.
FROM THE G A R DEN asparagus, cauliflower, chard, lettuce, pak choi, radish, salads, sea kale, rhubarb, early strawberries FROM FR EEZER broad beans, broccoli, French beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HER BS bay, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme WILD H A RVEST chickweed, dandelion, nettles, ramsons, wild sorrel, ground elder, water mint and sweet cicely
Plant out globe artichokes. Plant out sea kale. Start a comfrey/weed bin to be used to feed the plants all summer. Make sure you keep on top of the weeding as things can begin to get a bit out of control this month.
asparagus, broad beans, salads, rocket, radishes, spinach, or chard, spring onions, kohlrabi
SORREL or Surrocks as they are known in Aberdeenshire, grows wild and has a slightly sour, lemony flavour. It's delicious in salads or soups. Try chopped quite finely and cook briefly with a little cream. Serve with grilled brown trout.
rhubarb, cherries, strawberries (just!)
coley, crab, herring, lobster, mackerel, sea trout
G A ME
Roe deer buck, pigeon, rabbit
KOHLR A BI can be eaten without peeling when young and small and has a faint nutty mild turnip flavour. • • • • •
add to soups for a lovely velvety texture cut in strips for a stir fry use grated in salads use instead of apple in a Waldorf salad cut into chunks and roast with lamb.
BROA D BE A NS are extremely versatile. • mix with finely chopped mint and a little olive oil • use in a salad with spring onions or dill • add to a warm salad with caramelised onions and pork (try black pudding or bacon) • add to a frittata • a spicy dip: boil 300g shelled broad beans until tender then purée with a couple of tablespoons of cooking liquor, half a tsp cumin and olive oil to form a smooth purée. SPINACH will make you big and strong! • add at the end of soups • layer in a lasagne instead of pasta • cook and chop as a base for a savoury tart • to freeze: blanch and refresh in cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water, form into small balls and freeze flat on a tray, then pack in a bag to use as you need.
1 large bag broad beans, shelled, 2 large onions, thinly sliced, 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon olive oil Boil the broad beans until tender. Drain and set aside. Warm the oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and stir. Continue to cook for about 10 mins until caramelised. Season with sea salt and pepper. Remove as many of the broad beans as you can from their white shells. Start with the biggest beans, but when it gets too fiddly or you just run out of time, stop. Put the beans and caramelised onions in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more salt and pepper and oil if needed. Serve warm with pasta, potatoes, flat bread or fish. You can also eat cold as a spread for bread, oatcakes or as a sandwich filling. It will keep covered in the fridge for a few days.
A SPA R AGUS has a short season so make the most of it. Trim the stems and steam for a few minutes until you can pierce easily with a knife in the middle of the stalk. • roast on the BBQ for an early taste of summer • cook with fish • eat with the butter sauce from April • steam in a veggie style eggs Benedict with a hollandaise sauce.
Plant out anything that you have left! Squash, leeks, cauliflower, nasturtiums, calendula. SOWING AT MID -SUMMER It is a good idea to avoid sowing things just before mid-summer as they have a tendency to bolt and go to seed. You can either sow at the beginning of June or wait for a few weeks after mid-summer to sow your late salads, radishes and beetroot.
Keep weeding and mulching! Hoe your onions to keep the weeds down. Earth up potatoes. Keep your tomatoes well weeded, begin side-shooting and feeding towards the end of the month.
LOVING YOUR TOM ATOES Side-shooting is pinching out the shoots which are sprouting from between the main stem and another larger shoot, it helps the plant to put more energy into fruit production rather than leaf production. Tomatoes need feeding with something like comfrey liquid, worm juice, nettle feed or weed soup. To make comfrey liquid fill a barrel with comfrey leaves and cut a small hole near the bottom and use a container to catch the liquid. Dilute this liquid to the colour of weak tea and water each plant well.
Harden off and plant out outdoor squash. Thin out kohlrabi. Plant strawberry runners in pots still attached to the plant. Plant out sea kale.
FROM THE G A R DEN asparagus, broad beans, cauliflower, chard, globe artichokes, lettuce, pak choi, peas, radishes, salads, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, first early potatoes, spinach FROM THE FR EEZER broad beans, broccoli, French beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HER BS bay, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, lovage, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme WILD H A RVEST elderflowers, sorrel, roses, watercress
Take cuttings of woody perennial herbs to make new plants.
asparagus, broad beans, courgettes, new potatoes, globe artichokes, broccoli, carrots, salads, spinach, early tomatoes, kohlrabi, French beans, cabbages
ELDER FLOWER S are wonderfully fragrant flowers. LETTUCE will keep longer if still attached to its base in the fridge. The key to a good salad is a mixture of leaves - from the bitter taste of radicchio to the soft and sweet Lollo Rossa or a crunchy Cos. • use additions like bread croûtons or seeds and nuts • make a summer soup with a light flour base and vegetable stock - rocket or other hot leaves are a nice addition. • R E A DY TO E AT: tear the leaves off a few different varieties, put into a sink of cold water and leave to soak for 5 mins to draw out any mud or bugs. Drain carefully and use a salad spinner to gently remove excess water. Bag and keep in the bottom of the fridge.
NEW POTATOES can be used as they are, just wash them. Remember there is no such thing as a new potato after July. • • • • • •
add fresh mint and butter or crème fraîche and dill use in a salad with chopped radishes use as a pizza topping with rosemary & Anster cheese mash with some olive oil, crushed garlic and sea salt skewer and - if you're lucky - cook on the BBQ eat cold with chopped shallots and the dressing from May.
PE A S are wonderful straight from the pod! • add to risottos right at the end • use raw in salads • cook with crispy bacon and little gem lettuces • add to a creamy cheesy sauce and pasta • add to light, summer vegetable soups. Make a stock, add a sprig of mint then liquidise and serve with a dollop of pesto.
E lderf lower Champagne 4 heads of elderflowers, 1.35kg granulated sugar, 4tbsp white wine vinegar, 9.5 litres water, 2 lemons cut in half Save any plastic bottles for this and hang on to the lids!
FRUIT strawberries, gooseberries, cherries, red and black currants. FISH crab, mackerel, sea trout, coley GAME roe deer buck, pigeon, rabbit
Take a clean bucket or plastic barrel and wash thoroughly. Place all the ingredients into it, squeezing the lemons as you add them. Stir to dissolve the sugar and leave covered for 24 hours. Strain and pour into glass bottles and leave in a cool place for 2 weeks. You will get a lovely sparkling drink - but do keep cool because they can explode if it gets too warm! Excellent as a base for fruit salads and of course chilled as a cool drink.
You can do this in the kitchen on a griddle pan or you could cook the broccoli on the BBQ. one head of broccoli (or purple sprouting), 60ml olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 red chilli, thinly sliced or half a teaspoon of dried chillies Boil your broccoli florets for just two minutes then run under cold water. Drain in a colander and set aside until they are totally dry. In a mixing bowl toss the florets in about 1/3 of the oil and heat your griddle pan until it is very hot. Grill the broccoli in batches, turning so they have nice lines on them. In a small saucepan heat the remaining oil, garlic and chillies on a medium heat until the garlic just begins to colour. Pour this mix over the broccoli and toss together well. Serve warm.
SE A TROUT is just coming in to season. It is delicious baked whole in foil, or try it poached and serve cold. To poach, take your fillets and place in a pan with cold water, a tablespoon of wine vinegar, a few peppercorns, a bay leaf and parsley sprigs. Bring gently to the boil then switch off and leave to cool completely. Remove from the stock and store in the fridge, where it will keep for a few days. Delicious with mayo and chopped fresh dill or tarragon. Only eat wild caught sea trout from licensed net fisheries and avoid from November to March.
Weeding and mulching. Thin out beetroot and eat the thinnings. FR EEZING FOR THE FUTUR E
Sow Indoors USE RAINWATER! Rainwater is best for plants and the best use of resources!
Frozen peas and beans are an amazing treat in February, March and April when there is so little coming out of the garden. Most things need to be blanched first in order to keep the colour, flavour and nutrients. Dunk the veg in boiling water for about a minute before draining, bagging and putting in the freezer.
MULCHING Mulching is a great way of keeping down the weeds and keeping the moisture in the soil. It is basically covering up the ground with anything to hand, black plastic, layers of weeds, straw, cardboard or fresh leaves.
COOKING WEE BEETROOT
Baby beetroot thinnings are fiddly and muddy but they can be really tasty. Twist off the leaves and then put the beetroot (mud and all) into a pressure cooker or steamer. Cook for about 20 mins. The baby beetroot then pop really easily out of their skins. Perfect for a warm salad.
Harvest and store garlic at the beginning of the month. Dry in the sun (if you can find it!) and plait to store. You can also eat it green. FROM THE G A R DEN beetroot, broad beans, cabbage, chard, French beans, globe artichokes, lettuce, onions, pak choi, peas, radish, runner beans, salads, early potatoes, spinach, turnips, brambles (cultivated), cherries, black and red currants, gooseberries, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tayberries HER BS basil, bay, chives, dill, fennel, coriander, lemon balm, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme WILD H A RVEST sorrel, wild strawberry, wild raspberries, chanterelles, ceps, roses, blaeberries, samphire
courgettes, tomatoes, green beans, radish, kohlrabi, cucumber, young leeks, broccoli, greens, globe artichoke, sweetcorn, salads, fennel, beans, mange tout, main crop potatoes, turnips
GROUND ELDER tastes a bit like sorrel without the lemony tang. Best collected young and before it flowers from the wild (always wash it). Don't plant it in the garden, as it will take over! Eaten raw it is said to counteract gout! • the young shoots can be cooked quickly in a little butter • steam with fish, as with pak choi (see August) • add to soups like spinach at the last minute and liquidise.
FRUIT strawberries, raspberries, black and red currants, tayberries, greengages FISH mackerel, herring, crab, coley GAME roe deer buck
HER B TE A S These are so easy to make yourself from your
BEETROOT, when fresh is nothing like those pickled in jars and is really worth the effort. Cook a batch then store in the fridge until needed. Scrub the skins and boil whole in a large pot until soft to the knife. The skins will then slip off easily. • slice and serve with a garlicky, yoghurt dressing • roast with balsamic vinegar • grate raw in a salad • make into a dense and earthy soup - add some toasted fennel seeds • use in place of carrot in a carrot cake • for a hummus dip - blend 200g cooked beetroot and a tin of chickpeas or 200g of natural yoghurt with 1 tbsp crushed, toasted cumin seeds, a clove of garlic, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil to loosen.
garden or window sill. They are free, fresh and come with no packaging! All you need to do is take a handful of mint or lemon balm leaves (about 3 or 4 per person) and tear and crush with your hands before pouring over boiling water. Leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before serving. When those summer fruits come in sometimes it's best just to eat them as they are! Nothing too fancy, just amazing, fresh, local fruit.
COURGETTES are a great glut veg this month! • slice lengthwise and blanch and use instead of pasta in a lasagne • make a classic courgette and mint soup • chargrill or cook on the BBQ • grate instead of carrots in a carrot cake - you need to squeeze out any excess moisture after grating • bigger ones (marrows) are best with stronger spicy flavours great in a curry • stuff them with a mix of cooked rice or barley and herbs, then wrap in foil, bake and serve with a tomato sauce • for a roulade - grate and fry gently in oil with some chopped onions, separate eggs and beat in yolks, whisk whites and fold through and pour into lined baking tray and bake. When cold, roll up with a filling of cream cheese flavoured with herbs.
TRY CHERRIES AT BREAKFAST WITH SOME CROWDIE
• blackcurrants with chopped mint and honey served with yoghurt • try strawberries with black pepper or orange segments instead of cream • make the base of a fruit salad with elderflower champagne (see June) and add the fruits liable to discolour first such as apples and pears, then add the strawberries, raspberries and currants. These can be on the top and mixed in at the last minute.
COURGETTES WITH TOM ATOES This is great for when there is a glut of both. Slice tomatoes thinly and slice the courgettes lengthwise, quickly griddle the courgettes to get some brown markings. Layer in a dish with the tomatoes, sprinkling salt and pepper between the layers with some oregano or basil leaves (or dried herbs), grate some Anster cheese and bake briefly under a hot grill.
Cut off the old leaves from pumpkins and squash to help them ripen. Keep side-shooting and feeding your tomatoes.
Watch out for blight on the potatoes. When it reaches more than a few plants cut off the leaves and stems at ground level and burn the tops.
Prune plums only if you need to.
winter salads (claytonia, corn salad, lambs lettuce, land cress)
winter salads (claytonia, corn salad, lambs lettuce, land cress)
onions from seed
Plant out strawberry runners where you want them next year. Weeding and mulching! Prune summer fruiting raspberries. STOR ING C A R ROTS
To store carrots, put a layer of sand in a barrel or box. Put the carrots on top of this so that they are not touching each other then cover them with a layer of sand. Keep going with a layer of sand then carrots until they are all in. Store the box in a cool place.
TAYBERR IES, the local berry of Fife is worth looking out for and make the most perfumed sauce to go with ice cream. You will have to pick your own, as they are not commercially harvested. They are a cross between blackberries and raspberries
R A SPBERR IES can be picked at great pick your own farms across the region.
BR A MBLE foraging makes a great family wild food walk.
M A IN CROP POTATOES can be used in many ways. Ask your veg box supplier to tell you what variety you're getting so you can see if they are waxy or floury.
Harvest and store carrots and onions. FROM THE G A R DEN beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, chard, courgettes, cucumber, French beans, kholrabi, globe artichokes, lettuce, onions, pak choi, peas, potatoes, radish, runner beans, salads, tomatoes, turnips, spinach, early apples, cherries, black and red currants, brambles (cultivated), gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, pears, tayberries FROM THE STOR E garlic HER BS basil, bay, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon balm, lovage, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme WILD H A RVEST brambles, chanterelles, ceps, watercress, sorrel, field mushrooms, gean (wild cherry)
beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, carrots, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, beans, garlic, salads, peas, onions, rocket, tomatoes, sweetcorn, pak choi, potatoes
FRUIT damsons, greengages, plums, apples, pears, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, tayberries
FISH crab, mackerel, coley, plaice GAME hare, pigeon, roe deer doe, rabbit
WA XY ONES steam, use in salads. Cut into chunks and curry with cumin or coriander, a little stock and dried fruit. FLOURY ONES mash, bake or roast. VEG C A KES Cook more mash than you need and make quick fish, herb or veg cakes. Chopped up cooked greens of any kind can be used mixed with potato and seasoning to make a cake. Fry the cakes and put quickly cooked spinach or chard on top with a poached egg for a light meal. GNOCCHI mix 500g mashed potato with 200g plain flour and one egg. Roll out like a sausage and cut off small pieces, roll into small balls in semolina and poach in rolling boiling water until they float to the surface. Serve with a favourite pasta sauce.
BE A NS can be used for all manner of things! You can also use this for raspberries, blackcurrants and brambles. PA K CHOI, bok choy and tatsoi are all the same. They are very quick growing and good in salads when young, giving colour and texture.
200g sweet pastry or shortcrust, 2 large eggs 75ml double cream, 50g caster sugar, 50g ground almonds, 20g melted butter, 350g tayberries
• steam with herring and some sliced ginger and finish with a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil • in a stir fry cook the stems first and then the shredded leaves • add to Chinese style soups or chicken and sweetcorn broth • a whole pak choi will take about 8 minutes to cook by either steaming or boiling in salted water.
Line a 20cm flan tin with the pastry. Turn the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Mix the eggs, cream, sugar and ground almonds in a bowl and then pour in the melted butter. Sprinkle the fruit evenly over the pastry base and pour the mixture over. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.
• eat with a tomato sauce or tossed with crisp bacon and spring onions • the big ones are great used in chutneys such as piccalilli • good tossed in hazelnut oil with whole hazelnuts • blanch in boiling water and refresh; once blanched they will keep in the fridge for a few days. Reheat when needed in butter or olive oil, this keeps their fresh crispness longer. • while they steam, gently fry finely sliced shallots in butter without colouring. Add a little white wine vinegar and toss with your drained beans. Pick runner beans young so that they don’t have too much stringiness to them.
Cut down your asparagus ferns and add compost to the patch. Prepare some ground for overwintering broad beans and peas with compost or leaf mould. spring cabbages
BE A NS FOR DRYING Harvest French beans for drying. Leave pods to dry on plants, then cut whole plants and hang upside down to dry more indoors. Once they are dry, pod them and store them. Save the best for next year’s seed and eat the rest over the winter.
spinach winter salads SEED SAVING Saving seeds increases your independence as a gardener, reduces your costs, preserves the diversity of plants, and makes crops better adapted to your garden. You can start with something relatively simple like kale or peas. For more info the websites Real Seeds and Garden Organic are brilliant. “Back Garden Seed Saving” by Sue Strickland and Seed Savers Handbook are also good.
Increasingly there are seed swaps and organisations that can pass on seeds. The East Kilbride Development Trust is one. These seeds are more suited to Scottish conditions.
Order your garlic. The really Garlicky Garlic Co. is a great Scottish supplier.
J A Z ZY S A L A D S
FROM THE STOR E carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes
calendula, rocket and borage. They taste lovely and look fun.
HER BS basil, bay, chives, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme WILD HARVEST brambles, elderberry, blaeberries, rowan berries, ceps, crab apples, sloes, field mushrooms, rose hips, blackthorn berries
Dry herbs for use over winter. Leaves and flowers can be dried on trays in a warm, dark place, or whole stems can be hung up loosely. leeks, pak choi, beetroot, tomatoes, cauliflower, peas, beans, watercress, carrots, broccoli, fennel, garlic, spinach, cabbages, greens, chard, salads, squash, swede, kale tomatoes, romanesco
CHARD is tougher than spinach and with a longer shelf life is ideal for wilting. on top of a potato cake. • for the stalks, try steaming and serving with a white sauce, adding at the beginning of a stir fry, in a curry or shredded in salads • use the leaves in stir fries or cook quickly in a little butter or blanch briefly and refresh then bake with a cheese sauce. The bigger leaves can be blanched briefly and refreshed to wrap round fish.
mayonnaise – serve with salad and fish • cut raw strips for dips • roast in olive oil. With a mix of other veg it enhances roast pork.
TRY IT WHITE C A BB AGE is great! Don't think of this veg as the boring sister of all the amazing red, green and savoy cabbages. • small ones are great cut in quarters with boiled beef and
dumplings - try adding to stir fries too • a gratin of white cabbage and cheese makes a lovely, simple
side dish • enhance their flavour with a few toasted caraway seeds or some finely chopped dill fronds • coleslaw - finely shred, mix with grated carrot, red apples, raw onion and stir in a light mayo and sultanas. For a spicier version add beansprouts and crushed roasted peanuts to the mix then dress with garlic, Thai fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice and hot pepper jelly.
FRUIT apples, pears, plums, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries FISH crab, coley, mackerel, langoustine, mussels G A ME Roe deer buck, pheasant, rabbit, pigeon, partridge, hare GR EENG AGES A ND DA MSONS can be simply cooked in a little water and sugar - remove the stones afterwards. Mix the resulting purée with equal quantities of custard and cream.
• wash and , with a little water adhering, fry in butter - great
• braise in stock - it's good with lamb • steaming hot slice thinly under trout • add the delicate leaves, finely chopped, to
FROM THE GARDEN beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, chard, courgette, cucumber, Florence fennel, French beans, globe artichokes, lettuce, onions, pak choi, pumpkins/squashes, radish, runner beans, salads, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, apples, brambles (cultivated) raspberries, pears, plums, damsons
You can jazz your salads up with flowers like nasturtium,
CH A NTER ELLES can be found on woodland walks. Take a small knife with you to cut them just at ground level; don’t pull them up as this destroys the growth system. Don’t wash them but lightly wipe with kitchen paper. Remove muddy stalks with a knife. Cut into even pieces or leave small ones whole and fry quickly in butter.
FENNEL gives zingy freshness to salads and fish and warm comfort to roasts - don’t be put off by the pernod and liquorice tag!
Harvest and store maincrop potatoes. Keep them in a cool, dark and dry place in cardboard boxes, paper or hessian sacks.
2kg cabbage, 45g salt, up to 3 tablespoons aromatic seeds such as fennel, celery or caraway (optional) Shred the cabbage. Toss it with the salt (and the seeds if you’re using them). Pack it tightly into a glass or ceramic crock NOT metal), place a clean plate on top and weight it down. Leave it out in a corner of your kitchen. Within 24 hours a brine covering the cabbage should have developed. Press down on the weight from time to time to force out any trapped carbon dioxide. Keep an eye on the brine level - some may evaporate. If the top of the cabbage becomes dry, top up the brine level with a solution of 15g salt in 250g water (boil the water first to sterilise it). The sauerkraut will begin to be tangy after a few days, and ready for eating in about 2 weeks. Once it has softened it will become less pleasant to eat but in cold weather it may continue to improve over several months.
The season starts for Scottish lamb worth waiting for. Grilled lamb cutlets with tomato and fresh herbs 2 lamb cutlets (per person) 1 tbsp Basic Salad Dressing from March 2 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and quartered handful of fresh herbs: oregano, marjoram, basil - finely chopped Take a heavy grill pan or BBQ , season the cutlets and brown over a very high heat on both sides. Reduce heat and place the cutlets on the fat edges to cook thoroughly. Cook for a few minutes more on each side and leave to rest. Mix the tomato pieces in the dressing and combine the herbs. Season and serve with the lamb.
Spread straw around your celeriac as frost protection. Cover any finished compost heaps to prevent the nutrients from leaching out over the winter. Transplant onions grown from seed to final position. spring cabbages
winter salads: (claytonia, corn salad, lambs lettuce, land cress)
It is only worth storing the best undamaged apples. Put them on apple dividers or wrap them with newspaper so they don't touch. Then put them in a dry and cool, but not cold place.
Harvest and store beetroot if getting damaged. Harvest and store pumpkins/squashes. Harden off skins before storing by leaving in the sun or a warm dry kitchen. FROM THE G A R DEN beetroot, cabbage, chard, courgette, cucumber, Florence fennel, French beans, Jerusalem artichokes, kale (best after frost), leeks, pak choi, parsnips, radishes, runner beans, salads, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, brambles (cultivated), raspberries, plums, damsons, quince, medlar
Harvest and store apples FROM THE STOR E carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes HER BS bay, chives, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme WILD H A RVEST elderberry, sloes, rose hips, rowan
berry, horn of plenty, hazelnuts
leeks, pak choi, beetroot, tomatoes, cauliflower, peas, beans, watercress, carrots, broccoli, fennel, garlic, spinach, cabbages, greens, chard, salads, squash, swede, kale tomatoes, romanesco
NA STURTIUM FLOWER S have a lovely peppery flavour and can be added to your salads for great colour. Also, the seeds can be pickled in vinegar and used as capers!
FRUIT apples, pears, quince, medlars FISH mackerel, mussels, oysters, crab GAME roe deer doe, pheasant, rabbit,
pigeon, partridge, hare Note: try a crunchy apple and a piece of Anster cheese instead of pudding
ROM A NESCO are a beautiful green swirly vegetable, sort of a cross between broccoli and cauliflower and can be prepared in ways to suit both.
Grass fed cattle have been out on the pasture for some months. So it's ideal for the BBQ and also in stews and stir fries. Use lots of vegetables with it to make the meat go further.
• blanch or steam and then serve immediately with grated Anster cheese • stir fry with chillies and soy • mix florets in a bowl with a little olive oil, 2 cloves of sliced garlic, sea salt and pepper, spread on a baking tray and grate over some strong, hard cheese. Roast for 20 - 25mins. CUCUMBER is a refreshing vegetable. • pickle with fennel seeds • add a slice of cucumber to a gin and tonic • slice cucumbers at an angle and mix with 1 tbsp caster sugar, 60ml white wine vinegar, 125ml oil, 2 sliced red chillies and chopped coriander • Tzatziki - finely dice a cucumber and sprinkle with salt, leave in a colander for 30 minutes then squeeze out. Add 300ml Greek yoghurt, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 2 tbsp chopped mint and ground pepper. Serve as a dip with veggies and flat breads. TOM ATOES may be in abundance now. Here are some glut ideas. • layer with basil and drizzle with olive oil • store as chutneys and pickles • roast the wee ones at Sunday breakfast with bacon • stuff large ones with wild mushrooms • fry in olive oil, add a green veg and drizzle with balsamic vinegar • blitz really ripe ones in a processor and push through a sieve for a sauce or soup - try gazpacho!
You need to have really good beef here so buy from a farmers market or a good butcher. The skirt is taken from the flank and is not as tender as a sirloin but has great flavour. 4 steaks about 200g each oil and butter Heat a heavy based pan and when hot add a splash of oil and 30g butter. As it fizzles and melts place the steaks in and sear in the butter until brown on both sides. Lower heat and add a little more butter and baste steaks for another 5 minutes, turning over occasionally. Remove from the pan, and allow to rest. Use the juices in the pan boiled up with a glass of red wine to make a little gravy.
APPLES are ripe and ready for harvest. There are more and more apple days happening throughout Fife, allowing you to get your apples pressed into juice. • cook with red cabbage and cider vinegar • thinly slice in salads with celeriac and in coleslaw • puréed cooked apple, yoghurt or cream fraîche with granola makes a quick pudding or breakfast.
Mulch around fruit trees and bushes with straw or cardboard and manure. Clear and mulch growing spaces to get ready for next year.
SEED SAVING PERENNIALS Late autumn and winter is a good time to divide perennials to make new plants. Many herbs will divide like this e.g. comfrey, marshmallow, rhubarb and raspberries. To propagate plants from root divisions you wait until all growth has stopped, then dig up and divide the roots, making sure each piece has bud(s) and a bit of root skin, then replant!
CLEARING THE BEANS When you are clearing away your old pea and bean plants cut them off at the base leaving the roots in the ground. This will leave the nitrogen fixing tubers to fertilize next year's crop. MAKING LEAF MOULD Leaf mould is a soil lifesaver! It is great for improving soil structure and for water retention. Now is the time to rake all the leaves up and put them in a big pile in a corner of the garden, you can build a wire-mesh frame to contain it. Leave it for a year to use as mulch or for two years to use as the basis for your potting compost.
Harvest last tomatoes. FROM THE GARDEN Brussels sprouts, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, chard, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkins/squashes, spinach, radish, turnips, salads, apples, damsons From the store carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, pumpkins, apples Herbs bay, chives, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme Wild harvest sloes, crab apples, shaggy ink cap
black kale (Cavolo Nero), celeriac, parsnip, pumpkin, green kales, butternut squash, kohlrabi, swede, Jerusalem artichoke, Brussels sprouts, spinach chard
ROWA N JELLY goes well with venison and in meat stews in general. Use to finish off a venison stir fry to give a lovely glossy look. 1.5kg rowan berries, wash, and stripped from the stalks 1kg crab apples/cooking apples, washed, halved, bad bits removed, sugar and water
CELER I AC has a coarse skin so cut/peel it off. Roasted it has a lovely nutty flavour and makes a nice addition to vegetable soup - just use less than any other vegetable. Here are a few ideas... • cook with game • purée - best with a few potatoes otherwise it can be watery, and a bit of cream • use to make a great soup, but again add a few potatoes for texture • grate raw with lemon juice as a salad • fry matchsticks for 10 minutes and then mix in olive oil, paprika, cayenne and cinnamon, plus lemon juice to taste • remoulade – peel and cut celeriac into matchsticks, blanch and drain. Mix together juice of lemon, 3 tbsp mustard, 1 tbsp double cream, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, salt and pepper. When celeriac is cool, mix altogether for a great dip.
FRUIT quince, apples, pears FISH coley, crab, eel, hake, herring GAME pheasant, roe deer doe, hare, mallard, partridge
Put berries and apples into a pan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until fruit is soft and pulpy. Pour into a jelly bag and drip overnight. Measure the juice into a jam pan and add 400g sugar for each 500ml juice. Heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar and then boil rapidly for 10 minutes until setting point is reached. Skim and pour into warm jars and cover
is a delicious, cheap and highly nutritious wild food. Roast as you would a chicken but place a couple of rashers of streaky bacon over the breasts first; this helps to keep it from drying out.
TRY IT PUMPKINS make a beautiful decoration until you need food - they will store for weeks. • roast in pieces with rosemary sprigs, garlic cloves and brushed with oil - eat in pieces or add to risotto • use in soups • pumpkin pie • spice it up - chilli goes well with pumpkin in savoury meals and cinnamon compliments it in sweet dishes • fry 1cm pieces of peeled pumpkin in olive oil until lightly browned. Dissolve a tbsp sugar in a tbsp of red wine vinegar. Pour over the pumpkin and season with salt pepper and chopped mint.
2 pheasants, herbs such as thyme or tarragon, 1 apple, 3 tbsp oil, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped stick of celery Stuff the cavity of the pheasants with the herbs and half an apple each. Brown them all over in the oil in a deep casserole, remove and set aside and brown the vegetables. Return the pheasants and add enough water to cover the base, bring to a boil, cover and cook in a medium oven (180°C/350°F/Gas 4) for about an hour, basting occasionally. You can make a gravy with the juices and vegetables by pushing them through a sieve.
OYSTER S If you don't fancy trying them raw then, once opened, add a splash of soy and a touch of honey and grill for a few minutes in the shell.
Check your parsnips and beetroot for pest damage. A good time to order seed catalogues and seeds. CROP ROTATION Rotating crops helps control pests and diseases and maintains the fertility of the soil. You can do a four year rotation, dividing your garden into four plots and planting potatoes in one bed, onions and peas and beans in another, roots in another and cabbages and kales etc. in another. If you only have room for a three year rotation you can put the onions, peas and beans and roots all in together.
Prune trees/bushes: pears, apples, currants, gooseberries, and autumn raspberries before the spring. Plant any new fruit trees and bushes before the spring. COMPOST HE A PS Throughout the year build up your compost heaps with an equal amount of green tender matter like veg peelings and weeds and brown woody matter like paper, cardboard and herbaceous plants. R A INWATER Make use of this normally wet month. Learn how to siphon and set up a rainwater catchment and storage system. Get some water butts and make a funky drainpipe for your shed or glasshouse out of old fizzy drinks bottles – recycled, looks great and works really well.
FROM THE GARDEN beetroot, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, parsnips, spinach, salads, turnips FROM THE STORE carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, pumpkins/squash, apples FROM THE FREEZER broad beans, French beans, peas, runner beans, currants, damsons, plums, raspberries HERBS bay, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley
Brussels sprouts, salsify, turnips, celeriac, kale, beetroot, leeks, spinach, swede, parsnips, cabbages, watercress, Jerusalem artichokes
SPROUTS A R E DELICIOUS - JUST DON ' T OVERCOOK THEM! Remove the old outer leaves and boil in salted water for just 3 minutes. They will be lovely, crunchy and green. The tops are often the tastiest part. Shred finely and use as you would cabbage or kale. • roast with walnuts • cook with fried bacon and chestnuts or melted butter and flaked almonds • finely slice raw in salads • they make an amazing soup! • cut in half, boil for 3 minutes and bake with a cheese and mustard sauce • use leftovers in a bubble and squeak.
SA LSIFY is a delicious nutty flavoured crunchy vegetable. Peel first and boil in water with half a lemon for 20 minutes. Good with game dishes and roast beef. Once cooked... • coat with a little cream, breadcrumbs and grated Anster cheese, grill until browned and bubbling • add to a risotto with mushrooms • cut into pieces and cook gently in butter until golden brown. CHICORY looks like a green or purple tipped torpedo. The lovely bitter leaves make a great winter salad with orange segments and a little dressing. Or keep whole and braise in the fat from roast lamb or pork.
A R BROATH SMOKIES go well with PA R SNIPS. Your fishmonger will remove the bones for you. Roast or boil two whole parsnips until just soft, then slice fairly thinly. Remove the skin from an Arbroath smokie and keep the flesh. Butter a large shallow baking dish and line with a layer of parsnips, sprinkle over some shavings of butter and season with freshly ground black pepper. Then add a layer of the smokie flesh, seasoning with pepper only and top with another layer of sliced parsnips. Pour over 4 tbsp double cream and bake until hot and bubbling.
FRUIT apples, pears FISH crab, coley, hake, mackerel, mussels, oysters G A ME hare, mallard, partridge, pheasant, roe deer doe TUR KEY bones can be used to make a good stock and all the remaining meat will feed everyone on Boxing Day. Try puréeing the sprouts and carrots to add to it to make a fantastic rich broth!
1.75kg veg such as carrots, swede, any stored beans and roots, 750g leeks, 50ml olive oil, tsp turmeric, tsp ground coriander, 65ml water, splash Tabasco, 4 cloves garlic crushed, 150g sultanas, tbsp chopped fennel leaves Cut the vegetables into even-sized chunks. Place in a pan with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes and drain. Cut the leeks into even pieces then wash and fry in the oil to soften, stir in the spices and cook gently. Add the blanched vegetables and a little water along with salt and pepper, Tabasco and garlic, cook for a few minutes then add the remaining water, sultanas and herbs. The veg should still have a bite and the sauce should be lightly thickened.
R ED DEER VENISON is low in fat and, with a grass diet, it is naturally healthier. We associate it with winter - try a stew or slow cooked braised shank - but in fact it's available in Fife year round. In the summer light, simple, grilling is all you need.
This eating and growing guide attempts to join the dots...the top half is seasonal suggestions on what to sow and harvest and the bottom half is what to eat and how. There are far more detailed resources in books and online but this is meant as a daily prompt, a nudge. Stick it up in your kitchen. Sometimes food issues (and life) can seem so complicated. This calendar is meant as a reminder that, although there are some skills in cooking and gardening, it isn't really that complicated ...We hope it's an annual source of inspiration, information and temptation for cooks to grow some more of what they want to eat and for gardeners and growers to eat some more of what they grow ...Joining the dots and re-connecting us with our food and reminding us of the rhythms of the seasons...hopefully this calendar will last for years to come. We've designed it so that people brand new to gardening can choose a veg or two to try out and follow them right through the year, from sowing to eating and for more experienced gardeners as a memory jogger and inspiration. We haven't included every kind of fruit and veg you can grow in Fife; please experiment beyond what's here. Every gardener has things they like to grow at different times and have had different success with so we are probably being biased to things we like to eat and timings that have worked well for us! Everyone's garden is different, in windy and shady gardens plants will take longer to grow and in sunny, sheltered gardens things may be ready earlier. The last frost can be as late as April, so if you are sowing or planting out anything before then it will need to either be indoors (polytunnel, window sill, greenhouse) or protected by a mini tunnel or cloche.
The Fife Diet is supported by the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund
WILD HARVEST Fife's great variety of landscape means that what is abundant on one person's doorstep may sound very exotic to someone in a different part of the region, we've included things here that people have found and enjoyed across Fife. SOME NOTES ON MEAT & GAME We have focussed on listing the most Fife based meat and game - not just listing everything that is seasonally available Scotland or even UK wide. A WORD ON FISH Fish is an impossible thing to give a blanket guide on. For us, sustainability comes before locality and making good choices will take a little bit of leg work. For white fish, explore the less-well known and for oily fish avoid the farmed salmon and try the infinitely more sustainable mackerel and herring instead. For shellfish, skip the imported prawns and try local creel-caught langoustines (although expensive) and crab. Farmed (or cultivated) mussels (West Coast mussels available Jan, Feb, Oct, Nov, Dec) and oysters are both sustainable choices. Probably the best thing you can do is find yourself a knowledgeable fishmonger with a good understanding of sustainable seafood. When purchasing fish do a little bit of research first. The sustainability of the fish you are about to purchase can't be based on species alone and will depend on where and how it was caught too. MSC certified is a good guide - but not the only one. Use the following websites to help: www.fishonline.co.uk www.msc.org
Join us today at www.f ifediet.co.uk Design: nthcreative.co.uk
Fife Diet's guide to seasonal cooking and growing with illustrations (full colour).