Sunday, 3 February 2013

What's in Season... February

Last month a quick scan of Paul Waddington's chapter on January in Seasonal Food, thankfully, revealed that there were still some seasonal treats to enjoy to combat the post-Christmas blues.  On closer inspection we discovered that these treats were right under our noses and very easy to produce; hardy winter vegetables and traditional soups and stews. February brings with it a slightly more barren and difficult period in the seasonal food calendar, with no new additions to the table and only a hint of Spring to look forward to. 

If you're not yet fed up of hardy brassicas kale and savoy cabbage, you could spend this month trying to find as many ways as possible to liven up your plate with these versatile winter vegetables. Not one to follow the latest gimmick I've steered well clear of perfecting the 'kale chip' that has been so popular this winter but, if you must give it a try, you can find some interesting recipes online (like this Sea Salt & Paprika variation by Eat Like a Girl). Reminiscent of crispy seaweed, the strong flavours of salt and spice definitely won't go amiss during the cold, often depressing, month of February. Think stir fries, hot and sour broths, and chilli noodles, and you can also transform shredded, seasonal savoy cabbage into a filling, Oriental treat. If you fancy something more traditional, add leftover cabbage to your bubble and squeak for a comforting winter dish, like that being served at the Devonshire Arms in Cambridge alongside their homemade beef stew.

This month we're sad to say goodbye, for the most part, to the wild game season. Hare, partridge and pheasant are all on the way out but, according to Waddington, the odd rabbit or venison dish still makes an appearance on February menus. With little meaty treats on offer at this barren time of year, perhaps now is the time to experiment with a warming rabbit stew. The French certainly know what they're doing with the rabbit: take some tips from this Marseille restaurant and cook the whole rabbit, offal and all, long and slow in a robust and meaty red wine sauce with plenty of herbs. 

Enjoy! :-)