Five ways to eat the seasons

Our cookery editor Local Mum Renee Davis gives us some tips on cooking food that is in currently season

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1) Melt a large knob of butter or tbsp of olive oil over a med high heat in a large saucepan. Sauté half a finely chopped leek until soft, then add a handful each of shredded cabbage and kale, season to taste. Reduce the heat to med-low and cook with the lid on for 5-10 mins. Great accompaniment to any veggie, meat or fish dish.

2) For a delicious alternative to potato fries try using swedeinstead. Peel and wash the swede, then cut into inch thick matchsticks. Coat generously with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in a hot oven (180-190 degrees) for half an hour. If you are watching your salt and pepper intake season with dried mixed herbs instead.

3) Although more labour intensive than opening a bag of mixed leaves, for a fab winter salad or coleslaw base usetwo parts grated beetroot, to one part celeriac and pear.Wash, peel and grate your fruit and veg, then top with good quality balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a handful of mixed seeds.

4) Give field mushrooms a good clean, then cut into large chunky strips and coat generously with equal parts sesame oil, soya sauce (tamari for gluten free) and honey. Fry over a med heat for 5-10 mins and use as a meat substitute.

5) Get prepared for Christmas! Melt a large knob of butter or tbsp of olive oil over a med high heat and sauté half a finely chopped leek until soft. Add a handful of shreddedred cabbage, a tbsp of mulled wine spices, the zest of a clementine and a large glass of red wine. Simmer on a low heat with the lid to the saucepan gently resting on the top but not fully closed until all the alcohol has evaporated. Store in the freezer and use on Xmas day.

For a great source of local seasonal veg check out Sutton Community Farm


March is a great month - Spring is officially in the air, the sun is finally shining, its getting a little warmer outside and the seasonal veg is just  fabulous here in the UK. According to the Eat Seasonably calendar the best of the bunch are leeks, kale, cauliflower, savoy cabbage and spring greens. So much potential not to mention goodness. Here are five ways to get your 5-a-day. 

- fry a finely chopped leek over a med-high heat in a little butter or olive oil until soft. Season to taste and add a handful each of finely shredded cabbage and spring greens. Turn the heat down low and cook with the lid on for about ten mins. Delicious side for any meat, fish or veggie dish. 

- don't discard cauliflower leaves! Thoroughly wash, then chop them up and use in stir fries, curries or as a main side dish following the instructions above.  

-  instead of potatoes, try cauliflower mash instead. Chop up a whole head cauliflower into florets, place in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for 5-10 mins over a high heat until tender then drain, return to pan and mash as you would potatoes. Season and add a little butter, cream or cheese to taste. 

- when roasting up a tray of veg, add a handful of kale at the end for amazing kale chips. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and season to taste then roast for the last five mins with the other veg. Make sure you set a timer though, as much longer than five mins and they will burn.   

- sauerkraut is a great way to preserve cabbage when it's at its best, and contains friendly gut bacteria so is very good for you. Sterilise a large glass jar and fill it with finely shredded cabbage. Sprinkle with a tbsp of sea salt and a tbsp of sugar then fill almost to the top with boiling water. Leave to ferment in a warm place for at least a month, and store in the fridge once opened. 


Summer is a wonderful time for British produce, with many tasty fruit and veggies at their very best. If you’re stuck for inspiration over what to do with what, here are a few simple ideas. 

Rhubarb: Most of us have horrible memories from our childhood involving eating unripe too-sharp rhubarb, but if you use it when it’s bright pink you shouldn’t have to sweeten it too much. My simple rhubarb fool will take you just a few minutes to prepare. (to serve four) stew 250g rhubarb with a little unrefined dark muscovado sugar. Once cool arrange into bowls or glasses, top with double cream and a sprinkling of mixed seeds or chopped nuts. 

Berries: Everyone loves strawberries and cream, but how about doing something a little different? Chocolate pots are super easy and always go down a storm. (to serve four) melt 200g good quality dark chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir in 200ml double cream, divide into bowls or glasses and leave to cool in the fridge. Once you are ready to serve top with a layer of freshly chopped strawberries or raspberries. 

Make the most of all the lovely lettuce that’s around by having salads for lunch instead of sandwiches. Top with British tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and leftover roasted meat or veg. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a very satisfying meal.

Marrow: don’t be afraid, these are just extra large courgettes. Dice them up with some onions and aubergines, season, drizzle with olive oil and roast them in a pre-heated oven for half an hour. Add to curries, stir fries or your lunchtime salad.  

Spinach: I love the green stuff and cannot get enough of it, but I know not everyone shares my enthusiasm. Add a handful to your banana smoothie next time you’re in the mood for one to give it a massive iron boost. For pure indulgence add a tbsp cocoa powder and a tsp honey and have yourself a fab thick shake. Test it out on the kids, I bet they have no idea!  

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