We’ve turned a corner, in my neck of the woods anyway, and as from Monday kids will be back at school and long weekends will be over until Easter (30th March-2nd April). Now is the time to get serious about eating good food. By that I mean, seasonal produce will never be cheaper, more plentiful and so full of taste. It’s all to do with sunshine. There’s been a lot of it, and while it nearly tipped half the country into drought, a bonus is New Zealand really does become the land of plenty at this time of year.
Blueberries! Yes, at last they have dropped in price. Stock up the freezer while they are cheap. And if you haven’t tried my oil-based blueberry muffins, give them a go. They’re easy to make, and are simply the ‘best-ever’, hence their name. Best-ever Blueberry Muffins and there are notes on blueberries here Blueberries
There is still heaps of corn around, and it is at its best price this month. Sweet corn and pumpkin is delicious accented with musky basil and sharpened with semi-dried tomatoes. It could be time to make a quiche. Sweet Corn Quiche
This is the time of year when you want to let a few coriander and fennel plants run to flower, then to seed so you can harvest the seeds. Fennel seeds are easy to dry, and they are really potent, a great whack of sweet anise flavour which is gorgeous with leafy greens, scattered over a tray bake, added to chicken for barbecuing, that sort of thing. And they are an integral spice of the Indian spice rack. Read all about their uses here, and how to harvest and dry them Fennel seeds
Have you tried cooking a pizza on a barbecue? The result is stunning, nearly as good as one cooked in a wood fired pizza oven in Naples. I say nearly, because a pizza Margherita eaten at a small pizzeria in a back street in Napoli can’t be replicated. But this comes pretty close. No pizza oven required, just a barbecue with a hood, or an oven grill if you like the mozzarella melted and browned. Grilled Pizza
I’ve updated a fabulous salad, Fattoush and fiddled with it to bring the flavours into line, to how I like them, but use the idea to include what you have to hand. Except just don’t call it Fattoush! Do what I do and call it ‘Fattoush My Way’ … it stops people having a paddy about what is or is not authentic (it’s so tiring … we just want to eat delicious food!). Fattoush My Way
I have also left in the Bloody Beer cocktail from last week, the Michelada, because it is so stunning, and a perfect drink for this time of year. It’s got a huge whack of lycopene (antioxidant) from the tomato juice, heaps of vitamin C from fresh lime juice, and, at only half the alcohol content of a regular glass of beer, you can feel virtuous about drinking it (or, live dangerously and have two!). Michelada
Righto. My garden is an absolute mess and those holes for new plants aren’t digging themselves (and the weeds aren’t taking themselves to the tip, either). Get shopping, or cropping if you have a garden full of produce, share with your neighbours, make jam, chutney, dry seeds, EAT, EAT, EAT your way to good health. Veggie time folks.