Easter is a time of celebrations and family get-togethers at Lancaster’s best restaurant. It’s a lovely period for food – it is, after all, the holiday most synonymous with springtime and all the wonderful ingredients the season brings.
Lamb is traditional Easter Sunday fare, and there is plenty of inspiration in this collection for a roast to remember. As the shop aisles explode in an array of the sweet stuff, chocolate is something that cannot be neglected when discussing edible Easter treats.
Spring is a truly glorious time of year. Not just because it signals the end of a long, cold winter, but also because it brings a bounty of new ingredients into our kitchens.
The arrival of wild garlic (or ramsons) all over the English countryside. Walk through any wood or forest and you should be able to find some fairly easily – they’re recognisable by their long, green leaves (and little white flowers later on in the season) but most of all, by the unmistakable smell of garlic! After that, we’re treated to all sorts of world-class ingredients, from beautiful stalks of British asparagus to intense, nutty morels, which bring mushroom enthusiasts out of the woodwork come late April and May.
Celebrating the new season’s produce is a fantastic reason in itself to dine with friends and family and with it two Bank Holidays as well as Easter – all perfect opportunities to have a gourmet get-together.
Now in Season – Mussels
Mussels are fantastic right now. Breathe in the tantalizing sea-fresh steam. Savour it. And then get to the task at hand; extracting succulent offerings from gaping shells and soaking up the fragrant broth with pieces of crusty-soft bread for a complete sensory food experience.
March is a bit of an intermittent month. Everyone is waiting for the full bounty of produce that arrives with spring, but it’s still early enough in the year to feel the heels of winter in the air. However, the past few months have been much milder than usual, which has resulted in a few spring favourites cropping up earlier than previous years.
One of these ingredients is wild garlic (or ramsons), which is now growing in woodlands all over the UK – you should be able to smell the flowers if you’re near some.
The first stalks of asparagus are beginning to appear in places like the Wye Valley, but it’s best to wait a few more weeks until they really start to taste their best. In the meantime, stock up on the last of this year’s purple sprouting broccoli, one of the only British-grown greens you can find in the supermarket at the moment.
British-grown chicory is a good choice at this time of year. It’s cultivated in the same way as forced rhubarb – grown in the dark over three weeks – and adds a welcome burst of bitter freshness to seasonal dishes.
Now in Season – Artichokes
As Lancaster’s top restaurant we know that New Year means new beginnings and resolutions and luckily there is also a wealth of lovely fresh produce to look forward to in January.
While we can rely on British soil for vegetables, meat and fish there are no new homegrown fruits in season at this time of year, with the majority of this month’s fresh crop coming from neighbouring countries with warmer climates.
Vegetables include beetroot, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, horseradish, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, potatoes (maincrop), salsify, shallots, swede, truffles (black) and turnips
Fruit include apples, blood oranges, clementines, lemons, oranges, passion fruit, pears, pineapple, pomegranate, rhubarb and satsumas.
Meat include duck, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, partridge, turkey, venison
Fish include clams, cockles, dab, dover sole, gurnard, haddock, halibut, hake, langoustine, lemon sole, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, red mullet, scallops (queen), sea bream, skate, turbot, winkles