Spring is fast approaching and we’ve had some glorious days already. February might seem bleak on the fruit and vegetable front but actually there are lovely things in season now if you look out for them. Blood oranges from Sicily and Spain, great for eating, juicing and sorbet. The first of the purple sprouting broccoli is appearing. Look out for locally grown, firm, fresh stems. The easiest ( and most delicious ) way to cook purple sprouting broccoli is to simply trim it and then plunge it into boiling salted water and cook until just tender, this will only take a few minutes. Strain and serve with a liberal dousing of really good olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
You can find the lovely pale pink forced rhubarb from Yorkshire in the shops now and while aesthetically pleasing the more robust, local outdoor rhubarb is just as tasty and is fast coming up in the garden now. Great for the classic crumble and rhubarb tart but also wonderful made into an ice cream or sorbet; rhubarb and ginger scones are also a favourite of mine, not to mention trifle.