We are half-way through January already, the first of the snowdrops are up and I’m looking forward to Spring, the daffodils and brighter days.
This month I’m aiming to eat more greens in general, spinach (the easiest), kale and Cavolo Nero ( picture below of it growing in my father’s veg patch ) which is another variety of Kale with a really dark green leaf. It is delicious simply boiled until tender ( wash it really well, remove the tough centre stalk and really important put it into water that is fast boiling and salted then cook without the lid on ), strain and really push out the excess water , put it on a warm serving dish and add a generous drizzle of really good olive oil and a nice pinch of salt for a really tasty and nutritious vegetable. This goes with just about anything.
There are still lots of lovely local vegetable around at this time; broccoli, leeks, celery, soup celery, savoy cabbage, sprouts, carrots, cauliflower and from Italy fennel is really great ( I simply slice and roast in a single layer in a hot oven until nicely caramelised ). Also pomegranates are in season and really brighten up a salad. I was delighted to see these growing for the first time in Sicily last year, the trees were planted in the streets in Syracuse, one of the beautiful ancient cities where the ice cream served with brioche was divine.
And then of course citrus fruits; oranges, lemons, blood oranges and and marmalade oranges are all in season now. I made my own marmalade for many years as did my parents. It’s a labour of love and tricky to get the right set but you can’t better home-made marmalade. The Seville oranges are only around for a few weeks so do look out for them.
Carrot, Apple, Fennel & Pomegranate Salad
This is a lovely colourful and healthy salad that will brighten up a winter’s day. Really simple and great for a gathering or to have in your lunch box.
3 red eating apples
1 fennel bulb
Salt and pepper
Wash and peel the carrots. Wash the apples, cut into quarters and remove the core. Wash the fennel and remove the tough upper stalk.
Using the coarse grating blade on a food processor grate the carrots and place in a large serving bowl.
Grate the apples and squeeze over a little lemon juice and toss them in this to prevent discolouration then add to the carrot.
Grate the fennel and add.
When ready to serve drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over, add a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper to taste .
At the end sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top and some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley