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These days we can sample delicious foods which travelled hundreds and thousands of miles but it is important to remember the incredible local produce we have right here in Yorkshire. Eating local it can bring you a wealth of benefits including delicious tastes, boosted nutritional values, fresher ingredients and you’ll be supporting your local farmers, our economy and reconnect with natures cycles. After all, foods in season contain the nutrients and minerals that our bodies need at certain times of the year.
Largely dependant on the UK weather, spring produce begins to come into season mid to late March. It is at its height throughout April and May before slowly moving into Summer in June. Here are 4 delightful spring dishes, ideal for you to try this season:
Roast Shoulder of Spring Lamb
There are a few meats which are in season throughout spring, but Lamb comes in at the top of the list and it’s Niki’s favourite meat. It is deliciously sweet and tender at this time of year and deserves to be appreciated.
To really make the most of the rich-tasting meat, enjoy a roast shoulder of lamb. By coating the meat with plenty of good quality oil, seasoning and surrounding it with a variety of vegetables such as garlic, onions and carrots you can ensure a tender and deliciously juicy joint of meat. Pour over a tomato and red wine sauce to further bring out the rich flavours of the lamb and save the juices, sauce and vegetables to create a tasty gravy to enjoy with the dish.
Serve with Jersey Royal roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables such as purple sprouting broccoli and spring greens. Arrange your table with the impressive roast shoulder of lamb as the centre piece and allow everyone to tuck in, choosing their favourite vegetables to enjoy it with. If you’re lucky enough to have any lamb leftover it makes a curry or Niki loves to create leftover sandwiches throughout the week.
Yorkshire Rhubarb & Gingernut Cheese Cake
Summer is when fruits really begin to flourish, specifically berries, such as raspberries and strawberries. However, spring sees delicious British fruits come into season, such as Yorkshire Rhubarb and Gooseberries. Rhubarb is quite a versatile fruit and easy to cook with. Rhubarb puree can be used over ice cream, as a syrup, or in a drink as a mixer. Cooked into a crumble it makes a delicious, warming treat for a colder spring evening but another dessert to try this spring is a rhubarb and ginger cheesecake.
The biscuit base for the cheesecake is made with gingernut biscuits, giving it that amazing flavour which compliments the sweet taste of Yorkshire rhubarb so well. The rhubarb puree is mixed into the soft cheese mixture which is placed on top, followed by roasted rhubarb and rhubarb syrup which is drizzled on top of the finished product. Outdoor rhubarb is at its best in April, so it is the perfect time to show off your dessert making skills to your friends. Bring this impressive dessert to a dinner party or keep it as a secret to enjoy for yourself! I know which I would do!
Mid-week pick me up with creamy asparagus
Spring feel like a fresh start and time to get eating more greens. Spring greens include cabbage, kale and broccoli but nothing beats asparagus which is locally grown across North Yorkshire. It can be simply served as a side to a main dish; griddled with butter and sprinkled with salt.
On the other hand, it can be the main event; creamy asparagus pasta uses the stalk of the asparagus mixed with cream to create a full flavoured, indulgent dish which could be enjoyed for either lunch or dinner. It is a perfect dish for a mid week pick me up as it is creamy, comforting and flavourful without being too overpowering. Sprinkle with parmesan to compliment the creamy texture and flavour of the asparagus.
Comforting fish pie
Many varieties of fish are in peak season during the spring months, including delicious shellfish such as crab and prawns, and even lobster as we move into summer. Fish pie is a great way to enjoy these ingredients, but works especially well with Haddock, another spring fish. I do love a fish pie, especially when it’s not quite warm enough just to have a salad.
To create the ultimate fish pie, use jersey royal new potatoes for the topping; either mash them or leave them slightly chunky to create a new, interesting texture. A creamy filling complimented by a buttery potato topping makes a great family dinner and is an excellent way to include some spring vegetables on the side or even in the filling. The best thing about a fish pie is it can be prepared ahead of time meaning it is great for those with busy lives – like me!
Don’t fancy cooking?
Ok, if you’re like me cooking isn’t always something you want to do but I still want to enjoy local produce. So, to really make the most of the incredible seasonal and local produce, you may want to enjoy a night off from cooking and experience what a local restaurant has to offer.
The 3 AA Rosette Hudsons restaurant at The Grand, York offers an unforgettable culinary experience. You can opt for the tasting menu with so many great seasonal options to choose from and the vast benefits from eating locally too.
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