Seasonal food

These days we can have almost any fresh produce at any time of the year – I’m not that ancient but when I was young we only had strawberry in strawberry growing season, we only had blackberries when we could pick them off the brambles in early autumn, and asparagus when it sprung up in our garden in early summer… Now we can have just about everything we want whenever we want,

I’ve been having a bit of a foodie month and I was looking in a book at seasonal recipes for this time of year and there are some nice hearty warming dishes such as lamb casserole with beans, fisherman’s pie, savoury game pie with venison and  belly pork,  and a creamy cabbage dish which would go nicely with the game pie! For a pudding, in case you should need one after any of those, bread and butter pudding, tutti-fruiti pudding or pineapple pancakes!

This is the introduction to the month’s recipes:

Root vegetables such as maincrop carrots, parsnips and turnips are plentiful this month. They make a meat casserole stretch further as well s adding extra flavour. Winter cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts have replaced fresh salad vegetable and are usually cheaper and in larger supplies.
Eels ,plaice and herring are economical, and scallops are less expensive than in October. The first tiny sprats appear, and skate is also at its best.
The game season is at its height, with snipe and teal to be seen in high-class poulterers’ shops; wild goose and pheasant are also available.
The first clementines, tangerines and satsumas make their appearance, together with Brazil nuts and walnuts. Imported cranberries, from America and Canada, should now be made into jams and jellies ready for turkey in December.

This comes from ‘The Cookery Year’, a Readers’ Digest book; I was given it as a Christmas present in the mid 70’s, and its been in constant use ever since. It was first published in 1973, but even so, the advice given above, although true, is dated – we can get most of the produce mentioned all year round now.

Looking at the lit of contributors makes impressive reading and includes Derek Cooper, Theodora FitzGibbon, Jane Grigson, Ken Lo, Zena Skinner, Katie Stewart and Marika Hanbury Tenison… No wonder it’s such a good book!

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