Make the most of spring’s finest and freshest produce
With the days getting longer, we all enjoy being more active and it’s a great time of year to make changes to our lifestyle. As the weather warms up we move away from heartier warm dishes into lighter cooking techniques and vibrant new season fruit and vegetables, which is exciting as it leaves so much room for creativity.
Spring is a great time to grow some herbs in your own garden or backyard. Herbs don’t need much space; you don’t even need a garden! In fact, you can start with a few pots on a windowsill or in a small sunny corner on your balcony. There is nothing like eating something you have grown at home. It’s very rewarding and you can’t get any fresher!
At the markets look for vibrant fresh colours in the leaves and stems of vegetables, firm skin and flesh – if you feel dents or soft bruising in areas then it is likely it has been damaged in transportation or has been in storage for a long period. Farmers markets are the optimal place to purchase fresh produce as they often have better turnover and therefore fresher products.
Trust your senses when choosing your fruit and vegetables and be creative with your ingredient lists this spring!
Asparagus is my favourite vegetable for salads, bursting into season at spring it is amazing served raw or lightly blanched, packed with nutrients and works wonderfully with smoked fish, steamed chicken or as the hero in a powerhouse vegetarian meal!
Garden peas are often over looked and considered boring but they are wonderful in salads or with any main meal dish, loaded with vitamins and minerals they are well worth the effort of shelling them from the pod and lightly cooking them in boiling water.
Fennel is the latest of the “superfoods” due to its hefty nutritional profile. Chefs love fennel because it’s versatile and it tastes different depending on how it’s cooked or prepared. It caramelises when you roast it, lovely finely shaved raw, pickled fennel is brilliant and lightly boiled with your steamed vegetables it’s all delicious!
Flat leaf parsley is my absolute favourite herb; it is so easy to grow and it makes for an excellent salad leaf. Being nutrient rich in Vitamin K and Iron, teamed up with the leafy green dietary fibre and this common herb becomes something really special.
Start the day right and add some parsley to your morning green breakfast smoothie:
Green power drink
- 100g baby spinach
- 400ml fresh orange juice
- 50-80g parsley
- 1 teaspoon lucuma powder (if available)
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy!
By Executive Chef James Knight