With the days getting lighter and the weather hopefully warmer, with it welcomes an abundance of wonderful and fresh ingredients. As we move into spring our food preferences tend to change from the comforting and heavier foods of the colder months to more vibrant and lighter meals of spring/summer.
Eating seasonally is a great way to take advantage of the produce when in its prime. During the springtime we’re spoilt with an array of beautiful fresh ingredients like the ones below, so it’s easy to impress your dinner party guests.
Asparagus comes into season in the UK from around late April/May time up until July. It has a deep and intense flavour that complements many dishes, especially when it’s treated very simply with a few carefully selected ingredients.
You may have a love-hate relationship with this particular vegetable due to its inherent aniseed flavour. However, when cooked this strong flavour mellows and works perfectly with pork like this Pork and Fennel Tray Bake or shredded finely to add to salads.
Tray bakes are so quick and easy to make that they have become one of my favourite midweek meals to cook for the family. Everything is cooked in one tray, so it saves on the washing up too!
The tender meat of spring lamb is often served over the Easter period. There are many different cuts from the saddle, leg, shank, and rump, which can be used in various dishes. Lamb goes well with mint, which would be perfect with a roast lamb dinner.
Lamb mince also goes well with Chinese spices like these Asian Lamb Lettuce Wraps. I make these as a healthier starter for a homemade Chinese meal instead of ordering from the takeaway. They’re great for sharing with family or guests at a dinner party and incredibly easy to make.
From the same family as the cucumber and squash, courgettes have a meek and mild flavour. Don’t let this put you off; it’s actually an advantage because they can be added to lots of dishes without overpowering the rest of the ingredients. Additionally, this makes them a great “bulking up” vegetables because they can be pretty much added to anything to increase the nutritional content of the food.
Also, they are great for making zoodles and getting an extra portion of vegetables into your meals. These Honey and Chilli Prawns take only 10 minutes to make. This dish makes a lovely fresh and light dinner option and the combination of flavours really works. Since it’s ready in 10 minutes flat I always make sure that I have these ingredients in for the times when I’m not in the mood to cook.
Like asparagus, spring greens taste the best when they are treated simply. They’re fantastic sautéed in the pan with some butter, rock salt and cracked brown pepper as an easy and speedy side dish.
Eating seasonally not only makes the ingredients taste even more delicious, but it’s budget friendly and kinder to the environment too. There is so much UK based produce available as we head into spring that it’s a wonderful time to make the most of it and get stuck in!
Jemma Andrew-Adiamah is a freelancer, wellbeing coach and blogger behind Celery & Cupcakes. Through her blog, she hopes to inspire women to find their version of balance and live their best life.