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Food

In season: what to cook and eat in February

by Abigail Spooner
In season: what to cook and eat in February
Image: Martin Poole

It may feel like the last miserable slog of winter, but you needn’t wait for the arrival of spring to cook and eat with an abundance of varied produce. Read on for February’s seasonal highlights and recipes to inspire you…

Blood oranges

This sunny citrus fruit is guaranteed to cheer up what is otherwise a cold and dark time of year. Imported from Spain and Italy, blood oranges are only available for a short season, roughly from January to March, and their flavour is slightly tarter than regular oranges. Their beautiful crimson flesh makes them prime candidates for showstopping cakes and desserts, or simply enjoy them as they are.

Image: Maja Smend
Image: Maja Smend

Try it

Upside-down blood orange pudding

Blood oranges take centre stage in this warming weekend pud… just add clotted cream or ice cream.

Rhubarb

Forced rhubarb comes into season in January, and its vibrant pink stalks are another welcome burst of colour and flavour. While still tart, it’s sweeter than outdoor rhubarb, requiring minimal cooking and less added sugar. Crumbles are an obvious and undeniably delicious choice, but rhubarb works wonders in all manner of recipes, from fools and cheesecakes to jams and chutneys. Or why not try pairing it with mackerel or pork for a savoury spin?

Image: Ant Duncan
Image: Ant Duncan

Try it

White chocolate and rhubarb tart

Sharp rhubarb is the perfect contrast to creamy white chocolate in this beautiful tart.

Purple sprouting broccoli

For those craving something green and fresh after the starchy vegetables of winter, step forward purple sprouting broccoli. More slender and leafy than conventional broccoli, the purple-green florets turn bright green once cooked. PSB is full of goodness, including vitamins A and C, iron and the phytochemical sulforaphane, which is thought to reduce the risk of cancer. It’s best cooked until just tender, either by steaming, roasting or briefly boiling.

Image: Maja Smend
Image: Maja Smend

Try it

Purple sprouting broccoli tagliatelle

A blue cheese sauce, sage and hazelnuts take PSB to new heights in this comforting pasta dish. Plus, it’s ready in just 20 minutes.

Kale

Packed full of nutrients, this leafy veg thrives during the colder months and descends from the same ancestry as cabbage. Commonly served as a side dish, either sautéed, boiled or steamed, kale can also be stirred into risottos, soups and pasta dishes. To reap the most goodness, try eating kale raw in salads; it’s worth massaging the leaves between your fingers with a dressing to break down some of the fibres and make it more palatable. Alternatively, blitz into your morning smoothie for a dose of vitamin C.

Image: Stuart West
Image: Stuart West

Try it

Pasta e fagioli

Inspired by the classic Italian soup, this is hearty bowl food at its best.

Turnips

Winter root veg is still thriving in February and the humble turnip deserves more of the limelight. With a peppery, slightly sweet flavour, this cream-coloured root is delicious sliced into gratins, diced into casseroles or mashed with potatoes for a comforting side dish. The most common type of turnip is mostly white-skinned apart from the upper part which rises above the ground and is purple or greenish where the sun has hit.

Image: Maja Smend
Image: Maja Smend

Try it

Cheesy turnip and walnut gratin

This golden and bubbling gratin makes a moreishly good Sunday roast side. 

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