Spring has sprung. Hurrah.
And we are so ready to feel some warm sunshine, to see the grass growing again and to shed the gloves, scarves and beanies for another twelve months. And yes, also to start cooking lighter dishes to share in the garden or at least with the kitchen doors thrown open. So to celebrate the new season I’m really excited to be offering a nice little deal on my book; Local is Lovely. I’ve even put together ten Spring menus from said publication; from easy dinner parties to picnics, kitchen suppers for cool Spring nights and even food for cheering and nourishing us and our friends when things aren’t going all that well. Because I honestly think that preparing simple, good food is one of the best ways to show people how much you love them. Anyhoo…
So here’s the deal; instead of the book’s usual RRP of $35 plus $10 postage, for the month of September cost will be just $30 with free postage, wrapped and signed too (if you like – please just indicate in the comments section of the checkout page). To purchase please CLICK HERE.
And here below, are ten menus I’ve put together that I hope will inspire newcomers to the book and those who already have it, to celebrate spring with me in the best possible way – cooking and sharing lovely food together.
Sunny Sunday Brunch (above)
One of the easiest and nicest ways to entertain – add a few pots of coffee and tea to this menu and you’re all set for a perfect Sunday.
Honey granola pg 32
Walnut bread, pg 180
Crumpets with salted honey butter, pg 35
Make head dinner for a crowd
Pile up the plates, double the recipes and celebrate the new season with a casual, easy dinner (this menu doesn’t need you to even set the table properly, serve the lamb on the couscous in bowls, set everything up on the kitchen bench and invite your mates to perch where they can).
Goat’s cheese fritters, pg 19
Slow-roasted lamb shoulder with currants and pine nuts, pg 9
Israeli couscous with hazlenuts, pg 171
Honey and apple mint ice cream pg 37
This is the perfect time of year for picnics – not too hot, nor cold. No flies or snakes and lots of green grass upon which to lay a rug. So send out a group invite to all your mates, farm out a few of the dishes below and spend a perfect Spring day in the sunshine.
Lamb, quince and almond sausage rolls pg 10
Honey and harissa chicken legs with minted yogurt sauce, pg 31
Ricotta loaf, pg 17
Spring quiche pg 49
Duck egg sponge with rose petals pg 50
Walnut and chocolate biscuits, pg 147
Easy Dinner Party
Dinner parties seem to be rare events these days, or in our world at least. I think we’ve all been frightened away from ‘formal entertaining’ because the standards set by cooking shows etc are just too stressful and high… So instead we catch up with friends over early dinners with kids, picnics or the odd meal at our local pub. And while that’s all fun, I also think it’s time to bring the dinner party back! It doesn’t have to be a fancy-pants degustation, just good, seasonal and tasty food served at a table set nicely for a few friends. After the little people go to bed! This menu really is super easy and pretty much everything can be prepared well in advance.
Parmesan cheese biscuits, pg 20
One-pot chicken with brown rice and leeks, pg 195
Steamed green beans with lemon and almond butter sauce, pg 233
Gran’s almond cake pg 233, with caramelised rosemary oranges pg 189 and cold cream
Spring lunch in the garden
Drag a table outside, throw over a nice cloth and invite everyone for a late lunch. Can I come?
Quick venison carpaccio with horseradish cream pg 153
Garlic and parmesan bread, pg 99
Market salad with fresh feta, pg 23
Rhubarb frangipane tart (just swap the figs with rhubarb), pg 79
Kitchen supper for a cool Spring night
This is actually my favourite way to have friends over. A big tray of something warm bubbling away in the oven. A kitchen bench set simply and a pass-around dessert that asks no washing up.
Kathy Snowball’s macaroni cheese with spinach, pg 25
Rocket and pear salad and a few bunches of ripe cherry tomatoes on the side.
Torrone di mandorle (almond toffee) pg 145 and blood oranges dipped in dark chocolate pg 189
Little mugs of carrot, ginger and honey soup, pg 29
Trout and blood orange salad with almond sauce pg 196
Apple and ginger iced tea, pg 125
Frozen rhubarb and orange yogurt, pg 218
Morning tea at the park
A great way to spend a warm Spring morning, so bake a cake and spread out the picnic rug.
Buttermilk and ginger loaf with lemon icing pg 199
Rhubarb, orange and almond cake pg 91
Afternoon tea for little people after a big day
I’d love to say that I take my kids home from school every day to an afternoon tea like this. Most days we are running between sport lessons and other commitments. But sometimes I get all my work done and make the below for Alice and Tom. And we all feel very good about it.
Rhubarb soup with doll bread, pg 183
Warm spelt, banana and strawberry muffins pg 234
Food for cheering up and nourishing the sad and/or unwell.
Sometimes things just go wrong in the worst possible way and you loose somebody you love. And sometimes things go wrong in a smaller way but it still hurts, like when your little girl comes home with a tear-streaked face after a horrible day at school or doing homework with your five-year old, who’d much rather be playing Lego, makes you want to headbutt the wall. And sometimes the burden of bills to pay, animals to feed and businesses to keep afloat is just all a bit too much thank you very much. These are all times when a steaming hot bowl of something nourishing can only but help, even a little.
On the flip side, sometimes beautiful things happen like your sister of friends have a baby and need nourishing food more than ever right now, even though they’re just too tired to cook. These are times to cook food like this. Simple, undemanding, nourishing and good.
Alice’s chicken soup, pg 230 (hot chicken broth with shredded chicken, greens, lemon juice and noodles – perfect comfort food).
White risotto, pg 230 (demands nothing of your palate but tastes simple and good nonetheless and with a green salad on the side is just the ticket for a night when you just need a bowl of something, a bath and bed).
Cheddar and vegetable slice, pg 17 (super handy to have on hand for school lunches or your own).
Everyday butter cake, pg 235; (a solid comforting cake that will sit happily on the bench and be there when well-wishers come to call).
Rhubarb crumble with cinnamon custard pg 215 (crumble and custard….say no more).