Sicilian Tarocco Fire Oranges    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       MARCH      Through February, British-grown hardy brassicas and winter stores of root crops have been essentials in our kitchens.  The pink and red stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, vibrant Radicchio leaves and fragrant Sicilian Citrus brought colour to our lives in what has turned out to be a truly wintery scene.  As I write, heavy snow is falling.  Here in London, sturdy boots and warm scarves and hats are essential.  Even southern Europe hasn’t been spared this winter.      In March, to add to our greens and roots, we are at our most reliant on southern Europe whose milder temperatures give their farmers a head-start over our own growers.  We turn to South Africa and South America for a few items.  This month we would normally expect the first of our supplies of deliciously sweet peas, tender broad beans, pungent wild garlic leaves and juicy wet garlic to propel us into spring.  The latest blast of cold, when even Rome has been blanketed in snow, comes just as they are raising early spring crops in southern Europe.  Spare a thought for growers here in Britain and throughout the rest of Europe right now.   

Sicilian Tarocco Fire Oranges

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

MARCH

 

Through February, British-grown hardy brassicas and winter stores of root crops have been essentials in our kitchens.  The pink and red stems of Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, vibrant Radicchio leaves and fragrant Sicilian Citrus brought colour to our lives in what has turned out to be a truly wintery scene.  As I write, heavy snow is falling.  Here in London, sturdy boots and warm scarves and hats are essential.  Even southern Europe hasn’t been spared this winter. 

 

In March, to add to our greens and roots, we are at our most reliant on southern Europe whose milder temperatures give their farmers a head-start over our own growers.  We turn to South Africa and South America for a few items.  This month we would normally expect the first of our supplies of deliciously sweet peas, tender broad beans, pungent wild garlic leaves and juicy wet garlic to propel us into spring.  The latest blast of cold, when even Rome has been blanketed in snow, comes just as they are raising early spring crops in southern Europe.  Spare a thought for growers here in Britain and throughout the rest of Europe right now.

 

  Sardinian Spiky Artichokes    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands         We are very proud of our  Citrus,  much of it untreated and directly sourced from Sicily.  Crates of  Leafy Lemons , juicy  Navel Oranges ,  Tarocco   Oranges ,  Pink Grapefruits  and highly-perfumed  Mandarins  have been delivered in increasing variety since late December.  Last week  Kumquats  arrived and we hope for more red-fleshed  Moro   Oranges .        At the beginning of March here at Puntarelle & Co we have:      British  Brassicas  including  Savoy Cabbage , green and purple hued  January King , blistered-leaved  Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero ,  Kale ,  Brussels Sprouts  and  Brussels Tops , and  Purple Sprouting Broccoli .  We have  Kohlrabi  too.  For Roots, which store well, there are  Jerusalem Artichokes ,  Beetroot ,  Turnips ,  Swede,   Celeriac ,  Potatoes  and  Carrots .   Leeks , which are happy in cold ground, are still coming in from the fields.    Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb  is reaching its peak.  Its stalks are a little thicker and more deeply coloured now, and are tasting at their best.   Untreated Sicilian Citrus  in the form of  Leafy     Lemons , juicy  Tarocco   Oranges ,  Pink Grapefruits , sweet  Mandarins Nova  and common Mandarins.    We have a small number of highly-coloured  Tarocco Fire Oranges   this week.  And, via the Milan market, we have  Bergamots  and  Cedro .  There may be snow on the ground but this week sees the first  Broad Beans ,  Fresh Peas ,  Wild Asparagus , cultivated  Purple Asparagus  from warmer climes.  We have  Minestra Cabbage  and  Broccolo di Bassano  from Italy.  There is vitamin and mineral packed Italian  Spinach  and  Chard  and colourful bitter-leaved heads of  Radicchio .  There’s  Puntarelle Chicory  and  Cime di Rapa  too.  Crunchy, juicy  Agretti/Monk’s Beard  continues, an excellent accompaniment to fish or simply blanched and tossed in anchovy butter.   Spiky Sardinian Artichokes  and globes of  Romaneschi Artichokes  are still with us and, this week, we have the medium-sized  Tema Artichokes  and the small purple  Petit Violet Artichokes  too.    There are Pale green Italian  Courgettes , crisp  Radish , and crunchy red  Tropea Onions .  Providing tasty  Tomatoes    through winter is a challenge but the green seasonal  Marinda  and salty, crunchy  Camone  are welcome, and they are at their best now.   A small amount of  Wild Garlic Leaves , as these have been affected by the weather.  We also have some wonderfully fleshy, semi-dried  Black Olives  from Italy this week.   

Sardinian Spiky Artichokes

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

 

We are very proud of our Citrus, much of it untreated and directly sourced from Sicily.  Crates of Leafy Lemons, juicy Navel Oranges, Tarocco Oranges, Pink Grapefruits and highly-perfumed Mandarins have been delivered in increasing variety since late December.  Last week Kumquats arrived and we hope for more red-fleshed Moro Oranges.  

 

At the beginning of March here at Puntarelle & Co we have:

 

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, green and purple hued January King, blistered-leaved Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli.  We have Kohlrabi too.

For Roots, which store well, there are Jerusalem Artichokes, Beetroot, Turnips, Swede, Celeriac, Potatoes and CarrotsLeeks, which are happy in cold ground, are still coming in from the fields. 

Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb is reaching its peak.  Its stalks are a little thicker and more deeply coloured now, and are tasting at their best.

Untreated Sicilian Citrus in the form of Leafy Lemons, juicy Tarocco Oranges, Pink Grapefruits, sweet Mandarins Nova and common Mandarins.  We have a small number of highly-coloured Tarocco Fire Oranges  this week.  And, via the Milan market, we have Bergamots and Cedro.

There may be snow on the ground but this week sees the first Broad Beans, Fresh Peas, Wild Asparagus, cultivated Purple Asparagus from warmer climes.  We have Minestra Cabbage and Broccolo di Bassano from Italy.

There is vitamin and mineral packed Italian Spinach and Chard and colourful bitter-leaved heads of Radicchio.  There’s Puntarelle Chicory and Cime di Rapa too.

Crunchy, juicy Agretti/Monk’s Beard continues, an excellent accompaniment to fish or simply blanched and tossed in anchovy butter.

Spiky Sardinian Artichokes and globes of Romaneschi Artichokes are still with us and, this week, we have the medium-sized Tema Artichokes and the small purple Petit Violet Artichokes too.  

There are Pale green Italian Courgettes, crisp Radish, and crunchy red Tropea Onions.

Providing tasty Tomatoes through winter is a challenge but the green seasonal Marinda and salty, crunchy Camone are welcome, and they are at their best now. 

A small amount of Wild Garlic Leaves, as these have been affected by the weather.

We also have some wonderfully fleshy, semi-dried Black Olives from Italy this week.

 

  Pink Radicchio – La Rosa del Veneto    Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands       So, what can we look forward to in the month of March (weather permitting)?      The first  Wet Garlic  from France and Italy.  English and French  Wild Garlic leaves  – sparse until it recovers from this cold spell.    Early  Broad Beans ,  Fresh Peas ,  Wild Asparagus , cultivated  Purple Asparagus ,  Minestra Cabbage  and  Broccolo di Bassano  from Italy.  Fragrant  Candonga Strawberries  from Italy and  Gariguette Strawberries  from France .    The last of the  Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb , its stalks thicker and more deeply coloured but tasting at its best.  Pale green Italian  Courgettes  and deep red, crunchy  Tropea Onions .   Untreated Sicilian and other Italian Citrus .  Expect  Lemons,   oranges ,  Bergamots  and  Cedro .    British  Brassicas  including  Savoy Cabbage , green and purple hued  January King , blistered-leaved  Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero ,  Kale ,  Brussels Sprouts  and  Brussels Tops , and  Purple Sprouting Broccoli  should be with us throughout.  English-grown  Jerusalem Artichokes .  They store well and so continue to be available, as do  Beetroot ,  Turnips ,  Swede,   Celeriac ,  Potatoes  and  Carrots .  English  Leeks  too.  Italian  Spinach ,  Chard ,  Cime di Rapa  and members of the  Chicory  family, along with colourful bitter-leaved  Radicchio .  Crunchy, juicy  Agretti/Monk’s Beard  will be around all through the month, excellent with fish or simply blanched and tossed in anchovy butter.  Expect to see  Spiky Sardinian Artichokes , globes of  Romaneschi Artichokes , medium-sized  Tema Artichokes , the small purple  Petit Violet   Artichokes  and  Piccolo Artichokes  too.    Providing tasty  Tomatoes    at this time of year is a challenge but the winter  Marinda  and salty, crunchy  Camone  continue and are at their best now.  By the end of the month we hope to have some tasty new season hot-house varieties arriving.  Stimulating, iron-rich spring  Nettles  should be arriving   from France soon, possibly before the end of the month.   Expect early    Jersey Royal Potatoes  and the French  Ile de Ré  and  Noirmoutier Potatoes .  All coastal-grown roots that bring a welcome rush of earthy salinity at this time of year.   Spring onions    should   start to arrive this month and, there could be home-grown  Radishes .  We may see the first    Morel Mushrooms  - usually the first come from Canada, followed by Turkish ones.

Pink Radicchio – La Rosa del Veneto

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

 

So, what can we look forward to in the month of March (weather permitting)?

 

The first Wet Garlic from France and Italy.

English and French Wild Garlic leaves – sparse until it recovers from this cold spell.  

Early Broad Beans, Fresh Peas, Wild Asparagus, cultivated Purple Asparagus, Minestra Cabbage and Broccolo di Bassano from Italy.  Fragrant Candonga Strawberries from Italy and Gariguette Strawberries from France .  

The last of the Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, its stalks thicker and more deeply coloured but tasting at its best.

Pale green Italian Courgettes and deep red, crunchy Tropea Onions.

Untreated Sicilian and other Italian Citrus.  Expect Lemons, oranges, Bergamots and Cedro.  

British Brassicas including Savoy Cabbage, green and purple hued January King, blistered-leaved Black Cabbage/Cavolo Nero, Kale, Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Tops, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli should be with us throughout.

English-grown Jerusalem Artichokes.  They store well and so continue to be available, as do Beetroot, Turnips, Swede, Celeriac, Potatoes and Carrots.  English Leeks too.

Italian Spinach, Chard, Cime di Rapa and members of the Chicory family, along with colourful bitter-leaved Radicchio.

Crunchy, juicy Agretti/Monk’s Beard will be around all through the month, excellent with fish or simply blanched and tossed in anchovy butter.

Expect to see Spiky Sardinian Artichokes, globes of Romaneschi Artichokes, medium-sized Tema Artichokes, the small purple Petit Violet Artichokes and Piccolo Artichokes too.  

Providing tasty Tomatoes at this time of year is a challenge but the winter Marinda and salty, crunchy Camone continue and are at their best now.  By the end of the month we hope to have some tasty new season hot-house varieties arriving.

Stimulating, iron-rich spring Nettles should be arriving from France soon, possibly before the end of the month. 

Expect early Jersey Royal Potatoes and the French Ile de Ré and Noirmoutier Potatoes.  All coastal-grown roots that bring a welcome rush of earthy salinity at this time of year.

Spring onions should start to arrive this month and, there could be home-grown Radishes.

We may see the first Morel Mushrooms - usually the first come from Canada, followed by Turkish ones.

  London Fermentary Water Kefirs    Photo ©Puntarelle&Co     NEW on our shelves:       Right now our seasonal  Water Kefirs  take advantage of the fantastic winter fruits that are coming through our doors.  These include Yorkshire Rhubarb, Sicilian Blood Orange and Sicilian Wonder Mandarin.  As those of you who are familiar with our Water Kefirs know, there is much more to them than their beautiful jewel-like colours.  Apart from being delicious, these unpasteurised fermented drinks bring beneficial micro-organisms, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a slightly sour, zingy, low-sugar form.  More about our range of Fermented products at:  www.londonfermentary.com    

London Fermentary Water Kefirs

Photo ©Puntarelle&Co

NEW on our shelves:    

Right now our seasonal Water Kefirs take advantage of the fantastic winter fruits that are coming through our doors.  These include Yorkshire Rhubarb, Sicilian Blood Orange and Sicilian Wonder Mandarin.  As those of you who are familiar with our Water Kefirs know, there is much more to them than their beautiful jewel-like colours.  Apart from being delicious, these unpasteurised fermented drinks bring beneficial micro-organisms, B vitamins, minerals and enzymes in a slightly sour, zingy, low-sugar form.  More about our range of Fermented products at: www.londonfermentary.com

 

  Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands    If you need a little inspiration for what to cook in March, here’s a suggestion:    Greens, bacon, cream & mustard    (Serves 4)   Ingredients:  500g of greens - broccoli, kale, kalettes, sprout tops or cabbage, washed and cut into manageable pieces  200g bacon (smoked or unsmoked), cut into small pieces  100ml single or double cream  2 tablespoons of grain mustard  Salt and pepper to season  Method:   Bring a pan of water to the boil and add salt.  Add the greens and cook until just tender.  Drain and plunge into iced water then drain.  Put aside.    Fry the bacon pieces until crisp.  Add the cooked greens, tossing them in the bacon fat until nicely coated.      On a low heat, add the cream and the mustard, and season with salt and pepper, mixing everything well.      Serve with bread for mopping up the juices.    

Photo ©Evie Saffron Strands

If you need a little inspiration for what to cook in March, here’s a suggestion:

Greens, bacon, cream & mustard

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

500g of greens - broccoli, kale, kalettes, sprout tops or cabbage, washed and cut into manageable pieces

200g bacon (smoked or unsmoked), cut into small pieces

100ml single or double cream

2 tablespoons of grain mustard

Salt and pepper to season

Method:

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add salt.  Add the greens and cook until just tender.  Drain and plunge into iced water then drain.  Put aside.

Fry the bacon pieces until crisp.  Add the cooked greens, tossing them in the bacon fat until nicely coated.  

On a low heat, add the cream and the mustard, and season with salt and pepper, mixing everything well.  

Serve with bread for mopping up the juices.