Feb – Mar
February /March aren’t the most prolific of months for seasonal produce especially locally, caught between winter and spring they can begin to merge, and a few constant mild weeks bring spring ever closer.
Still with winter cabbages, cauliflowers as well as roots, there are some little beauties that are bursting through such as purple sprouting from Chidham which, in my opinion, is shoulder to shoulder with asparagus as a delicate with yards of flavour, in a tart, with a poached egg or siding for a robust steak & kidney pudding, also from Chidham sprout tops are at their best.
First of the wild garlic and spring nettles are now being foraged along with sea shore vegetables such Alexander and purslane.
Portobello mushrooms from Storrington have the best flavour, grilled with butter and thyme they are genius on a thick slice of farmhouse toast.
Fish wise local mackerel are still strong and sea trout are plump and early, and also some really good rays are at the market, some sole about but like Plaice still fat with roe (though I personally feel they have the best flavour in that state). Mussels are waning slightly, but crab is on the up so won’t be long.
Venison and mutton are swapping the top spot and guineafowl is a delicious alternative.
My choice of seasonal cheese this month would be Pitchfork Cheddar from the makers of Gorwydd Caerphilly (one of my favourites) .
Cloth bound and still under development its pact with flavour with a little nutty acidity like a 12-month Montgomery .
And of course, Stichelton blue, hugely complex but in all the right ways I think it’s best in the spring time.
Watch out for the first of the Jersey royals as they start to appear this week.
Mylo (Head Chef – The Blacksmiths)