1. Cavolo nero, grown in Norfolk
All vegetables taste better when they’re fresh, so we are delighted to have found Norfolk grown Tuscan black cabbage, cavolo nero. A dark winter green, it is like kale, with delicious flavour. Easy to cook, you can strip the stalks out or not, as you wish. Steam or cook in rapidly boiling salted water to preserve the colour. Goes very well added into a simple white bean soup, cooked with garlic, and sprinkled with some crunchy bits of bacon to serve.
2. Blood oranges
The supermarkets are marketing these as ‘ruby’ or ‘blush’ but they’ve always been known as blood oranges, a bit gruesome but descriptive of their deep crimson colour. They have an aromatic and sweet, rich orangey flavour. Incredibly luxurious squeezed for breakfast, the juice of one is enough to poach a good handful of pale pink Yorkshire forced rhubarb also just come into season.
Oh dear, healthy grains. But these are nutty and delicious, tiny and packed with protein. Cook using the absorption method, bring to boil and then simmer, with the lid on, one part quinoa to two parts water until the water is absorbed. Takes 12 to 20 minutes depending if you like a softer or more nutty texture. Cooked, you can eat it like rice or couscous, and it’s very nice flavoured with ground cumin, finely chopped spring onion, olive oil and lemon as an accompaniment.
For a wintry nutritious quinoa salad from your cooked grain, add black or green olives, red onion, segments of the seasonal blood orange, maybe a little grated orange rind in the dressing, and some roughly broken chunks of goat’s or soft white cheese (Norton’s Dairy St Swithuns Soft or Mrs Temple’s Wighton). Toasted nuts or pine nuts would be another good addition.