Last month we were extolling the virtues of ‘farm-to-table’ cooking, something that here in the Langdon Court restaurant we’re passionate about. This month, we’ll be going one step further by telling you just what exactly you should be eating during certain times of the year.
As a population, we’ve become more and more used to hearing the phrase ‘in season’ bandied around by personalities and keen cooks. However, even if we know what it means, do we really know which fruits and vegetables are in season over the course of a year? In an attempt to demystify seasonality, we’ve compiled a simple guide that will help you understand the basics of what’s good to eat and when.
We know it might not always feel like spring in the UK, but by definition the season takes place during the months of March, April, and May. When it comes to fresh produce, think green for spring and you can’t go far wrong. Savoy and spring green cabbage, iron-rich kale and spinach, cucumber, cauliflower, and the much sought after asparagus all make appearances during the three-month period. It’s a vegetarian’s paradise, with nutrient-dense veggies available in abundance. When it’s still a little chillier than it should be in May, grab yourself some seasonal rhubarb and rustle up a warming crumble.
Favourite spring dish: pan-fried asparagus topped with a poached egg and a good twist of black pepper.
June, July, and August mark British Summer Time, and those who eat with the seasons are in for a treat that they’ll have been waiting nine long months for. Some of the previous months’ greens hang over into the summer, but we are also spoiled with a variety of new delicacies. Strawberries, crunchy carrots, peas, cherries, juicy blueberries and raspberries, sweetcorn, Bramley apples, and broad beans are all available during the summer. Eating a plate full of colourful food is so easy during the summer months; you’ll find yourself a salad convert in next to no time. Similarly you’ll want to get your blender out of the cupboard and at the ready, because all of those berries are simply calling out to be blitzed into a refreshing summer smoothie.
Favourite summer dish: crab and sweetcorn chowder.
During a warm September, you’ll still be able to enjoy some of the spoils of August, with the odd plum and squash thrown in for good measure. However, you’ll also be treated to one of autumn’s most delectable morsels: the blackberry. We’re firm believers that an autumn without an afternoon of blackberry picking is no autumn at all. Once you’ve picked your blackberries you can turn your hard work into jam, compote, or a scrumptious pie to be enjoyed after a hearty Sunday roast. It’ll leave you wondering why you ever bother with supermarket-bought berries. One of the main potato crops comes around in October, which means now is the time to enjoy some good old fashioned comfort food. After all, you need those carbohydrates to last you through the colder months, so find a good pie and mash recipe and tuck in!
Favourite autumn dish: guinea fowl, served with dauphinoise potatoes and Savoy cabbage.
In many ways, winter is a mixture of spring and autumn when it comes to the fruit and veg that’s on offer. Potatoes feature quite prominently, as do kale, cabbage, turnip, sweet potato, cauliflower, and the maligned sprout. For a more unusual vegetable option, pick up a celeriac or Jerusalem artichoke and try out some new recipes to fill your kitchen with enticing smells. During the colder months, our bodies are in desperate need of these carbohydrates and dark greens. As far as seafood goes, mussels are in season, which is great news for Langdon Court chefs and diners alike.
Favourite winter dish: pork chops served with a mustard celeriac mash.
Your choice doesn’t have to be limited when you eat with the seasons, and there are so many benefits to seasonal eating. Pledging to only consume food that’s in season is better for the environment, as it means we do not have to import our food from overseas. It also supports our local and national economy, as the money we’re spending goes to British farmers and suppliers. Not only that, but seasonal produce is often better value for the consumer. The more of something we have available to us in the UK, the less a customer has to pay for it.
Most importantly, we believe at Langdon Court that fresh food that’s bought in season simply tastes better. We’ve all had strawberries out of season, only to be disappointed by their lack of sweetness. Similarly, we’ve all had strawberries brought in from abroad, only to complain about how they pale in comparison to the flavoursome British summer crops.
Langdon Court is committed to delivering the very best flavours throughout the year, and to sourcing our produce locally. This is why you’ll find that our restaurant menu changes alongside the seasons, in order to reflect the fruit and vegetables that are in season. This way, our diners are guaranteed not only a sustainable meal, but also one that tastes as delicious as is possible.
If you’re interested in sampling Langdon Court’s current menu, whether that be from the informal Brasserie or the impressive Tasting Menu, then get in touch to book a table.