January might seem like a bit of a lean month, but there are a few seasonal delights to keep your taste buds interested through the coldest of months. Look out for beautiful brassicas and sweet roots including; kale, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, leeks, celeriacs, beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips and swedes. January is citrus season – look out for: blood and navel oranges, marmalade favourite’s Seville oranges, Italian lemons, late orchard fruiting apples and pears, bright pink forced rhubarb and jewel like pomegranates.


    If you have a greengrocer, support them. Much supermarket fruit and veg comes pre-packed for their convenience (not yours), was picked before it was ripe and stored until the supermarket was ready for it. If you’re buying in season, you will find produce that tastes as it should. The price will be good, too. Look for firm, plump fruits and remember: ripe fruit smells ripe. If it looks wrinkled, is soft or bruised, don’t bother. Veg should look fresh and feel firm. Leaves should be vibrant, not dull.
    (excerpt from Good Food For Your Table: A Grocer’s Guide)


    Our advice is to buy enough for a week and replenish as needed. Modern homes are not designed to store fresh foods beyond the refrigerator. Generally, soft fruits are better chilled, but remove from the fridge an hour before eating for maximum flavour and aroma. Others are best kept in a cool (not cold), dark place. Or in a plentiful bowl of fruit on the countertop. A warning about bananas: they give off ethylene which makes fruit close to ripen more quickly, so store them away from other fruit.
    (excerpt from Good Food For Your Table: A Grocer’s Guide)


    Master the art of tempering chocolate to give your handmade gifts that glossy professional finish. Using a digital thermometer, heat 250g of chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan
    of simmering water to 45C. Then cool to 26C, by gently stirring off the heat on a cool surface. Return to the heat, taking the chocolate up to 30C, then remove immediately. It’s now ready to use.


    To 125g of soft salted butter add 1 tsp each of three complementary
    freshly ground spices. Try nutmeg, cinnamon and dried chilli to finish
    off roasted pumpkin dishes or cardamom seed, turmeric and fenugreek
    seed as a base for spiced rice or curries. Form into a roll, cut into about
    12 portions and store in the fridge or freezer.


    Take a clean bowl and sit it on a damp cloth to avoid movement.
    Whisk two egg yolks at room temperature with a pinch of salt.
    Measure 250ml of light oil, either sunflower , olive or groundnut.
    Very slowly, whisking constantly, pour in a thin stream of the oil.
    Should the mixture split, add 2 tbsp of hot water and continue to
    whisk. Once the oil is incorporated, whisk in 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
    and 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar. Taste for seasoning. Add finely
    grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, 1 tsp of chopped capers, 1 tsp of
    chopped cornichons and chopped dill to serve with fish.