Hurry, Or It’s Gone!
We live in strange times. Seasonality in my cooking is a big thing for me but I have lived long enough now to recognise that the definition of those seasons is becoming increasingly blurred.
This does have some advantages if you are sensitive to the changes. I realised that, in between high winds, heavy rains and even hail storms, there had been sufficient calmer, warmer periods in our garden and in surrounding fields to see the early appearance of fresh ingredients for one of my signature dishes.
The delicate textures, natural colours and stunning flavours of my ‘First Taste of Spring’ recipe were just begging to be brought to life.
I always prepare the first plate of the year with trembling hands. I believe in giving respect to any food ingredients and these deserve even more than most. Their transitory nature means that we have them for a precious, short while.
Botanists among you will enjoy my run-down of some of the plants which joined the throng to create vegetarian joy on a plate.
I have only bothered to find out and learn the Latin names of a few favourites. Their common names are just as magical. I’m sure that some of you will recognise Mumblewort, Pinch the Bishop, Strangleweed, Purple Lovelace and Pennybendover among others.
Gather your own free bounty when it makes itself available. I will not offer the constraints of a formal recipe. This should be a creation with the stamp of your personal expression. It is one offering where pleasing the eye becomes as important as delighting the palate. I have a pair of old candle-wick trimming scissors with which I ceremoniously snip and trim the flowers and stems before arranging them fastidiously on the plate.
Then you must struggle with the difficult task of moving beyond visual appreciation to the eating. I use only finger tips and never mix more than two varieties in my mouth at any one time. Truly delightful.
I rejoice in being able to share this so early in the year. The seasons really do run on apace but I still find it hard to believe that we have only today reached the first day of April!