Posted 1st January 2014 by Celia Lacy
Out with the old, in with the new - January is my favourite time of year to make some serious cooking resolutions. From promising myself to eat more healthily, to vowing I'll cook my own meals at least five times a week, it's a good way to start off the year with a clean slate.
My food budget may be seriously dented after the pinch of Christmas, but I relish the challenge of making food last through a longer month than usual. It's nothing that a weekend of serious batch cooking can't resolve – stocking the freezer with seasonally inspired soups and stews feels very satisfying indeed.
I like to think that January’s best produce is well adjusted to my needs during winter – tasty vegetables for all those freezable, thrifty dishes and bright, tropical fruits to perk me up on chilly, grey days.
Let’s take a look at the lovely produce available this month and a few ways to make the most of it!
The dark, hardy, crinkled green leaves of a Savoy make it an attractive addition to many dishes. It’s not just for bulking up your Sunday roast plate - with a mild, sweet flavour, I love using the leaves to make little chickpea patties, or as a healthy ‘wrap’. Savoy cabbage also triumphs in a soup with some strong meaty flavours.
White sands and hot sunshine may feel a million miles away, but then there is mango. This almond shaped fruit is the perfect partner to Caribbean and Asian dishes – a really easy way to enjoy it is chopped up into a refreshing, tangy salsa to go with a fish or chicken dish. Its fragrant and juicy benefits add a burst of tropical flavour to smoothies too, or simply slice into salads for a layer of fresh colour and sweetness.
Inside a dark purple shell, the passion fruit holds hidden treasure; crunchy, sweet and sharp seeds that add an exciting depth to desserts. It may be January, but in my house it’s never the wrong time of year for a pavlova - add passion fruit, and you have yourself a brighter winter’s day!. Passion fruit seeds are also a refreshing addition to a morning smoothie!
Smoked or unsmoked, meaty haddock is a staple for healthy winter stews and pies. I would suggest you roll it in batter and add chips, but as it’s January I’m going to point you towards some of my healthier go-to haddock dishes. This lovely potato and haddock soup is a lovely light supper idea, as is a filling and tasty kedgeree. If don’t want too much fuss, these fishcakes dipped in a homemade tomato mayo are a fun nod to the chip shop without all the calories.
Delicious peeled and sliced raw into crudités, carrots are superb fast food for healthy days. They do have a habit of collecting in my salad drawer, so grating them into a salad – or indeed onto anything that would welcome some juicy, sweet flavours – is a sensible way to use them up before they go wrinkly. For those batch cooking marathons, you can’t go wrong with this tasty carrot and orange soup - it ticks the box for packed lunches at work, and doubles up as a quick dinner fix to mop up with crusty bread. I’m intrigued by the comforting benefits of this cheesy carrot bake so I’ll be trying this soon – doesn’t it look delicious?
What will you be cooking with these delicious ingredients? Send us a tweet or your yummy photos @TescoFood using #SeasonsBest