Spring is in full throttle and the gorgeous bouts of sunshine, punctuated with short showers, are the perfect recipe for bountiful harvests of warm-weather fruits and vegetables. Here’s what’s coming up in May, as well as some tips on how to make the most of this luscious produce…
From the land…
* Coming into their best towards the end of the month.
From the sea…
Spotlight On: May's Most Divine
The clean, divine flavour of succulent, juicy apricots is utterly irresistible. A cool, versatile and portable fruit, they are best enjoyed on romantic picnics, in decadent desserts, or wholesome chutneys with ripe Brie and crusty bread. For a simple delight, delicately poach and serve with double cream.
The finest apricots are tree-ripened (they don’t ripen after they’re picked), so farmers’ markets generally have the cream of the crop. Colour isn’t always the most reliable guide to flavour, but pale varieties are best avoided, and always avoid wrinkled or blemished skins. Give them a soft squeeze - the flesh should feel quite firm but still have a little tantalising give.
With its distinct, intense savoury flavour, asparagus is considered to be one of the culinary delights of late spring. Whilst it’s available all year round in the supermarket, the real deal - fresh-cut and found in farmer’s markets in April/May - is the asparagus that will make you go weak at the knees. It is earthy, sweet and really quite divine. Hence, it's worth tracking down the freshest crop you can. If you can buy asparagus from the person who's actually grown it, you are on to an absolute winner.
This sweet, sexy superfood has high levels of vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and calcium. So seek out those melt-in-the-mouth spears while you can and feast! When choosing your spears look for tightly furled and perky, rather than limp, and the shoots should be straight and firm.
Try using perfectly cooked spears to dunk heartily into soft-boiled eggs.
Whilst crab is, admittedly, fiddly to prepare and perhaps slightly less fashionable than lobster, it’s also gorgeously sweeter, more delicately flavoured – and perfect for dinner parties in May. Seasonality is vital when choosing your crab – and, if boiling live – you must ensure the water is at least as salty as the ocean they came from. We recommend buying unpasteurised specimens, and “putting them to sleep” in the freezer for up to an hour before steaming for 15 minutes plus two minutes for every 100g.
LET'S MAKE A DATE
August will see South Devon celebrating the crab. A variety of crab events will be taking place across the region. Find out more…
Mint has always been held in high regard – the Romans ate mint in the belief that it increased intelligence. Today, it is often used to make mint sauce and mint tea is a firm favourite with our naughty afternoon teas. However, by far the most divine use is in mojitos. Muddled to perfection, they are refreshing zingy – a popular guilty pleasure.
For a delicious heady delight, follow these simple steps:
Take a long drink cocktail class and place 2 or 3 wedges of lime in the bottom.
Pick 8-10 mint leaves, choosing ones that are bright green and perky.
Use a muddler to muddle the mint and lime together – bruising the leaves and juicing the limes.
Top your glass with crushed ice and add 50cl Bacardi.
Add a teaspoon of brown sugar and a das of gomme syrup to sweeten.
Add a dash of Angostura bitter and top with soda water.
Mix with a long spoon, garnish with a lime wedge and mint head... and enjoy!
Our charming and talented mixologists can create taste sensations from just a shaker, muddler and a large measure of creative inspiration. Join us for a fun cocktail making masterclass and teach you how to expertly shake three different cocktails. Find out more…
Peas in the pod are a scrumptious, crunchy, healthy snack. One cup of peas has just 41 calories and is packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. When buying fresh peas, look for bright green pods that swell with their contents, these will have the freshest, sweetest flavour. Avoid peas that rattle in their shell. This is an indication that they have dried out. Peas are beautiful and vibrant when served in a coarse purée with lightly griddled scallops.
Peas are one of the only vegetables that fare exceptionally well when frozen. If you have a glut of fresh peas, freezing them promptly will seal in the gorgeous just-picked sweetness.