For seasonal veg and fresh fruit March is a transitional month, a bridge between chunky winter produce and lighter, brighter summer foods. Bramley apples, pomegranates, oranges and grapefruit are still plentiful, and for fresh veg March is great for Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celeriac, leeks, parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli and sweet potato, while watercress, spring greens and spinach are on their way up. However cooking is starting to focus on lighter dishes as winter’s stodgy diet makes way for more colourful spring and summer choices. Warm salads and fruity desserts replace stews and sponges, and the brave may even attempt an early barbecue!
Falafel salad with fresh fruit March pomegranate
Pomegranate may be a fruit, but it works beautifully in savoury dishes. Its jewel like seeds add fresh, bright colour and delicious nutrition to any dish and a glorious sweetness to this exotic, Middle Eastern salad.
- 1 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste
- 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 200g mixed salad leaves
- 4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- Handful fresh parsley, chopped
- Seeds of one pomegranate
Whizz up the chickpeas in a food processor with the garlic, harissa paste, flour and a little salt until the mixture reaches a fine paste consistency. Use your hands to form the paste into small balls, about meatball size, then fry for a few minutes in hot oil until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain.
Make a dressing by mixing the yoghurt with the olive oil, lemon juice, mint and some salt and pepper.
Serve the falafels on a bed of salad leaves, topped with some generous dollops of yoghurt dressing, then sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and the parsley.
Fresh fruit March fool
There’s nothing foolish about this light and simple dessert, which makes a virtue of one of March’s most delicious ingredients: rhubarb.
- 350g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
- 55g caster sugar
- Juice of one orange
- 150ml whipped cream
- 1 egg white, beaten into soft peaks
Boil the rhubarb until soft in a medium pan with the sugar, orange juice and a little water to cover the fruit.
Gently fold the egg whites and whipped cream together.
Drain the rhubarb and fold it into the cream mixture, reserving a little fruit to decorate the fools. Serve in a tall glass, garnished with a little rhubarb and orange zest.