Given the longevity of most new year’s resolutions, the process looks like an exercise in futility – go to the gym, learn to play an instrument, stop smoking etc. Most of these won’t outlive January. However there’s one pledge you should consider making which is not only easy but enjoyable to keep up on a long term basis, and that’s to buy vegetables and fruits in season.
January fruits in season
In the dark days of January the fruitfulness of Spring seems a long way off, but actually nature is very busy at this time. Some of the best January fruits you can enjoy include apples, bananas, clementines, dates, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pears, pomegranates and rhubarb. Apart from the obvious marmalades and crumbles, what else can you prepare to liven up winter evenings?
Cooking with January fruits
This date and almond tart is rather indulgent and exotic tasting:
- 85g digestive biscuits
- 175g butter, cubed and at room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 25g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 100g ground almonds
- 3 eggs
- 100g dates, stoned and chopped
- 25g blanched almonds, chopped
Preheat the over to 180C and lightly grease a flan dish. Put half of the digestive biscuits into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until they reach a fine consistency. Cream the sugar ad butter together for two to three minutes until pale and fluffy, then stir in the crushed biscuits, ground almonds, baking powder, flour and eggs. Whisk together well until smooth and creamy. Break the other half of the digestive biscuits into small pieces and stir them into the mixture, then add the dates and almonds and mix well. Transfer the mixture to the flan dish and bake for about half an hour, until the tart is starting to pull away from the sides of the dish and the top is golden brown.
Allow the tart to cool a little and dust the top with icing sugar before serving warm with some cream.
Pomegranate salad dressing
Pomegranates work well in both sweet and savoury dishes. This dressing adds interest to couscous and rice based salads or even a basic green salad.
- 1 pomegranate, seeds only
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- Half teaspoon caster sugar
Whizz about half of the pomegranate seeds in a blender and sieve to make a juice. Whisk the pomegranate juice, oil, vinegar sugar and the rest of the seeds together and keep in the fridge until needed, up to five days.