For cooking in season January foods provide an excellent counterpart to the fatty richness of Christmas foods. Seville and blood oranges are the month’s star ingredients, to act as a kind of palate cleanser after the excesses and indulgences of the festive season, while January is also an excellent time for cabbage, clams, cockles, forced rhubarb, goose, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, mussels, oyster, parsnip, sea bass, swede, truffle, venison and winkles. You should also be able to catch the end of some some pheasant, pomegranates, salsify, whelk and wild duck, all of which are at the end of their season but still plentiful enough to enliven January plates.
January foods for detoxing
About a million gym memberships are opened in January, most of which are abandoned by February. Another way to feel virtuous this January is to embark upon a detox and healthy eating plan. One of the simplest ways to do this is to include a delicious and nutritious juice in your daily menu. If you use foods in season January offers the celebrity diet favourite – not always mouthwatering on its own but an ingredient that works beautifully for a fast nutrition hit in a juice.
January detox smoothie
- 1 cup each of frozen peaches, kale and coconut water
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder (available from health food shops)
Blend the whole lot together until smooth – you’ll be surprised how well the warmth of the ginger and the sweetness of the peaches offset the rather green flavour of the kale.
January foods for indulging
If you’re less virtuous, try a blood orange tart for an excellent combination of tart sweetness.
- 200g caster sugar
- Juice and zest of 3 blood oranges
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 2 eggs and 6 egg yolks
- 200g butter, cubed
- 2 blood oranges, peeled and cut into neat, round slices
- 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
- 1 pre-made 25cm sweet shortcrust pastry case
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Whisk together thoroughly the caster sugar, zest and juice, orange blossom water, eggs and egg yolks. Set the bowl over a bain-marie, add the butter and cook, stirring regularly, for about 15-20 minutes, until the butter is melted and the mixture thickens up.
Pour into the pastry case and allow to cool, covered with a piece of clingfilm to stop a skin forming.
Decorate the tart by arranging the sliced oranges on top, then a sprinkling of demerara sugar. Caramelise the surface with a cook’s blowtorch.
Serve with custard or double cream.