Doing a few more jobs around the garden this month has turned out to be good news for the kitchen. Clearing up the veg patch I found some forgotten leeks and a small swede, and these have made their way indoors. We’ve had a really tasty, comforting leek and potato bake with some tangy cheddar on the top (recipe coming soon), and I mixed the swede with some spuds while making bangers and mash.
As March is a good month for repotting and manicuring perennial herbs there have been lots of prunings to use up as well, mostly rosemary, sage and a little thyme. They’ve been perfect for flavouring stews, roasts and breads.
It’s also a good month for using up stored vegetables and fruit, to start making room for fresh arrivals in coming weeks, and I’ve finished the last bit of winter squash now, making a sort of one-pot toad in the hole that has roasted veggies and herbs in it as well as the sausages. Just add gravy and smile.
There’s also been plenty of kale to use up, either steamed, sauteed in butter and a little water, added to stir fries or at the end of the cooking when making stews. This is just as well, because the purple and white sprouting broccoli in the garden haven’t produced a single spear yet.
That’s mainly because they’re both late sprouting varieties, so I won’t get worried until the middle of April, but they don’t seem to have been as vigorous as the previous sowing. Perhaps because the summer last year was so grey and rainy, and they didn’t have as much of a chance to bulk up. This year I’ll be sowing different varieties including Rudolph, which allegedly crops as early as December and January.
The next thing I’m going to cook is a spinach sauce for pasta with lots of nutmeg and onions, to use up the last of the leaf beet. As we’ve run out of cabbage and the spring greens haven’t properly got going yet, I’ll also be finishing up the last of the sprout tops and final few sprouts.
March is also a good time to clear out a greenhouse, and again I discovered a couple of forgotten pots. There’s a small one of salad burnet, which has a deliciously cucumber-like flavour and is a nice treat at a time of year when cucumbers are out of season. There’s also a big pot of curly parsley looking nice and healthy, so that’s going to be used as a vegetable in a middle eastern style carrot and parsley salad over the weekend.
Sadly, none of my lettuce leaves are big enough to pick yet, so I’m relying on italian red chicory, oriental leaves, spring onions and land cress to make side salads. The first sowings of windowsill herbs are ready to pick though, including some flat leaf parsley and tiny leaves of green mint. It’s an early taste of spring while it’s still feeling wintry outside.
If you’d like the full list of British seasonal food in March – not just what’s ready to crop in this tiny kitchen garden – please see our separate article.