Part of the challenge to cook over winter is trying to make the most of limited seasonal ingredients. So for these recipes, I'm trying to combine three factors: 1. fresh produce from your winter garden (leeks, fennel, cavolo nero); 2. stored summer vegetables (such as pumpkins, garlic, onions, shallots); 3. preserves (such as olives, tomatoes and porcini) Photo credit: Laura Forest Photography for Refreshment Room images
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A hearty, tasty and simple winter soup.
Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables and if you plant in the early autumn, you should have a steady supply over the winter. This is a great accompaniment to slow cooked meats or just a general side dish. Fennel has a beautiful, gentle aniseed flavour. Its versatility means it can be eaten cooked or raw and is easy to grow.
Cavolo nero (black cabbage) is easy to grow, tastes wonderful and looks beautiful in the garden. It is a simple variety of cabbage which doesn't form a head, just leaves which you can pick individually. It belongs to the same family as kale. It originates in Tuscany. A great robust accompaniment to braised meat dishes.
The pears and panacotta make a great double act.