Much as I love the indulgences of Christmas I also relish the clean new page of January and the opportunity it presents. In December we are encouraged to tuck in. Have whipped cream on that! Would you like gingerbread syrup? Brandy butter and cream with your minced pie? Why not it’s Christmas. So it goes on…. Then suddenly, on the first of January it’s all about kale, steamed vegetables, cutting out food groups, veganuary. It all feels a bit bonkers, the change from the rich sparkly food filled photographs of December to the austere, vegetable dotted ones of January.
I’ve mentioned in previous January posts that whilst it’s not for me to tell anyone what to eat I am happy to provide the sort of recipes that will help with the reset. Although that fresh clean page of the New Year encourages good, healthy eating I am still greedy. I want to get excited about food, love the look it and love the taste even more. January tends to be cold and often rather grey, we need a lift and food is such an easy and satisfying place to get it.
Not the time for leafy salads, now is for crunchy numbers full of the root vegetables that relish the cold. That they tend to grow locally is of course a bonus. I had a celeriac lurking in the fridge that had arrived before Christmas. Yesterday I made half into a soup along with a couple of sad, beginning to sprout potatoes, a leek plus half a bag of rocket. The other half I grated and made into celericac remoulade (January 2016). Some slightly bendy parsnips, carrots and beetroots were roasted back into deliciousness. The result was enough for two lunches plus a packed one and I was relieved to avoid the guilt felt if anything has to the compost having been found at the back of the fridge past its best. Fridge clearing at its best.
My advice would be to go large on the veg – soup is the number one superstar for using up various vegetables as well as being extremely good for us. Put soup into the search bar at the top of this page, there are lots of different, easy soups you could rustle up. Vegetable based soups are cheap too which is a bonus at this time of year. Easily zhuzzed up into a Saturday lunch with some really good bread, homemade focaccia (May 2014) or soda bread (December 2018) if you want to along with a crunchy salad makes this a feast rather than a sad offering. If you still have some Christmas cheese looking less than tempting, transform it into cheese and chive scones (October 2014) or my Cheese bread (December 2014).
When it is particularly cold outside a pudding always seems essential to me. There are two routes you can take here – something, clean and refreshing to reinforce your good intentions such as the granita shown at the top of this post. The gloriously coloured blood orange granita is of course a seasonal treat (February 2013) but the golden one behind it is an iced tea granita (July 2013) and who doesn’t have a teabag in the cupboard? Light and palate cleansing yet sweet and fruity enough to be a treat. Alternatively choose the nursery pudding route to warm yourself up from the inside. You will find lots of such puddings in the recipes here, this weekend we had a big baked golden syrup sponge – along the lines of the raspberry larder pudding (March 2015) but using half a tin of golden syrup in place of the raspberries and raspberry jam. Yes it was rich, sweet and super indulgent but it was also extremely good and provided the necessary ballast for the weather along with lifting the spirits.