Time must surely be speeding up; it’s already March and it hardly feels like we’ve had time to adjust to the fact that it’s a new year. What a start it’s been too; snow drifts, icy winds, lingering coughs and colds, more depressing news about the state of the economy…at least there are a few signs around that spring is just around the corner to give us a little lift!
Thinking of springtime, new life, renewed energy (we hope!) etc. we’ve been making a few goals for the new season (much better than resolutions which often seem to be about depriving yourself of some of the few pleasures in life!). They are all food related of course; well, what else would we be talking about?!
Bake more bread – we’ve been making our own bread at home for many years now but we’re interested in trying out some of the alternatives to wheat, particularly as the number of people with intolerances seems to be on the rise. We’ve already had good results with spelt but have yet to try khorasan wheat. Although both are closely related to wheat and not gluten-free they are possibly more easily digested and certainly nutritious substitutes. For gluten-free alternatives we know buckwheat flour makes good blini but it would be good to look into using it in other ways. Amaranth and quinoa flours are also gluten-free, high-protein possibilities; does anyone have any experience of using them in baking?
- A proper cup of coffee in a proper coffee pot – well ok, the coffee pot’s not strictly necessary but we really think we should go to the trouble of making a cup of decent coffee if we want a drink.
Trying different types of bean and from different countries for example or a new blend; on this note, there are 2 local roasteries we can recommend: Coffee Real and Beanberry who now roast on demand for the coffee house Pinnock’s in Ripley (the UK’s first drip coffee bar).
- Buy fresh, buy seasonal, buy local – yes, we’ve said it before but it’s always worth reminding ourselves of it, particularly as the horse meat scandal still persists in the press. This is in no way an excuse for false labelling but isn’t it true that you get what you pay for? Anyone who has bought meat from an independent butcher knows this is true and is prepared to fork out a bit more to guarantee the quality of the food we eat. Buy it local, buy it fresh and from known and trusted sources; what more is there to say?!
- Make more time to read and follow other people’s blogs – there are some amazing people, doing amazing things with food out there and the best part is they’re willing to share their ideas with us. The least we can do is show some support!
- Spring clean the pantry – it seems a good time of year to check through our dried goods and have a bit of a clear out, particularly the spices and dried herbs. Although they might not ‘go off’ in the way fresh produce does, their strength, taste and aroma does deteriorate over time. We know most dried products should be kept away from heat, moisture and direct sunlight but we’ve been reading recently that chilli powder, paprika etc. are actually best kept in the fridge to maintain their colour (although this advice does seem to come from countries with considerably hotter climates than ours!).
Get out and about – there’s nothing better than finding a hidden gastronomic gem. A delicatessen, café, farmer’s market, specialist producer, ingredient etc. it’s exciting to discover something new for the first time, only trouble is they don’t stay hidden for long!
Tell us about your goals for this spring!