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spring onions
spring greens

What to eat in

March

In March look out for fresh spring vegetables and treat yourself to some tasty cup cakes

Spring has finally arrived, so why not celebrate by enjoying some seasonal spring vegetables?


Spring onions are readily available this month, and with their mild, sweet flavour, can be eaten raw as an addition to salads.


They're great in a frittata, too. Slice finely and fry in olive oil, then add cubes of cooked potato, six beaten eggs and a handful of grated cheddar. Cook over a medium heat until the base of the frittata is set, then pop the pan under the grill for a few minutes to cook the top (make sure your pan has a heat-proof handle!)

  

Spring onions are a key ingredient in many Oriental dishes. Stir-fry sliced spring onions in sesame oil before adding ginger, red chillies and garlic, all finely chopped. Add sliced mushrooms, mange tout, red pepper and bean sprouts and stir fry for a few minutes – a quick and healthy way to get your five a day.

  

If you have leftover cooked rice to use up, make it special by frying with sliced spring onions, sweetcorn and cashew nuts. Add two beaten eggs and mix thoroughly into the rice, stirring continuously until the egg is cooked and well blended with the other ingredients. Serve with soy sauce.

Eat your greens

Spring greens are a type of cabbage, but with loose leaves rather than the hard, compact hearts of other cabbage varieties. Like all members of the cabbage family, they are packed with health benefits – high in vitamins C and K and a good source of iron and fibre. They also contain healthy natural compounds that could help protect against heart disease, stroke and cancer.


When preparing spring greens for cooking it's a good idea to remove any big stalks, as these can be a bit tough and chewy. Then shred the leaves finely.


Avoid over-boiling spring greens, as this can spoil the flavour. Around five minutes should be long enough, so that the leaves retain a little crispness. Or steam instead. Serve simply, with melted butter – or toss steamed spring greens in a dressing made with olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic.

  

For something a little spicier, try sautéing shredded spring greens in butter with onion, garlic and finely chopped red chilli, then add a little vegetable stock and simmer until tender.

  

Spring greens can be combined with spring onions in a tasty satay stir-fry. Slice five spring onions and fry in sesame oil along with some sliced garlic and a small red chilli, finely chopped. Add a couple of handfuls of shredded spring greens and continue to stir-fry for a few more minutes. Meanwhile, mix two tablespoons of peanut butter with a tablespoon of hot water and a dash of soy sauce – add this to the pan or wok and stir thoroughly until the leaves begin to wilt a little. Serve with noodles.

Good egg

You may not see eggs as seasonal – after all, British eggs are readily available in supermarkets year-round – but anyone who keeps their own hens will be rejoicing this month as the birds begin to lay again.

  

Most hens have a rest from egg-laying over the winter – but as the days start to lengthen and light levels increase, they will start to produce more eggs.


This means it's also easier for non-hen-keepers to get hold of fresh, locally produced free range eggs through farm gate sales – buying direct from producers can save money and eggs are often fresher, and therefore tastier.

  

It's now widely recognised by nutritionists that eggs are good for you. They're a fantastic source of protein, vitamins and minerals – and are an excellent, healthy choice for breakfast, especially if served with grilled or raw vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms or spinach.

eggs

Eggs can be boiled, poached or fried – and are delicious when scrambled with other ingredients. Try combining with fresh spinach and crumbled Feta cheese, or for a touch of luxury, strips of smoked salmon.

  

Homemade custard sauce is quite easy to make. In a bowl, mix three egg yolks with 25g caster sugar, two teaspoons of cornflour and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Heat a pint of full-fat milk until just beginning to boil, then whisk into the egg mixture. Return to the pan and heat gently, stirring continuously, until thickened.

  

But what to do with the egg whites? Try making hazelnut meringues. Whisk three egg whites until stiff, then fold in 170g caster sugar and 75g ground hazelnuts. Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake at 150°C for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the meringues in the oven for at least four hours before serving.

poppy seed cupcakes

Honey, lemon and poppy seed cupcakes


Makes 12-14 cakes

120g butter, softened

100g caster sugar

180g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

20g poppy seeds

grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon honey


Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir the baking powder into the flour, then add half of this to the creamed butter mixture and mix together. Add half the beaten egg and mix well, then repeat with the remaining flour and egg. Stir in the poppy seeds, lemon rind, lemon juice and honey. Spoon the mixture into cake cases and bake at 140ºC for about 20 minutes, until the cakes are golden, well-risen and firm to the touch.


Little Green Space March 2016