Good – sunny – morning (or at least it was morning when I started writing this)! How are you?
It seems like Spring has finally arrived here in SW London, and as I gather from several other bloggers around the world it’s been a long winter in most places.
I read an extremely interesting article that explain how scientists link frozen Spring to dramatic Arctic sea ice loss. Please read the article if you have a minute, here is a paragraph from it: “the Arctic ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere which shifts the position of the jet stream – the high-altitude river of air that steers storm systems and governs most weather in northern hemisphere.”
It just shows once again that everything is connected and if we make some changes to our lifestyle, how much energy we use and how much we pollute, we will benefit from it as well as the planet.
So before taking a stroll to the park I would like to share 3 recipes which use spinach, which is in season right now in the UK. I have become really interested in trying out as many seasonal ingredients as possible and I have the Eat the Seasons page – which has a sister site in case you live in the US or Canada – always open on the phone, ready to consult.
The main reasons why eating food that is in season is more sustainable are:
- Food that is in season needs less energy to grow
- Less energy is used and less pollution is emitted to transport the food – think of the pollution produced by food that is flown from other countries (plus you will save this transport cost, so seasonal local food will be cheaper)
- You support the local community – especially if you buy from farms and farmer’s markets
- It allows you to think of nature’s cycles and be more aware of what grows in which season
- Seasonal food is fresher, tastier and more nutritious – food that is flown from other countries can be a few weeks old before we actually get to buy it!
The vegetables that are in season in April that you can enjoy as much as possible are: broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, samphire, salsify, spinach, spring onions, watercress, wild nettles and rhubarb.
But let’s think of spinach today! 🙂
And by the way spinach is part of the “dirty dozen”, the group of fruits and vegetables that are always best to be bought organic due to the high content of pesticides they retain when not organic.
Spinach is rich in Vitamin A, C, E, K, B2, B6, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, folic acid, copper, zinc, omega3 fatty acids and more! It’s just amazing!!
So let’s eat it! 😀
Super Seasonal Salad – for 4
First of all a lovely super seasonal salad, super easy and quick to assemble and which includes as many seasonal ingredients as possible.
- 100g Watercress, washed
- 100g Fresh spinach, washed
- 2 Large shallots
- 3 Spring onions
- A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- A drizzle of balsamic vinegar
-Peel and slice the shallots lenghways and cook in a pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season and leave to caramelise on a low heat.
-Meanwhile place the watercress and spinach in a salad bowl and chop the spring onions – if you don’t like them raw because of the strong taste, gently cook them in a little olive oil to sweeten them 🙂
Serve with any dressing you like!
You can also add thinly sliced broccoli and cauliflower to it…
It’s really tasty, fresh and with interesting different textures. Nice in a sandwich too 🙂
The next recipe is absolutely delicious and so easy! It’s from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg everyday. I made the super easy version which uses tinned tomatoes rather than 4-6 fresh plum tomatoes.
Spinach with chickpeas and cumin – for 2
- 2 Tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil
- 1 Small onion, sliced
- 1 Garlic clove, chopped
- a Pinch of chilli flakes or 1/2 red chilli, chopped
- 1 Tsp cumin, ground
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 400g Can of chopped tomatoes
- 150g Spinach, washed
- 400g Tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
-Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion until golden. Add the garlic, chilli, cumin (I crushed mine with a pestle and mortar as it was whole), lemon zest and cook for another 2 minutes.
-Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, stir and bring to a lovely simmer (it will smell lovely!) until saucy
-Once saucy, add the spinach leaves and stir until wilted (it won’t take long at all), add the chickpeas and some salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes to let the chickpeas heat through and season more if needed. Serve with warm flatbreads, pitta or cous cous. A delicious quick complete meal.
The next recipe is for a lovely tasty soup, I tried it after I saw it on the Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish blog.
Red lentil and spinach soup – for 4
- 2 Carrots, chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 2 Medium onions, chopped
- 10 cherry tomatoes cut in half, or half a tin of chopped tomatoes
- A pinch of chilli flakes
- 300g Red lentils, rinsed
- 2 Big handfuls of spinach, washed
- Stone soup broth or 1 vegetable stock cube
- A drizzle of olive oil
-Cook the onion, garlic and ginger in a little bit of oil until soft, then add the carrots and carry on cooking
-Add the stock or some water and stock cube – enough to cover the ingredients – and the lentils, let it all simmer until the lentils are cooked (add water if it becomes too thick)
-Add the tomatoes, chilli, seasoning and the spinach, let it wilt a few minutes and serve!
What I love about fresh spinach is that it’s so versatile and cooks almost instantly so I sometimes just add it to a simple tomato and red onion sauce for pasta too
How do you like to eat spinach?
What do you think about eating seasonal food?