Season’s best: April 2024

Season’s best: April 2024

As we lean into autumn, it’s time to embrace the vitamins and minerals provided by Mother Earth

Kick-off with a kumquat

Given there seems to be a kumquat tree on almost every corner, it’s surprising that we don’t see more of these citrussy little delights in stores. Plump, sweet, and vibrant on the outside, with a sharp sour juicy interior, these miniature oranges are high in Vitamin C and fibre and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. Originally from China, the name comes from a Chinese word that translates to ‘golden mandarin orange’, and they are delicious in preserves and chutneys. For a tasty tipple, make a small hole in about 20 kumquats and steep in your favourite spirit – vodka or rum are both good – with about two-and-a-half cups of sugar for about four weeks, turning occasionally.

Fine fennel

Season’s best: April 2024

The feathery fennel bulb is a wonderful addition to your meals for a nutritious super-boost. Highly nutritious and good for bone health and development, fennel has been used as a natural medicine for centuries. This licoricey-tasting veg is said to help prevent and reduce muscle spasms and improve muscle cramps, digestion, and flatulence. Many breastfeeding mums are recommended to try drinking fennel tea and eating fennel to soothe a colicky baby. It’s delicious sliced thinly in salads; I particularly enjoy it with radishes along with sweet fruits such as mandarin or sliced apple, and it’s also delicious roasted and slathered in oozy, creamy cheese.

Pantry staple: Dijon mustard

Season’s best: April 2024

There’s nothing like the savoury hit of Dijon mustard to really hit the spot. This versatile condiment is named after the city of Dijon in Burgundy, France – the centre of mustard-making in the late Middle Ages. Originally made from verjuice – an acidic liquid made from unripe fruit – these days it’s made up of brown mustard seeds, white wine, vinegar, water, and salt. It’s useful for pretty much any dish: as a base ingredient for salad dressings, as a marinade for meats and veggies, as a glaze, or even added to your cheese fondue (the horseradish Dijon is particularly excellent for this). It’s particularly good paired with pork. It also makes a fantastic glaze for roasted fennel; just add a couple of kumquat rinds to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe from this whole page.

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