What’s in season | January
Provenance and sustainability play a huge part in what we are all about at Little Gems…
There are many advantages to using local, seasonal ingredients when formulating dishes for our seasonally changing menus. Not only does using produce during its natural cycle mean you get the very best out of its flavour, but sourcing locally helps reduce energy costs and the impact we have on the environment.
Some might call this CSR; we call this our way of life.
Sharing is caring. For this reason, we would like to impart some top tips on the best seasonal produce during the year from our very own experts in the field (and fork); our chefs.
To find out what is in season in January…
we joined Mark Snelling, Head Chef at The Swan Inn Denham. Mark buys the majority of his veg from his local supplier Bob, who brings them over to the pub from Holmer’s Green. He sources his meat and fish from another neighbour, Chiltern Fish & Game.
FROM THE LAND
“It might not be the most attractive vegetable in the patch, but the Jerusalem artichoke is a fantastic tuber. Its flavour is slightly sweet, nutty and can make a great compliment to many wintery dishes. Similar to the potato, Jerusalem artichokes respond really well to a good roasting. Give it a wash – keeping the skin on – and place on a baking tray. Throw in a clove of garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper. Drizzle with a splash of olive oil and place in the oven at 200 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Serve with a little truffle oil and wow, you have perfect side for roast chicken, lamb’s liver or a delicious addition to a Winter salad. On our current, seasonal menu at The Swan Inn, we have used this magnificent veggie in one of our Vegetarian dishes; ‘Smoked potato gnocchi with Jerusalem artichoke, beetroot, goats’ curd and herb oil.”
FROM THE SEA
“Mussels are a real catch at this time of year. Mid-season you can source them at a really good price and the quality is excellent. Mussels can be used in a variety of wonderful ways. From exotic Asian inspired dishes – Thai Spiced, Indian Spiced or Moroccan – to British Cider Steamed Mussels, or a French/Belgian inspired fish & chips; moules frites. There are lots of amazing mains and starters to be enjoyed. Obviously, they take a bit of time to prep and de-beard, but are definitely worth the effort.”
FROM THE GARDEN
“It is all about Yorkshire when it comes to rhubarb in the UK. The quality from here is unquestionably the best. A proper British Winter favourite, what would our menu be without it? Not only is it perfect poached, in sweets, classic crumbles, or compotes, but thanks to its sharpness of flavour, it also makes a great compliment to savoury dishes, like venison and game birds.”