A feast for the sea­son

En­joy the best pro­duce of the sea­son in dishes de­signed for a fam­ily feast

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Crab and as­para­gus salad

Serves 8

3 pre­pared crabs 750g as­para­gus spears, finely sliced length­ways 2 le­mons 50g fresh mint sea salt and black pep­per 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp honey 240g radishes, sliced Zest and juice the le­mons into a large bowl. With a small knife, cut away any seg­ments left in­side the skins and add to the juice. Re­serve some mint for gar­nish, then chop the rest very finely. Add it to the bowl and sea­son with the salt and pep­per. Mix in the olive oil and honey, and chill. Ar­range the sliced as­para­gus and radishes be­tween six plates, then add the crab. Pour over the lemon and mint dress­ing, gar­nish, and serve.

PORK SHOUL­DER JOINT

Sweet, suc­cu­lent and de­li­ciously fatty, pork is one of the tasti­est roast­ing joints, and a good crack­ling on top can turn it into some­thing spe­cial. The best joint for a good amount of skin is a pork shoul­der, cooked on the bone for even more flavour. The joint does not re­quire a lot of at­ten­tion be­cause pork has so much fat un­der­neath the crack­ling. Once in the oven, it is best to leave it alone, with no bast­ing or ex­tra fat needed. Crack­ling tips: • Skin must be dry and un­cov­ered for at least 2 hrs be­fore cook­ing • Score the skin be­fore cook­ing, or ask the butcher to. This also makes the crack­ling eas­ier to carve • Lib­er­ally rub sea salt into the skin and scor­ing • Set the oven at a high tem­per­a­ture for 20 mins at the start of cook­ing to crisp the skin

Roast pork shoul­der with per­fect crack­ling

Serves 8 2kg pork shoul­der, on the bone, with skin 1 heaped tbsp sea salt 4 onions, quar­tered To achieve per­fectly crisp and juicy crack­ling, re­move the pork shoul­der from its pack­ag­ing the night be­fore it is cooked. If the skin is not al­ready scored, do so by cut­ting half­way into it in long slashes, then place in the roast­ing tin to be used and chill overnight. Ap­prox­i­mately 20 mins be­fore cook­ing starts, take the joint out of the fridge and pre­heat the oven to 240°C/gas mark 9. Pat the skin dry of any mois­ture that may have col­lected, then sprin­kle lib­er­ally with sea salt, mak­ing sure it gets right in the scor­ing. Add the onions to the tin and roast for 20 mins. Turn the oven down to 180°C/gas mark 4 and cook for 2 hrs. If the crack­ling isn’t as crisp as de­sired, re­move from the joint and cook on a high heat on the top shelf while the meat is rest­ing. To carve, re­move the crack­ling by slic­ing it away hor­i­zon­tally through the layer of fat un­der­neath, then cut­ting it along the scor­ing into pieces. Hold­ing the joint still with a carv­ing fork, slice against the grain and away from the bone. Serve with ap­ple sauce.

Ap­ple sauce

Serves 6 1 Bram­ley ap­ple, cored and finely chopped 3 Brae­burn ap­ples, cored and finely chopped juice of 1 lemon 20g sugar white pep­per Place the chopped ap­ples in a saucepan and pour in the lemon juice. Sprin­kle over the sugar, and add 50ml of cold wa­ter. Sim­mer on a low heat, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, for 15-20 mins, un­til thick and glossy. Sea­son with pep­per, then al­low to cool. Trans­fer to a dish to serve.

Lemon roasted new pota­toes with sor­rel

Serves 8

800g new pota­toes 2 le­mons 20g sor­rel 80ml rape­seed oil sea salt and black pep­per Pre­heat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. In a large saucepan, cover the new pota­toes with cold wa­ter and add two sor­rel leaves. Bring to the boil and sim­mer for 5 mins. In the mean­time, pour the rape­seed oil into a shal­low roast­ing pan and place in the oven. Halve 1 of the le­mons and cut one of the halves into quar­ters. Drain the pota­toes and re­move the sor­rel. Care­fully take the roast­ing tin out of the oven and add the new pota­toes, along with the lemon quar­ters and the lemon half. Roast for 15 mins, turn the pota­toes, then roast for 10-15 mins un­til golden. Zest and juice the other lemon into a bowl and add the re­main­ing sor­rel. Liq­uidise with a hand blender for 1 min un­til a smooth paste. Sea­son with the salt and pep­per. Re­move the pota­toes and lemon quar­ters from the oil with a slot­ted spoon and trans­fer to a serv­ing dish. Squeeze the half lemon over the food. Oven gloves may need to be worn to do this. Driz­zle over the sor­rel mix­ture and serve.

Spinach and spring onions

Serves 8

900g spinach 200g spring onions, sliced length­ways sea salt 1 tbsp but­ter 1 tsp honey 1 tbsp grated nut­meg black pep­per Sea­son the onions with salt. Melt the but­ter in a large fry­ing pan and add the onions and honey, sautéing for 5 mins, un­til golden and soft. Place the spinach in a large steamer over a pan of boil­ing wa­ter for 5-10 mins, un­til wilted. Add the spinach to the onions and stir in the nut­meg. Sea­son with black pep­per and serve.

Pan-fried broc­coli and nuts

Serves 8

600g broc­coli 50g flaked al­monds 2 tbsp but­ter 4 gar­lic cloves, thinly sliced 2 tbsp sherry vine­gar sea salt and black pep­per Place the broc­coli in a large saucepan and cover with boil­ing wa­ter. Bring to the boil and sim­mer for 10 mins un­til just ten­der. Drain and re­fresh with cold wa­ter. In a large, non-stick fry­ing pan, melt the but­ter and add the gar­lic cloves. Fry, stir­ring con­stantly, for 2 mins, then add the broc­coli and al­monds. Cook for 5 mins, toss­ing the in­gre­di­ents reg­u­larly to brown. Add the sherry vine­gar and stir, then trans­fer to a serv­ing plate. This may need to be done in batches, de­pend­ing on the size of the pan. Sea­son with salt and pep­per and serve.

Rhubarb and orange tri­fle

Serves 8 800g rhubarb 5 or­anges 270g caster sugar 100g but­ter, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 3 eggs, plus 3 egg yolks 200g self-rais­ing flour 1 tsp bak­ing pow­der 250ml milk 1.1 litre dou­ble cream 1 tbsp corn­flour Pre­heat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm round cake tin with bak­ing pa­per. In a large mix­ing bowl, cream 150g of the sugar and the but­ter to­gether, then beat in 3 eggs, one at a time, mix­ing each in thor­oughly. Zest 2 of the or­anges into the mix­ture, then add the juice of one. Cut the other zested orange in half, scoop out the flesh, and add it to the bat­ter. Sift in the flour and bak­ing pow­der, then fold in un­til com­bined. Pour the bat­ter into the pre­pared tin and bake for 20-25 mins, un­til the cake springs up when pressed lightly. Al­low to cool. In the mean­time, trim and then chop the rhubarb, re­tain­ing one stalk for dec­o­ra­tion later, and trans­fer to a saucepan. Sprin­kle with 70g sugar and cover with wa­ter to the top of the fruit. Bring to the boil and sim­mer for 15 mins if us­ing forced rhubarb, or 30 mins if us­ing out­door-grown rhubarb. Cool, then chill. While the rhubarb is sim­mer­ing, heat the milk in a jug in the mi­crowave for 1 min, un­til warmed. In a saucepan off the heat, beat the three egg yolks with the re­main­ing sugar us­ing a hand whisk, then grad­u­ally beat the warm milk into the eggs. Place on the hob and add 200ml of the cream. Sim­mer, whisk­ing, for 2 mins. In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp cold wa­ter with the corn­flour, then stir into the cus­tard mix­ture for ap­prox­i­mately 5 mins, un­til thick. Cool, then chill. Zest the re­main­ing 3 or­anges, then peel and di­vide into seg­ments and set aside. Re­move the cake from the pa­per and cut into cubes. In a large bowl, whip the re­main­ing dou­ble cream un­til it forms firm peaks. Drain the cooled rhubarb of its juice, and set the juice aside with 2 tbsp of the rhubarb. Mix half of the dou­ble cream into the rhubarb pulp, along with the cooled cus­tard mix­ture. Stir the orange zest into the re­main­ing cream. Take a large tri­fle bowl and line the bot­tom and the sides with half of the sponge pieces. Driz­zle with 100ml of the rhubarb juice and cover with a third of the orange seg­ments. Cover with half of the rhubarb and cus­tard mix­ture and half of the orange cream, then re­peat the lay­ers. Top with the re­main­ing orange seg­ments, re­served rhubarb pulp and thin slices of the re­tained fresh rhubarb. Chill for 1 hr be­fore serv­ing.

EARLY HAR­VEST

Forced rhubarb can be en­joyed ear­lier than nat­u­rally grown stems, which are har­vested from mid-spring to sum­mer. Sec­tions of the crowns or roots are ei­ther lifted in win­ter and moved to a dark­ened green­house, or cov­ered with a layer of straw and a rhubarb pot. The lack of light pre­vents the rhubarb from pho­to­syn­the­sis­ing, re­sult­ing in bright pink stems and a sweeter, more del­i­cate taste.

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