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Spring awakening

Categories: News and previews

Ed Smith welcomes in the first inklings of spring and gives us a preview of his upcoming demo, which showcases seasonal recipes from The Borough Market Cookbook

It’s here! We’ve made it through winter! Spring has sprung! And so on.

Well it’s here if you go by the change of the calendar and consider March a spring month (I do). Or it’s about to be here, if you’re more of a stickler for the astronomical and solar reckoning and are waiting for the astronomical vernal equinox (this year, 20th March).

Either way, there’s movement on the ingredient front—and on mood and appetite too, I feel.

In terms of ‘British-grown’, we’re actually entering a fallow period, which necessarily means the types of dishes we cook shift a little and that we also rely even more on fruit and veg from elsewhere. But time passes quickly, new options arrive, and different dishes and ingredients appeal as the weather changes. Gone are root-heavy stews and bakes; now things like fresh cheeses, yoghurts, salad platters and light broths seem more appropriate. It’s a transitional period but also, because of the new growth aspect, an inherently positive one.

Energy and optimism
That’s certainly how I approached writing the recipes and stories for the spring section of The Borough Market Cookbook. It was all about reflecting the energy and optimism of a Market where (finally) a few layers of clothes and gloves can be left off, and we feel the anticipation of things like monk’s beard, asparagus, radishes, Jersey royals, and watercress, which’ll pair so well with flat white fish, goat’s cheese, chicken, hogget and so on.

I’m pleased to be back at the Market to talk about and cook from that section of the book in the Demonstration Kitchen on 21st March. We’ll work through five recipes (and there’ll be tasters of all of them).

Spring mornings might be lighter, but we still need a good breakfast to get things going. Two of the dishes I’ll cook cover that side of things nicely: first, a maple glazed butcher’s bacon and farmhouse cheddar pastry—super easy, and so good when made with ingredients sourced at a place like Borough Market. Then, wild garlic eggs, which is a little bit shakshuka, a little bit Turkish eggs, and a lot about the star of British springtime ingredients.

Secret foraging spot
Have you seen wild garlic yet? It’s popping through all over my Instagram feed as I write this and will be ubiquitous across many restaurant menus shortly. It’s something we should make the most of at home, too. You might have a secret foraging spot; for the rest of us, it’s available at the Market.

Lamb might not actually be at its natural peak in spring, but in the build up and around Easter time it’s hard to ignore. A minted lamb meatball broth with peas and yoghurt is exactly the kind of thing I think is right to cook and eat right now, with a great balance between light, bright flavours, while still being quietly comforting.

For hands-free cooking fans, there’s a hake and green bean bake. Bright, verdant and cheery, this is springtime optimism on a roasting tray.

We’ll finish with a mango and passionfruit posset. Most of the stored apples and pears have been eaten and we should wait a bit longer for British summer berries, so tropical fruits are a tempting option at the moment.

Stomach rumbling? See you there.

Join Ed for tips, tastings and recipes Thursday 21st March in the Market Hall, 1-2:30pm