Munch by month

IMG_0464By Mark Breen, 29 April 2013

Whilst mooching around Streatham on Saturday the girlfriend and I came across the butchers stand at the Greyhound Lane Farmers Market outside the Railway pub, near Streatham Common station.

We got chatting to the butcher about the produce he had on and picked up a joint of beef sirloin and some flank of venison. It is the venison which I was particularly interested in. I hadn’t cooked it in a while and casually mentioned to the butcher that I thought it would go very well stewed with veg and juniper berries. His response was ‘yeh mate it’ll be lovely, and that’s the last of it from this season.’

This got me thinking, I try to buy in season, the benefits are pretty obvious: it reduces the energy needed to grow and transport the food we eat; supports the local economy helps us to reconnect with nature’s cycles and the passing of time and should (in theory make things a little cheaper).

Most importantly (for me) when it comes to taste, eating in season is the way to eat flavoursome food with optimum nutrients, colour and texture.

As I’m based in London, which is one of the biggest markets in the world, it sometimes gets a bit tricky to eat in season, as I can usually get my hands on whatever food I want, whenever I want. And I quite often lose track of what is in season as food is forced or transported here. But for those of you that care about the taste of your food, let alone the environmental and wallet impacts of eating out of season, the impetus is clear, we should be doing more to eat what is in season.

(click on chart to take you through to full chart with all food types)

Something that I spotted that might help me to cook and eat the right food at the right time of year is this handy little chart, I’m going to print it off and stick it to the fridge – http://www.carta.co.uk/beebstuff/seasons.htm. ‘Eat the Seasons’ also offers a wealth of information on the subject, so why not check them out.

We should remember though that the seasons don’t always run like clockwork, for example this year the seasons are several weeks late due to the unusually cold spell recently.

Oh and…..’yeh mate, the venison stew was lovely,’ even better tasting knowing that I wouldn’t be able to eat it ‘in season’ for a little while.

Here to a tasty spring and summer.

Cheers.

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Ceviche with The Last Days of Pisco at Feast, London

by Mark Breen 12 March 2013

As always I am hungry for new experiences in food and to find out about new cuisines and different ways in which you can use flavour to make people’s senses explode as you serve them up a treat.

TLDO sign

And last weekend I considered myself very lucky to be working with Hen Clancy and Stephanie Boote on The Last Days of Pisco Cevicheria at Feast London.

Hen is the founder of The Last Days of Pisco, which is usually a pop up restaurant that serves ceviche and pisco cocktails. Her partner in pisco – Stephanie is a great chef, and both of them were beautifully patient as they helped me understand the art of ceviche and answered my many questions about ceviche and pop ups. In return they got the most enthusiastic student they could hope for.

Ceviche’s birthplace is disputed between Peru and Ecuador, and as both countries have an amazing variety of fish and shellfish, it may well have come from the ancient Inca civilizations of Peru or Ecuador. The dish means fish or seafood cooked by marinating in citrus. However the origins of the dish we were preparing were certainly Peruvian, as Hen had honed her ceviche skills whilst in the country, where she fell in love the cuisine. After heading back to London she developed it with her own little flourishes, and today serves it to customers looking to eat the freshest fish with the fullest flavours.

Cerviche TLDO

There are recipes for ceviche all over the web and I’m not going to be the one to share the Last Days of Pisco’s secret recipe for sea bass ceviche. But just to get your creative juices flowing I will tell you the heat comes from peruvian aji amarillo chilli, the zing comes from marinating in lime juice and the sweetness comes from homemade candied orange peel – absolutely delicious.

I’m looking forward to working (and of course eating) with The Last Days of Pisco again soon, which might well be in Brixton as they are looking to do something there soon, having spent the recent past doing pop up restaurants around East London.

Find out more about The Last Days of Pisco – http://www.TLDOPisco.com/.