Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nature's Cycle Is Starting Anew

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Nature's Cycle Is Starting Anew

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID KENNEDY

I'VE some good news - British summer time begins this weekend. The days have been getting steadily longer since, well, the shortest day way back in pre-Christmas December.

The lengthening of the days isn't immediately obvious, of course. It's well into January before you notice the balance between light and dark starting to subtly shift.

But from Sunday - when the hour officially goes on in the wee small hours - there will be a marked difference.

For me this annual event is confirmation that spring has arrived. It marks the start of a "new year" when nature's annual cycle really begins in earnest.

I am not a winter person. I dislike the dark nights and cold weather and can quickly tire of comfort food.

Mind you, this past winter has been remarkably accommodating and spring sprung very early.

It is a time of new beginnings. The drab landscape starts to take on colour and for food lovers, especially those who still try to abide by the seasons, things begin to pick up in the kitchen.

Granted, spring is more about sowing than harvesting, but the coming weeks will see a host of fresh new ingredients coming into their own.

Certainly for restaurateurs like me who follow the seasons and like to support local producers wherever possible, it's time to give the menus a well-deserved facelift.

Clams, mussels, sea bass and kale are all coming to an end along with the likes of venison.

If I'm honest, March is always a difficult month for a cook. The last vestiges of winter are still hanging around and hearty soups and stews and steamed puddings haven't quite been pushed to the back of the proverbial cupboard.

March is known as the "hungry gap" the period when winter roots are all but over, but the first baby spring vegetables still have to make their presence felt.

But there is wild food to be found. We have a local forager who supplies us with hedgerow delicacies here at Food Social. He is secretive about both himself and his foraging locations.

But he turns up on our doorstep with the most wonderfully fresh and flavoursome ingredients. …

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