Owwwwwwww. January certainly ended on a bang. After a mere handful of hours into February, it’s safe to say anyone with the slightest claim to being on the wagon (what wagon?) has managed to vacate their seats and get the hell back down to earth and gin and tonic chasers.
So with little ability to form sentences, let alone cook something halfway decent to eat, it always feels cruel that some of the most exciting mixes of British produce arrive at the back end of winter. The first week of February is your final chance to get hold of some beetroot, while cauliflower, savoy cabbage, parsnips and rhubarb are all starting to appear. Unfortunately, most weekends I can’t even wind my way around the JustEat payment system, let alone work out what to do with all the beetroot, swede and turnips that are begging not to be resigned to another ‘dregs of the fridge power juice’ smoothie I’ll drink with my head in my hands.
Thankfully, with a bit of patience the best produce Britain has to offer can be tamed into an easy-going brunch to feed a crowd. This hash recipe is forgiving: it’s supposed to look messy, so no fiddling around with garnishes – just get whoever is leftover at your house by morning to chop up all the vegetables to the same size. By adding the beetroot right at the end, you don’t turn everything pink but you still get that great earthy texture so right for comfort food that hasn’t arrived in a metal tray. Simply fry, add toasted bread or a salad for any gluten free friends and you’re done.
Makes four portions
Salt and pepper
1 large beetroot, peeled and chopped to small cubes, around 5mm each side
1 small squash, deseeded, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large handful of savoy cabbage leaves, about a fifth of an entire cabbage, cut into thin strips
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Oil and lightly season two roasting trays, and place the squash and beetroot separately in each. Stir with a spoon so both squash and beetroot get covered in some oil and salt and pepper, and once the oven is hot enough, roast for about15 minutes.
While they are roasting, slowly heat an onion in a large griddle or frying pan with a good glug of olive oil, and salt and pepper. After five minutes, add in the carrots and the potatoes. Keep stirring the mixture so nothing burns. Add in the strips of cabbage and cook for another ten minutes or so, on a low but steady heat. Once the squash and beetroot have cooked, add to the pan, careful not to stir it too much or everything will turn pink. Season one last time and plate up straight away.
Blood orange infused water
Blood oranges are in season from February to March. They are a great source of vitamin C, as you would expect from a citrus fruit, but they also contain anthocyanins, a compound found in berries and red wine, so all the benefits of two super health-giving foods, rolled into one. Hello February.
To make the infused water, thinly slice the blood oranges, squeeze a little before adding to a large bottle, fill with water and allow to chill in the fridge overnight. The blood oranges give the water a subtle sweet flavour without adding any extra sugar.
Words: Ava Szajna-Hopgood