February is way colder than January - slowly a little light comes in, and it brings a clear cold rain too. It's still a time of quiet and indoor contemplation, planning, waiting.
After Christmas we have a clear out and start fermenting big batches of kimchi and cabbage pickles to top stews. We incorporate these fermentations into salads, which we serve alongside our quiches, bringing a balance to the heavier foods we all need at this time of year. Fermentations are so beneficial - like a part of your winter survival kit, along with citrus.
I always freeze some blood oranges for a rainy day cheer up, and I'm practically force feeding them to the team at the moment. I've made a blood orange curd, and my friend is an avid maker of marmalade - that's always an inspiration to me. With her marmalade, I've made a syrup for my blood orange upside-down cakes. I've been making loads of apple jam with bay and ginger, which is so good on rye bread. This February I'm also playing with recipes that use non-refined sugars and working my way through Caroline Griffiths' Incredible Bakes. We've got double dark chocolate smoked salt cookies in the Cake Shop right now, which are a great pairing with one of our restorative Jing teas or changing house coffee blends.
The vegan uprising is inspiring. As an old 80's punker, I cooked vegan dishes over fires and on camp cookers. At the Cake Shop, loads of our lunch dishes are vegan. We've got roasted vegetables with seed and nut toppings, served with plenty of legumes and I love having tempeh on the menu. We're following on from January by making more dahls with big punchy flavours, which we top with carrot pickle. This week I'm making a vegan tomato and fennel stew with carrot dumplings and a Penang coconut curry with sweet 'n smoky oven-roasted tofu.
Come and see us on 13 February for Pancake Tuesday - we'll be serving buckwheat pancakes and apple butter.
Visit the Cake Shop at 14 Bury Place and check out their winter lunch menu, stop by for a coffee or choose from their selection of homemade cakes and let them recommend the perfect tea to match.