When it comes to the Supper Club there is probably less exciting time than January; or so you think. You see, you will have been bombarded with this notion of “clean eating” a concept so misguided it takes the fun out of food, life and anything resembling fun. Alas, there is no such thing and you should not worry yourself over whether something is clean or not; well in food terms anyway.
No, supper clubs aren’t here to promote potatoes with more soil than a weeks long protest in the woods, or lettuce leaves so wilted that the only thing keeping their structure is your hope and some quasi jedi-like food force.
The joy of our supper club is, well, to make sure you enjoy your kitchen, your lifestyle and not feel like you are a prisoner to commune-esque food fads and trends. Yes, if you’re like us, and most of your friends and family, and person walking down the street, you didn’t hold back at Christmas, we know all about it. Food however, is not a punishment. Now is not the time to crack out your juicer and become emancipated over a two week, tear-inducing akin to standing on lego, lovefest.
But there are many healthy, fun, exciting meals that can leave you guilt free and nothing to do with spiralizers or the self-appointed clean lifestyle experience that Gwyneth Paltrow extols in a 32 bean soup.
So what is on the menu for our January Supper Club and what seasonal produce can you use to best effect for this, January 2017.
What foods should you be eating this January?
The words anti-oxidants will be big business as well, greens and veg. That’s great but you want to eat seasonally to get the best produce and where possible, support local businesses and farmers. Parsnips, swede and cabbage make great additions to your meals and the jerusalem artichoke is still a seasonal favourite. Shellfish is particularly favourable as well, clams, mussels and winkles are a must in the month. Finally look out for ingredients like venison, oysters, forced rhubarb and blood orange!
What’s for starters?
If you were looking to boost your body with vitamins, protein and keep the calories on the low side then you want to look to vegetables and shellfish.
Mussels are a great dish, not only do they pack mouthfuls of flavour they have plenty of zinc which is perfect for your skin, hair, muscles and keeping away colds. Not only are mussels tasty, they are easy to cook and quick as well. This recipe from James Martin is then ideal. Combining fresh aromatic notes with fresh produce, it’s simple and tastes amazing.
If mussels or shellfish aren’t your thing you could go with a light and refreshing cabbage salad. Once again, packed with vitamins and goodness, look for fresh produce and mix with a variety of equally good and locally cultivated veg and fruit for a simple yet brilliant dish. This cabbage, apple and caraway dish may just be up your street.
What about the mains?
January may be the start of the new year, it may be the start of a new you, but it is also dark, cold, wet and winter. You’ll probably hit the gym hard, perhaps too hard and you will need to refuel properly. Protein and more importantly, carbs are required, especially if you’re trying to fuel your body correctly. Therefore stews and even wholemeal pasta are great options and done with the right meats and fish can be a great dish to enjoy.
If you were looking to really develop your repertoire this January then you want to try this recipe from Gizzi Erskine; Sausage and Lentil casserole. Combining venison sausages with lentils and vegetables, not only will it be a warm dish for the winter but it’s packed with protein and slow burning sugars in the lentils.
What about winkles? This foraged fish is available at good fishmongers and is a tasty addition to dishes like this seafood risotto from Jamie Oliver.
You were ploughed over the Christmas break with cheese, indulged in chocolate and you see dessert as the devil incarnate. Dessert is thus, a horrible, dirty word. Or is it?
Blood orange and rhubarb are the seasonal fruits you want to keep your eye on and with these you can get some fantastic dishes; and not overly calorific if you’re counting the calories that is. Set aside your traditional crumble with this beautiful oatmeal rhubarb treat on the BBC Good Food site. Using a lot less butter and sugar, this is one to keep the calorie police at bay.
But if you want to be dramatic and use some sort of glorious looking blood orange, then this is for you. If you love sorbets and you love the punchy taste of blood orange, then a blood orange sorbet is where you want go this January. It’s light, fresh and packs flavour.
And those are just some suggestions for your January Supper Club. Keep your eyes peeled for our November competition winner tomorrow and more great kitchen inspiration this January on our blog and Facebook page.