March, and the year feels like it’s on the march. Brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, kale and cabbages) are in the ground, ready to sweeten with the winter frost. The firewood stack is orderly... well, reasonably, considering I still don’t have the skills of someone who grew up making neat walls of firewood a year or two ahead. It’s still fishing season, in terms of it being a great time to get out on the water and pull in a flathead or two. Trout as well, if I can break my drought on that one before the season draws to a close.
And yet, as the weather turns ever so slightly, as the early-season apples are picked crisp from the trees, I also like to start braising meats again, like my lamb shoulder moussaka – a dish I’ve long wanted to perfect and now have. Well, I’ve started along the endless journey that is the road to perfection.
Now is the season when we start bottling, too. We make our passata (fresh tomato sauce) when the tomatoes ripen – usually in March. We also steal windfall pears from the tree down the road and preserve whatever we can’t eat in Fowler’s jars. In the meantime, it’s salads, corn, apples and the last of the blackberries baked in a pie.
Photography by Alan Benson. Food preparation by Ross O’meara. Styling by Charlotte Bell.