Eat Seasonably in February

This month is all about getting through the last leg of winter, keeping warm on an evening and making the most of fresh produce. I've been inspired recently by colour in food and have been searching to create a visual feast as well as a tasty meal, and in February colours can fire up every plate if you know what to look for. Why not try a carrot and red pepper soup for a vibrant red lunch or quick dinner? Purple sprouting broccoli is also in season and is so much tastier than the broccoli you usually find in supermarkets - eat it stalk, leaves and all as a side dish.

Rhubarb is just starting to appear on the shelves in its forced form and offers sweet, earthy flavours best enjoyed in a hearty crumble or as a purée served atop crunchy cereal and yoghurt at breakfast-time. Its pink tinged stalks offer further colourful delights, or for an alternative fruity start to the day blood oranges are still in season - delicious freshly-squeezed.

Other vegetables to try this month are cauliflower (creamy cauliflower cheese anyone?) and leeks. Try both alongside any cheese as a side dish or add leeks to a casserole or soup for supper on cold evenings. Leeks also work well in any pasta dish or enjoy them roasted alongside carrots and parsnips. Add a joint of meat and you're in for a happy evening; this week we're slow-cooking a leg of lamb to enjoy alongside the vegetables and apple and mint jelly  - a perfect pre-Spring treat.