April showers brings May flowers

….or at least that’s the way the old adage goes!

I’m not going to go into whether this is factually accurate, but speaking to my grandpa, who has been a gardener for his whole life, he isn’t convinced that a months’ worth of rain is all it takes to grow a few flowers, it turns out it might be a bit more complicated than that. Having said that a bit of rain certainly helps and if we need to be told to persevere through something that we don’t enjoy too much, so that we can experience something wonderful, that certainly isn’t a bad life lesson for us all to take on board.

The theory of April

I don’t know whether you’ll have looked at where the month of April got its name from. One theory is that the name is rooted in the Latin Aprilis which is derived from the Latin aperire meaning “to open” – perhaps a reference to the opening or blossoming of flowers and trees, a common occurrence throughout the month of April (copious aforementioned rain notwithstanding). Another theory holds that since months were often named for gods and goddess and since Aphrilis is derived from the Greek “Aphrodite,” one can surmise that the month was named for the Greek goddess of love.

Fresh spring vegetables

Whatever the case may be, much as I might not be fan of the downpours, there are some things that I do love about April and new fresh spring vegetables are definitely one of them. The month generally sees us enjoy wonderful spring greens, crackling perfectly in a buttery pan with plenty of sea salt and freshly pestled pepper. Fresh spiky watercress at its best and glorious fresh peas popped straight from their pod-homes.

Roasted Cauliflower and spices

Our lettuce starts to get fresher, lighter and crunchier, lambs lettuce being one of my personal favourites. Cauliflower is at its peak right now as well, please don’t boil it to within a second of its existence, instead try roasting it with a few spices from your cupboard; cumin, chilli & coriander seeds works a treat. Keep a look out for asparagus as well, the season’s first tips might be with us by the end of the month.

Rhubarb for the perfect crumble

Finally if you want something for pudding right now don’t look any further than rhubarb, it makes the perfect crumble or if you want something a bit lighter slice it into sticks and poach in a little sugar, water and vanilla and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So my advice for keeping your chin up for the rainy days ahead is to pop down to your local veg stall on the market, go to your greengrocer if you’re lucky enough to have a good one, or see your nearest farm shop, see what’s new out of the ground and tuck in!

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