Dust off the salad spinner . . . it's Springtime

 Don’t you just love this time of year? Winter is trying to hold on and spring is busting to burst. The slow-cooked roasts, casseroles, soups and stews are slowly phased out for another year, replaced with stir-fries, marinated chicken, pulses, the occasional salad and dare I even suggest ... a BBQ!  OK, be patient. . .

I love measuring the change of season by which pot and serving dish I reach for – the heavy-based pan is pushed aside for the stove-top grill. And I want more colour on the table so out comes the terracotta and my favourite ceramics. As the weather changes I remember that I can cook with herbs other than rosemary, thyme and parsley, and that it doesn’t take 2 hours to prep and serve dinner. It’s exciting to plant a fresh batch of salad herbs and pick up some free produce on the side of the road because your neighbour’s tree is struggling under that massive load of lemony goodness!

At this time of year our family looks forward to a bit more fun with our meals. The kids like to make pea, prosciutto and Parmesan risotto, and dinner served on a skewer is always more fun than something mashed. My daughter taught herself to make pasta for a school project and it was great fun making it red, green and black! The fact that we love to put berries on anything encourages a few extra smiles from breakfast to dinner. 

Dining outside becomes an option again, it’s usually served on a tray somewhere in the garden so we can stand back and admire our hard work. It takes a solid month of weekends to get the garden beds and vegie patch back up to par, ready for the onslaught that is late spring/summer when cooking morphs again into something that happens quickly, freshly and outside in the shade around the BBQ.

So for now, enjoy springtime. Colour in the garden, on the table and on our plates. We’ve survived another Macedon Ranges winter. Don’t get me wrong – I love winter! But I’m dusting off the griddle and the salad spinner because cooking is fun again!