February is the month we begin to leave winter behind, looking ahead to Spring and the hope of longer,  brighter days. Leaving the festivities of Christmas and all its indulgences behind we start to think about being healthy and enjoying clean living,  by starting as we mean to go on for the year.

What better place to start our plans but in the garden or allotment , planning the year's vegetables.  A great opportunity to teach our children the principles of healthy eating whilst bringing back our own childhood memories and the  'grow your own' principles.  They will get so interested in the growing and into the process of creating their own food that getting them cooking and eating it will be the easy part.

I love to map my raised vegetable gardens out each year planning the crops I intend to bring into our kitchen.   A constant supply,  if you plan well,  of crops growing outside your back door ready to bring inside in all their glory,  beautiful colours and produce for all our recipes.

Herb baskets or boxes on the kitchen window sill are a great way to fill the garden with scent and keeping a constant stock of flavours available when cooking too.  Mint,  Rosemary,  Coriander and Thyme in a window box smell divine as you brush past them... Enjoy planning your Spring vegetable garden!

February is also the month of  Valentines and Pancakes, with Shrove Tuesday falling on the 28th of the month this year.  So still a time for celebrating and little indulgences.  So what better way to spend the month than baking up treats for loved ones in the kitchen.

Heart shaped toast with eggs on Valentines Day is a real winter breakfast treat for those frosty mornings to give them the energy to bounce to school or work.  Or,  how about lashings of  'sticky up' butter and strawberry jam to show them how much you love them.  However,  on Shrove Tuesday traditionally pancakes are the way to their hearts and why not cook heart shaped ones as a treat and let them choose their toppings... 

Lets enjoy the remainder of the wintery month of February and make the most of comfort food... 

Spring will be here soon enough with the promise of greenery in the garden and time to eat more greens then!

  Kate Lawrence-Blake