January seasonal update

The Staff Canteen

Discover what’s on chefs' seasonal menus this month, ranging from hearty roast dinners to tantalizing spicy and citrus-infused dishes, in our monthly market report.


What parts of a beetroot are edible?

Beetroot, rich in nutrients, fibre, and various plant compounds, graces the UK from June through March. The array of beetroot types, distinguished by their hues—yellow, white, pink, or deep purple—offers versatility in the kitchen. Traditionally cooked or pickled, beetroot transcends its savoury role. Its flesh can elevate cakes, create invigorating sorbets, and infuse earthy sweetness into juices. For those seeking a crunchier experience, raw beets can be peeled and grated into salads.

Beetroot by Piers Dawson
Yellowtail Tartlet by Piers Dawson

Head chef Piers Dawson skilfully showcases a stunning yellowtail tartlet, crafted from beetroot and gin-cured yellowtail, complemented by a zesty wasabi aioli. The dish is adorned with an array of seasonal ingredients, such as Soller orange, dill, and chilled radish, enhancing its visual and culinary appeal.

Arnar Valur Halldorsson artfully transforms this seasonal ingredient into a delectable beetroot, orange, and goat cheese canapé, while Culinary Boy offers a comforting yet innovative beetroot and orange soup, perfect for warming up on a chilly day.

With such a wide range of culinary possibilities, even those who've shunned beetroot in the past may find it worthy of a second chance.




What citrus fruits are in season?

From easy peelers to the sweet & sour kumquats, any fruit with an orange-like-skin is your friend in the winter cold months, helping you keeping hydrated and boosting your vitamin C.

Chefs usually like to include them in their seasonal menu, especially for refreshing desserts like Francesco Mannino’s eton mess in citrus sauce, garnished by marinated orange and pink grapefruit segments, Io Tserkezoglu’s chocolate mousse, whisky chantilly, orange and honeycomb or Stevie Higginson’s clementine posset and sorbet.

But the citrus flavour is also researched in some main dishes’ recipes. Stephen Naylor uses a burnt lemon sauce for his agnolotti, while Mike Kenyon uses clementine and juniper to cure salmon to pair with fennel, gingerbread & raisin.


Clementine sorbet by Stevie Higginson                                   Agnolotti in burnt lemon sauce by Stephen Naylor


When is cauliflower ready to pick?

Cauliflower, often avoided due to less-than-appetizing school meals, deserves a second chance, especially this month. This versatile vegetable, which comes into its element in January, has plenty to offer and is a perfect addition to soups or as a side dish. Despite its mild flavour, it can be enhanced with a variety of herbs and seasonings.

Senior Sous Chef James Noone crafts a delightful starter featuring cauliflower cheese croquettes served alongside a mustard mayo dip, while Executive Chef Piers Dawson elevates this seasonal vegetable’s appeal with a tempting smoked cauliflower mousse, enhanced by the rich flavors of black garlic aioli, zesty lime, a delicate brick tartlet, and a finishing touch of garden-fresh flowers for a delectable presentation.

Smoked cauliflower mousse, black garlic aioli, lime, brick tartlet and garden flower by Piers Dawson



How to make the best of venison season

With game making its mark on restaurant menus nationwide, venison has firmly established itself as a compelling alternative to farmed meats like pork and beef. Scottish venison, renowned for its exceptional quality and availability, frequently takes centre stage on menus in the region.

Maple & Sloe Glazed Venison Loin with Winter Squash and Sage Purée by James Golding

For a truly seasonal delight, look no further than James Golding's recipe, showcasing maple and sloe-lazed venison loin alongside a winter squash and sage purée, but if you're feeling adventurous, consider trying Tom Bainbridge's inventive main course, featuring a rare venison loin, braised bean sprout noodles, and a delectable mussel, shrimp, and ham XO sauce.

You can watch Head Chef Riki Weston combining two delicious seasonal ingredients in this venison loin and fermented beetroot recipe.

More controversial, but no less popular is Michelin-starred Alan Murchison's take on venison, which he serves with chocolate and purple potatoes. Here's a video of him talking us through the dish we pulled from our archives: 

Spelt, Barley and Squash Risotto
by Josh Eggleton



How to prepare the perfect squash dish

Squash, a quintessentially British ingredient, takes centre stage in numerous hearty and comforting winter meals. While the well-known butternut squash is a favourite, there are numerous other varieties to explore, including ironbark, spaghetti, and acorn, to name just a few.

Why not explore the tantalizing recipes crafted by these head chefs, like Johnatan Recanti’s butternut squash and green tahini, Paul Leonard’s crown prince squash as a side of a main Orkney scallop dish or Josh Eggleton’s spelt, barley and squash risotto.





Brussel sprouts miso marinate by Johnatan Recanti




How to cook Brussel sprouts

These miniature cabbages are a staple of British agriculture, yet they are also highly divisive. Most think of Brussel sprouts as an accessory to a roast (Christmas) dinner, usually boiled to death and served with bacon bits to redeem them. But what else can you do to make the best of this tiny but nutrient-packed vegetable?

Oliver Brown flash fries his sprouts in a wok with dried chilli and sesame, Nick Grieves coats his in a parmesan sauce and serves them with onion jam, while Johnatan Recanti soak them in a miso marinade before roasting.


When is cod season?

Cod’s spawning period is from January to April and this it when it is at its finest. Cod is often deemed a second-rate and uninspiring fish, probably caused by being badly or blandly prepared. It is a fantastically flaky fish, and its versatility means that it can be paired with a range of delicious flavours.

Executive Chef Ollie Bridgewater beautifully presents a dish of butter-poached cod adorned with a medley of waldorf, lovage, grapes, verjus, and a flavorful bonito and vermouth butter sauce, resulting in a stunning culinary creation.

Butter Poached Cod, Waldorf, Lovage, Grapes, Verjus, Bonito, Vermouth Butter Sauce by Oliver Bridgewater

In this video, award winning head chef Fred Clapperton has a cod recipe that's anything but boring. Watch it here:

We also have put together a collection of inspirational recipes, click here to find out ‘How should you cook cod’.



Are you using any seasonal ingredients in your menus? Upload your pics and recipes to our Chef+ mobile app for a chance to be featured on our next seasonal update!



In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 12th January 2024

January seasonal update