Birds of America
The Natural History Museums new homeware collection includes the Birds of America Coasters, £12, and the Louisiana Heron espresso set, £20 from nhm.org.uk
Wood fired oven
First launched in 2012, the Uuni wood fired oven is a portable, affordable and easy to use wood fired oven. Uuni 3 is the updated version; it runs on wood pellets, reaches 500c in 10mins and can cook a wood-fired pizza in 60 seconds
Uuni wood-fired oven, £199 from Cuckooland, For details visit cuckooland.com
Sparkenhoe Red Leicester
Paxton & Whitfield’s cheese of the month, Sparkenhoe Red Leicester is made with raw milk by the Leicestershire Hand made Cheese Co in Upton, south-west Leics. The recipe is an old one, discovered by owners David and Jo Clarke who started to make the cheese in 2005
For details, visit paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk
Five of the best… Seasonal treats
The season begins 23 April and lasts until the end of June – a potential 68 days of asparagus treats. Use it wisely by eating asparagus raw in salads, or boiled briefly and dowsed in melted butter or grilled with a little olive oil. Eating an asparagus spear in your fingers either in melted butter, or dipped into a soft-boiled egg is a glorious way to start the summer.
Health: asparagus promotes healthy bacteria in the gut, contains Vitamins K and C and acts as a mild diuretic
New season peas straight out of the pod are a spring and early summer treat. The tinier they are the sweeter they taste. Great accompaniment to spring lamb or excellent podded and sprinkled raw over a salad. Use the pods to flavour stock
Health: rich in vitamin A and vitamin B (particularly folic acid), calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. Plus protein, fibre and lutein which has been shown to promote healthy vision. Peas also contain phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
Grown on Jersey for over 130 years, Jersey Royals are protected by a PDO – protection of designation of origin, ie Jersey Royals can only be grown on Jersey. Typically, they’re fertilized with seaweed harvested from the Jersey beaches and hand-lifted from April. Peak season is May when up to 1500 tonnes of delicious wispy-skinned, waxy Jerseys are exported daily.
Health: source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins C and B and fibre
There are two types of samphire: rock and marsh. Shakespeare’s samphire collectors were after the rocky kind – nowadays it’s the latter that you’re most likely to encounter in fishmongers and restaurants, where Marsh samphire’s strange, prehistoric-looking succulent green shoots shed an almost incandescent green glow. Marsh samphire grows on shorelines and in marshy shallows. Crisp and salty, straight out of the sea, it makes a delicious breakfast, or wash under running water and boil it for a couple of minutes, no need to season, and serve with spring lamb.
Health: rich in dietary fibre, vitamins A, B and C. It also contains compounds called fucoidans, often found in sea vegetables, which can have anti-inflamatory and antioxidant effects
The sweet-scented, creamy white flowers, of the elder make a great aromatic cordial. Gather the flowers as the buds are beginning to open, on a warm, dry day. To make about 2litres of cordial put about 25 elderflower heads in a bowl with the grated zest of 3 unwaxed lemons. Pour over 1.5l of boiling water and leave overnight to infuse. Strain the liquid through muslin, pour into a saucepan and add 150ml of lemon juice, 1kg sugar and 1 heaped tsp of citric acid (opt). Heat gently, bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Pour into sterilized bottles
Health: antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Historically, elderflower has been used to help cure colds, flu and sinus infections. Can be used as a mouthwash. It is also believed to have diuretic and laxative properties and could ease constipation