May seasonal update

The Staff Canteen

From seasonal vegetables to game and seasonal fruits, read our monthly market report to find out what to feature in your dishes this month.


A guide to cooking langoustine

Nephrops norvegicus - otherwise known as Norway Lobsters or Dublin Bay prawns, langoustines are closely related to lobsters.

In the past two decades, the pale orange crustaceans have become a staple of fine dining menus around the globe. More than  a third of langoustine exports come from Scotland, as the creatures thrive in the country's cold freshwater lochs. 

Watch L'Enclume head chef Simon Rogan cook a langoustine dish with carrot and nasturtium: 

What can you use Kiwi for, and what should you pair it with?

Kiwi, kiwifruit or Chinese Gooseberries is a woody vine berry, which, as its name indicates, originates in China. Kiwis got their moniker from New Zealand farmers, who named them for marketing export purposes in the 1970s. 

Kiwis grow well in Europe, too; Italy is the world's second biggest exporter, after China and before New Zealand. 

They can be cooked into  tarlets, jams and even chutneys or served raw in fruit salads or salsas. Kiwi purée is the star of The Petersham Restaurant's Summer's Garden cocktail recipe, try it here.

Though it is known as an ingredient for tea, jasmine can be used in oriental dishes, curries, bread or even to flavour macaroons and sauces, combining well with summer fruits and citrus. The name jasmine originates from Arabic, meaning ‘gift from God’.

Summer's Garden

What is the best way of cooking shrimp?

Though most often associated with Asian cuisine, shrimp is versatile, and works well in American dishes - think shrimp and grits - or Italian food, such as risottos or tagliatelle. Shrimp also make a great terrine. 

Try Craig Sherrington's mackerel, shrimp and sea herbs, featuring a brown bread tuile and a shellfish emulsion, or Jans Cortiguerra's pisces shrimp, a classic filipino dish. Most popular among our audience is Adam Stokes' sea bass with brown shrimp and sea vegetables. Enjoy! 

Mackerel shrimp and sea herb Craig Sherrington

Craig Sherrington's mackerel, shrimp and sea herbs 

How to cook Mackerel

Imported mackerel will be available the whole year round, but shoals will hit the UK coasts in late April or May. The oily fish, whose flesh is slightly saltier than others, can be cooked whole and served not filleted, and is often found smoked or is made into pâté. This simple yet tasty pan-fried recipe is perfect for a light summer meal

Try this recipe for scorched Scottish mackerel with pickled cucumber and liliput capers by Alex Povall from The Oysterman Seafood Bar & Kitchen.

Photo (credit Greg Funnell)   The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen scorched Scottish mackerel 1 low res
 The Oystermen Seafood Bar & Kitchen scorched Scottish mackerel Photo (credit Greg Funnell)


Watch Stuart Ralston prepare  a dish of Scottish mackerel, yoghurt, apple, and Yuzu-kosho: 

What goes well with Lamb?

What could represent spring more than a delicious leg of lamb? Whether you choose to use roast lamb, a leg of lamb or lamb steak, you will find that lamb is a great meat to cook with.

Welsh lamb in particular is a great choice to include on your menu. It is best to carve the meat into thick slices in order to retain the juices and the flavour. Provençal vegetables such as courgettes and cherry tomatoes are an ideal accompaniment to lamb. Jersey Royals are also a classic side dish to serve with a leg of lamb too. Honey-glazed carrots (which are also just coming into season) are also great to pair with lamb too. Another option to consider is peas (another great May ingredient) with pancetta, this combination is ideal to pair with lamb.

Try this recipe for braised spring lamb by Michel Roux Jr.

Braised Shoulder of Spring Lamb low res
Braised shoulder of Spring lamb 

How do you cook asparagus?

British asparagus, which many claim to be the superior type, are sumptuous green (or white) vegetables and perfectly tender when cooked properly. Boil, grill, steam or roast them for perfect results, and serve with a dash of butter or Hollandaise sauce; they are also great as an ingredient in quiches.

This recipe by Luke French uses Yorkshire asparagus with pickled blackcurrant shoots and pickled spruce jam.

Barbecued Yorkshire asparagus with pickled blackcurrant shoots and pickled spruce jam
Barbecued Yorkshire asparagus with pickled blackcurrant shoots and pickled spruce jam


Watch Andrew Clarke from Brunswick House cook a seasonal asparagus dish with pumpkin seed mayonnaise:

Which dishes can you use Apricots in?

Apricots need warmth to grow, so southern, hotter European countries are ideal, as are Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Iran and these countries’ neighbours. The British apricot season will start in May and can be used in pies, crumbles, jams, chutneys, or are often dried. You could even make them into a delicious cake and serve with ice cream.

Read Matt Gillan's recipe for Cotehill blue with apricot and pumpkin seeds here.

14 10 11 966 Cotehill blue Apricot Pumpkin seed 1
Cotehill blue, apricot & pumpkin seed

Which part of spring onion to use?

Known as scallions or green onions, spring onions are very young onions harvested before the bulb has had chance to swell. Spring onions are distinguished by their long green tops and small white bulb, which are both edible raw or cooked.

To properly prepare spring onions, first wash them before trimming off the root and any ragged ends at the top.

Proceed to slice the bulb into rounds, whilst cutting the green tops across or lengthways with a knife, then lengthways again, according to what shape you'd like.

Spring Onion tops can be used as a garnish, if cut into slim lengths, and stand in ice-cold water for 30 minutes.

Watch chef Josh Overington create a Nutaaq cod recipe cooked over coals with a smoked fish broth, garnished with spring onions.

Are you using any of these seasonal ingredients in your menus? Upload your pics and recipes to our Chef+ mobile app!


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 2nd May 2023

May seasonal update